Invitation to the exhibition ‘Stoa Malakopi: Memory and entrepreneurialism’
The city does not tell its past, but contains it like the lines of a hand, written in the corners of the streets, the gratings of the windows, the banisters of the steps [...]
Italo Calvino, Invisible Cities
We are delighted to invite you to the exhibition ‘Stoa Malakopi: Memory and emerging entrepreneurialism’, organized by ACT (American College of Thessaloniki). The exhibition opens on Friday 26 January 2018 at the arcade Malakopi, Syggrou 7, 1st floor, 5-7 pm, and will remain open until Friday 2 February 2018.
The exhibition is the culmination of an educational pilot research entitled ‘Thessaloniki’s arcades: Memory and emerging entrepreneurialism’ (June-December 2016). To this end, students from the Department of Humanities and Social Sciences at ACT and Graphic Design students from North Carolina State University (NCSU) worked together in the context of their common Service Learning course. The course is an extension of educational praxis in the community; in collaboration with various public and not-for-profit bodies, students engage in participatory research, experiential learning and understanding of social issues and problems while making connections with their studies.
The research project examines place identity and the entrepreneurial practices and trajectories of various stakeholder groups working at some of Thessaloniki’s commercial arcades. Recent social and economic changes have seriously affected the local community – in this light the project aims to explore the development of commercial arcades over the years, as perceived and experienced by arcades stakeholders, and methods of community design through interdisciplinary collaborations.
The Malakopi arcade was examined as a case study in the above research context. The arcade was built in 1907 by Italian architect Vitaliano Posseli in the yard of the Allatini family estate to house the Bank of Thessaloniki. In 1954 ownership changed and the building was refurbished to accommodate a commercial arcade, now named Malakopi. Many business people and professionals left their mark in the arcade ever since, few of which are still there, while new entrepreneurs have recently moved into this historical building.
With an oral history approach, local researchers – comprising three ACT students, one NCSU student and the course leads – interviewed 13 professionals at Malakopi arcade, who shared their memories from the arcade and their professional histories, the challenges they have faced over the years and their thoughts and suggestions for a sustainable development of the arcade, given its historical, heritage character. On their part, US-based students used the transcribed and visual material (e.g. photographs of stakeholders and their work spaces or design plans of Malakopi) to create banners for each one business and professional. In the exhibition local researchers-students will present the outcomes and outputs of their work, representing the broader research team.
Service Learning course and research leads are Dr Maria Patsarika, Humanities and Social Sciences Division, ACT (American College of Thessaloniki) and Prof Scott Townsend, School of Graphic Design, North Carolina State University. The occasion for this interdisciplinary collaboration was Scott Townsend’s exhibition ‘Social Capital’ in June 2017, organized by the Dukakis Center in collaboration with the French Institute, Thessaloniki. Central to both these initiatives is the active engagement of students with social science and service design research and collaboration with local stakeholders in the process of exploring and understanding social changes and problems that concern them.
Stoa Malakopi, 1950. Photo courtesy of Ms. Betty Voreopoulou.
A warm thanks to Dr Evangelos Hekimoglou, curator at the Jewish Museum of Thessaloniki, and emeritus professor at Aristotle University Ms Aleka Karadimou-Gerolympou for their inputs to the research; and to Betty Voreopoulou, Alkmini Trigonaki and Lazaros Graikos for their overall support in organizing the exhibition.