Who we are
Ascolto Attivo was founded in 2008 by Marianella Sclavi, pioneer in Italy of the theories and techniques of Active Listening, Creative Conflict Management, Facilitation and Participatory Planning.
Together with Marianella Sclavi, Agnese Bertello and Stefania Lattuille are members of Ascolto Attivo.
Ascolto Attivo has designed and led some of the most important participatory planning processes carried out in Italy in the last years, contributing significantly to disseminate good participatory practices in our country.
Writer and scholar of the Art of Listening and Creative Conflict Management, she lived with her husband and children in New York from 1984 to 1992, where she wrote two books, A spanna da terra, and La Signora va nel Bronx, in which she experimented with and proposed an ethnographic narrative guided by “a humorous methodology”. Back in Italy, she taught Urban Ethnography at the First Faculty of Architecture of the Milan Polytechnic from 1993 to 2008. During this period she worked as a consultant in various participatory processes and conflict situations and wrote several books, among which Arte di Ascoltare and Mondi Possibili (first edition 2000) is still the “best seller”. She founded Ascolto Attivo and works as a freelancer in the field of constructive conflict management in participatory decision-making processes. In recent years she has been responsible for the design and facilitation of participatory processes: “Ex-fonderie” in Modena (Jan-May 2007), “Il Pratello, la via di Bologna” (Sept-Nov 2007), “Il Cisternino2020” in Livorno (Jan-Nov 2008) and “Metrocult” in the metropolitan area of Milan (March-June 2008) (see projects page). He works on constructive conflict management and participatory methodologies in the workplace and in schools of all levels. She is a lecturer and head of the Conflict Management Area of the Master “Conflict Mediators – International Peace Workers” in Bologna and Bolzano. He collaborates with the Consensus Building Institute (MIT) and is a member of the Association for Conflict Resolution (ACR).
A labour lawyer for twenty years, for over ten years she has worked passionately as a mediator in civil-commercial disputes, a family and community mediator, with a specialisation in environmental conflict mediation and over 500 mediations to her credit. Since 2012 she has also worked as a facilitator, on behalf of public and private bodies, and since 2016 as a member of Ascolto Attivo s.r.l.
She teaches creative conflict management and participatory decision-making processes with numerous courses at universities, professional bodies, chambers of commerce and private organisations; she is a practical and theoretical trainer of mediators accredited by the Ministry of Justice.
Since 2017, she is didactic coordinator and lecturer of the Master Facilitators for the Genius Loci by Gerardo de Luzenberger and since 2014 she is coach of the team of students of the State University of Milan that participates every year in the Italian Mediation Competition.
Graduated in Languages in Turin, passionate about literary translation and creative writing. She began her professional career in the publishing sector, as a freelance journalist and communications expert. In Milan since 2000, she has been responsible for the content of the Casa della Cultura website and, with photojournalist Luana Monte, she founded In-tandem, a small agency for the production of articles and reports on social and environmental issues published in national magazines.
In 2008, she began working with the communication agency Allea and the association ARIS (Nimby Forum Observatory), and approached the complex issues of territorial disputes linked to the construction of infrastructures and plants; she thus began to deal with consensus building, inclusive decision-making processes, débat public, conducting research in particular on the processes of involving territories in the construction of large plants in the energy sector in Europe. Together with Emilia Blanchetti, she edited several editions of the annual Nimby Forum report.
In 2010 she met Marianella Sclavi and chose to train with her as a facilitator and expert in participatory planning, thus starting a new professional path. In 2016 she joined Ascolto Attivo srl, where she is particularly involved in participatory planning processes in the field of urban regeneration and public debate on the construction of works and infrastructures.
She has studied the most innovative deliberative processes at an international level: e.g. Convention Citoyenne pour le Climat and Citizens’ Assemblies.
He writes about participation, citizen involvement, deliberative experiences and Public Debate, collaborating with various publications – “Italianieuropei”, “Terre di mezzo”, “Vita”, “La Rivista il Mulino”, “Una città”, “Qual Energia” – and publishing houses (Altreconomia, Guerini).
As a lecturer, he has given lectures in a number of university Master’s courses (Ca’ Foscari in Venice, Catholic University of Milan, University of Trieste) and for other educational institutions (Feltrinelli Foundation).
Each project has unique characteristics and requires a tailor-made approach, which is why it is necessary to be able to gather the right team around each project. Over the years, Ascolto Attivo has created a rich and heterogeneous network of professionals: in addition to the company’s partners, other facilitators, urban planners, landscape architects, mediators, communicators, graphic designers, social workers, fundraising experts… can be involved in the process from time to time.
We like to work in teams because it is another opportunity to practice active listening and creative conflict management, to continue learning from each other without preconceptions and without hierarchies, searching each time for the best solution and the most appropriate approach.