From Friday 7th to Sunday 9th May, the opening days of Fotografia Europea 2010 will transform Reggio Emilia into an open space of meetings, reflection and celebration. Artists and leading names from the world of art and culture will be animating a busy schedule of events designed to  bring together different forms of creativity and intellectual approaches.

These will include the sociologists and writer Francesco Morace, the semeiologist Paolo Fabbri, the anthropologist Franco La Cecla, the architect Italo Rota, the urban planner Stefano Boeri, the sculptor and writer Mauro Corona, the neuroscience expert Ruggero Pierantoni, the music producer and critic Carlo Antonelli, the ironic and insightful writer Michela Murgia, and the journalist and photographer Carlo Massarini. There will also be photographers, of course, including Ange Leccia, Mark Borthwick, Alessandra Spranzi, Richard Wentworth, Francesco Jodice, Alain Willaume and Simona Ghizzoni, who will be meeting with the public to discuss and examine in detail the underpinnings of their visions and poetics.

Consistently with the idea of combining different expressive forms and inducing synergy between them, photography will be engaging in a dialogue with dance in the Aterballetto dance company's touring performance along the city's railway line. Photography will also become the language for rediscovering some memorable experiences of contemporary music history offered by the Unknown Pleasures - Tribute to Ian Curtis and Joy Division show, an original Fotografia Europea production starring Peter Hook, the bass guitarist of Joy Division and founder of New Order. The concert, performed alongside video screenings and a tribute to music from Manchester played by Italian artists such as Johnny La Rosa, Magpie, Mquestionmark and Julie’s Haircut, is part of a broad programme devoted to British music culture that includes meetings, performances, and screenings centred around the Manchester: so much to answer for... exhibition produced by the photographer Kevin Cummins, whose work has contributed a great deal to building the image of post-punk creativity from the eighties to today.

The suggestions sparked off by the encounter between listening and viewing will also be at the heart of the installation at the City Museums curated by Italo Rota and with soundtrack arrangements by Carlo Antonelli. The building site of the new museum on the top floor of Palazzo San Francesco will provide the stage for the first presentation of the restoration project, arranged along a new route across the collections, rediscovered through a “ narrative architecture”. The symbolic cross-references and interplay with history will engage the visitor in a seductive sensory experience between memory and imagination, stimulated by questions about the meaning of our future.

In the wake of the international collaborative efforts sparked off during the last festival by the twinning with the Rencontres d’Arles, Fotografia Europea will once again be expanding its horizons this year with the Europa Africa Sans Frontières project, promoted jointly with Rencontres de Bamako - Biennale africaine de la photographie, an international festival which bears testimony to the great wealth and vitality of contemporary African photography. The project is curated by the art director of Bamako Laura Serani, with Michket Krifa and Samuel Sidibé, and promoted jointly with Culturefrance. It involves different local organizations engaged in cultural cooperation work, such as Reggio nel Mondo and Mondinsieme, with the sponsorship of the Foundation for World Wide Cooperation headed by Romano Prodi. The event consists of a video-installation at the Valli Theatre featuring the fifteen artists selected at the 2009 Bamako Biennale devoted to the theme of Borders. The show will be held in parallel with evening performances staged in Piazza Prampolini organized by Qubic Communications. A crescendo of dance, music and video screenings will culminate in the DJ set run by Nitin Sawhney, one of the most versatile talents on the international music scene who blends traditional sounds with electronic experiments, drawing from the most diverse cultural zones.

Moving from the wider world to Europe, a major feature of the fifth Fotografia Europea  festival will be the project entitled SETSE - Seeing European Culture Through a Stranger's Eyes (funded by the European Union under the Culture Programme 2007-2013), with Reggio Emilia as the leading partner in a group consisting of eight European countries – Italy, France, Finland, Hungary, Poland, Greece, Spain and Slovakia. The eight publicly commissioned photography projects resulting from this initiative examined the topic of food in family relationships and in relation to different eating traditions in contemporary Europe. The images produced during the photographers' residencies in the participating European countries will be exhibited at the festival in combination with meetings and debates addressing a cross section of issues affecting the world of photography as well as family and intercultural issues.

The particular theme of the photography book will be the focus of ELLEFFE Il libro fotografico exhibit by Silvana Turzio, as a key tool of artistic expression for the photographer as well as for the history of photography. The programme includes a series of conferences featuring, among others, the director of the PhotoEspaña international visual arts festival Claude Bussac and a workshop with the academic and graphic artist Alberto Bianda. Booksellers and collectors of photography and art books will also be holding a lively photography book market-exhibit under the porticoes of the Isolato San Rocco on Saturday 8th May.

The programme of the festival's opening days is enriched by the presentation of many new books, including Luigi Ghirri. Lezioni di fotografia (Quodlibet, 2010), with guest speaker Gianni Celati appearing alongside the editors of the book (published in the context of the Landscape Biennale organized by the Province of Reggio Emilia) Giulio Bizzarri, Paolo Barbaro, and Ermanno Cavazzoni; Etica e fotogiornalismo (Electa 2010) with contributions by the author Ferdinando Scianna and Silvana Turzio; Future Images (24 Ore Cultura – Federico Motta Editore, 2009) presented by the editor Mario Cresci together with Anna Detheridge, Armando Massarenti and Davide Tranchina; Laboratorio Italia. La fotografia nell’arte contemporanea (Johan & Levi 2010) by Marinella Paderni; and Un’autentica bugia. La fotografia, il vero, il falso (Contrasto Due, 2009) by Michele Smargiassi. The scheduled meetings also include a session dealing with the second European photography competition GD4PhotoArt: La fotografia incontra l’industria hosting Quentin Bajac, Gabriele Basilico, and Giovanna Calvenzi.

Carlo Massarini – journalist and photographer, innovator of Italian visual culture, who has brought about the involvement in video-art of the public at large in his capacity as author and host of television programmes – will also be in Reggio Emilia to present his book Dear Mister Fantasy. Foto-racconto di un’epoca musicale in cui tutto era possibile 1969-1982 (Rizzoli 2009).

The programme also includes a comprehensive and busy schedule of seminars and workshops on the topics of photography, videos and graphics, to be held in collaboration with Inside, as well as three days (12th - 14th May) devoted to the protection and conservation of the historical and contemporary photography heritage. These sessions are designed for cultural operators and university students and are organized jointly by the Fototeca photo library of the  Biblioteca Panizzi city library, the TECTON Social Cooperative, Mediateca and the Faculty of Communication Science of the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, with the sponsorship of the AIB – Italian Libraries Association.

Following a now well-established tradition grown out of previous Fotografia Europea festivals, the City Museums in collaboration with Reggio Children will once again be holding expressive workshops for the youngest members of the public from 8th May to 12th June. These  are designed for children and youths of between 3 and 14 and will be dealing with the language of photography in the context of the educational project Gli incantevoli sguardi (Enchanting views).