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Historical Archives of the European Union - Department of History - European University Institute

‘Environing Modernization’ photography exhibit opens at the Badia Fiesolana

A black and white photography exhibit drawn from European Investment Bank’s historical archives is now installed in the EUI’s canteen. The 14 professional images illustrate a digital research project from the EUI’s interdisciplinary research cluster Environmental challenges and climate change governance.

22 April 2024 | Research

EIB photography exhibit | HAEU | Badia | mensa

In 2023, Professor of History Corinna Unger and recent EUI graduate Dr Gilberto Mazzoli wrapped up a visual research project and digital exhibition exploring the notion of the ‘anthropocene’ in European development projects.  

Using images from the fonds of the European Investment Bank (EIB) deposited at the Historical Archives of the European Union (HAEU), the two historians illustrated the transformative impact the Bank’s projects had on the natural and human environment. Their project was conducted within the framework of the EUI’s interdisciplinary research cluster Environmental challenges and climate change governance.

To share this project with the EUI community, selected photographs from the online exhibition and EIB fonds are now on display in the canteen of the Badia Fiesolana for a temporary exhibit that is expected to last through the spring.

As Juan Alonso, audiovisual archivist at the HAEU explains, the professional photographs offer a rich visual narrative of the Bank’s early activities and valuable insights about the history of industrial photography. “The diverse representation of authors, styles and geographical areas, rich in context and coupled with links to documentary evidence, transforms the collection into a captivating visual record of European industrial development in the 1950s, '60s and '70s.”

Dr Jacopo Cellini, historian at the Alcide De Gasperi Centre at the EUI and expert on the history of the EIB’s approach to investment and the environment, also collaborated on the project. "Visual sources like the photographs presented in this exhibition are essential to the story. They show the transformative impact of the Bank’s activities on the natural and human environment,[…] and stimulate us to take a deeper look into the role of economic and financial actors as players in the history of human interaction with the natural world."

Printed copies of the exhibit catalogue, designed by Gilberto Mazzoli, will be available for consultation in the canteen. Take-away postcards with a hyperlink to the online exhibit may be found at the Badia reception desk.  

Last update: 22 April 2024

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