Department of Anthropology

photo of Mariagiulia Grassilli

Dr Mariagiulia Grassilli

Post:School Tutor (Anthropology)
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  • Mariagiulia Grassilli is Research Associate at the School of Global Studies, University of Sussex and Director of Human Rights Nights in Italy. She works as a professional in Cinema and Human Rights, curating festivals and film production for raising awareness, creating empowerment and capacity building in Europe and Africa. Founding member of Human Rights Film Network – an international network of more than 40 human rights festival in the world. Her research focused on migration, cinema, representations of diversity, cultural participation. Her publications include writings on Anthropology and Cinema (Journal of Visual Anthropology, vol. 20, 2007), Migrant Cinema (Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, vol. 34, 2009) andHuman Rights Film Festivals (Film Festival Yearbook 4, St Andrews University, 2012). 
  • PhD in Migration Studies at Sussex Centre for Migration Research, Sussex University (2002). MA in International Relations and Development Studies at University of East Anglia (1997). Certificate in Communication Studies at University of Santa Barbara, California (1995). Laurea in Economics at University of Bologna, Italy (1993). Collaboration with various universities in Italy, UK and US as independent researcher, visiting scholar and Teaching Fellow.Marisco Visiting Professor at University of Denver, US (2006). Post Doc Fellow in Anthropology of Media at University of Bologna, Italy (2003-5). Currently Adjunct Lecturer in Visual Anthropology, University of Bologna and Research Associate in Global Studies at University of Sussex. 
  • Research on visual representations of Human Rights, Development and Migration; Anthropology and Cinema; Media and International Development; Festivals and Public engagement events for Social Change

  • Multidisciplinary academic background in Anthropology, Cinema Studies, Development Studies, Cultural Studies, International Relations, Media Studies. Focus on migration, human rights, multiculturalism, representations of diversity, culture and ethnicity.


Research Associate in Global Studies, Anthropology, Sussex Centre for Migration Research

Community and Business

  • 15 years experience as a professional in the field of human rights and development for campaigning and advocacy at international level, collaborating with several INGOs, NGOs, arts, social and cultural institutions. Festival director of Human Rights Nights; founder of the Human Rights Film Network – a global network for human rights festivals. Among the collaborations: La Biennale Venezia / Venice Film Festival; Cineteca di Bologna / Bologna Film Archive; Oxfam GB; Britdoc Foundation; AfricanBamba, Senegal; Clam, Nigeria; The Bomb, South Africa. 

Projects curated in Cinema, Social Change & Communication Campaigns: 

Festival Director, Human Rights Nights, Bologna, Italy (2000-ongoing) - -Creation, management and artistic direction of annual international festival of cinema, art and music on human rights. Permanent campaigns for human rights and social change through a local-global network of cultural institutions, communities, universities, artists, NGOs.Founding Memberof Human Rights Film Network (2003-ongoing) - international network of more than 40 human rights festivals in the world.

Director, Green World Summer Festival - Mercatino Verde del Mondo  Bologna, Italy(2014, ongoing) - Creation and management of a Music and world street food summer festival showcasing Bologna's hub for plural cultural creativity, gourmet world cuisine - a summer music and food event in the main parks of Bologna - to promote cultural dialogue, community, diversity and empowerment. Il Mercatino Verde del Mondo (facebook).

Consultancy, Capacity Building and Tutoring for International Human Rights Film Festivals (2005-ongoing)Africa at the Pictures in London, UK (2005-08), Addis Ababa in Ethiopia (2007), Pravo Ljudski in Sarajevo (2006), Soweto Arts Festival in South Africa (2007), El Septimo Ojo in Bolivia (2008), AfricanBamba Human Rights Festival in Senegal (2012-14)

Curator / Coordinator Campaigns and Communication Projects: AMITIE – EU transnational campaign & festival in Italy, Spain, Romania, Latvia, Brasil (2011-13); – Men against Women’s violence, Fondazione del Monte, Bologna, Italy (2011-2013); Equals – 100° anniversary International Women’s Day, Oxgam GB, Oxford, UK (2010-11)

Production Consultant for Film and Creative projects: AfricanBamba (Senegal, 2008-ongoing); Ateliers Julieta Manassas (Bologna, Luanda, 2013-ongoing); Clam Films (Lagos, Nigeria, 2005-09); Africa at the Pictures (London, 2005-07); Ouarzazate Film (Ouarzazate, Morocco 2004-09); Clam – African Fashion magazine, creative agency (Paris, NY, 2005-09) 

Film curator / Project Manager, Fondazione Cineteca Bologna, Italy (2000-09) – -Management/consultancy diversity and world cinema project, archive research and film restoration projects of African and Arab films:

  • COME BACK AFRICA by Lionel Rogosin (South Africa, 1954), presented in Venice & Cape Town, 2004
  • HARVEST 3000 by Haile Gerima (Ethiopia, 1976), presented in Cannes 2005
  • TRANSES by Ahmed Al Maanouni (Morocco, 1984), presented in Cannes 2007 / World Cinema Foundation, promoted by Martin Scorsese

Organization Conference Archivi del Cinema del Mediterraneo – Ottobre 2007 / Euromed Audiovisual II programme, financed by European Union, in partnership with Cineteca di Bologna, World Cinema Foundation and Festa del Cinema di Roma. Cineteca di Bologna delegate representative. International Jury member.

Film Advisor for Venice Film Festival, responsible for selections in Africa and the Arab World, La Biennale, Venice, Italy (2004-06), Curator of a special event organised on occasion of the 10th anniversary of the Republic of South Africa from the end of the Apartheid.

Consultancies / Co-Curator for Cinema Screenings and Film Productions: African Archive Cinema – screenings, Barbican, London (10/2007); African Digital Drama – panel, screenings South African Cinema, Channel 4, London (06/2005); CLAM, Paris, France – NY, US, Nigeria Lagos (2005-2007), Consultancies / Assistant to Art Director, Producer Andy Amadi Okoraofor for the projects: Clam – World Fashion Magazine; film RELENTLESS by Andy Okoroafor (Nigeria-France, to be completed 2010). Feature fiction film on the story of an ex-peacekeeping soldier in Sierra Leone, coping with post-war reality and violence in Lagos, Nigeria; Downtown Pictures, Bologna, Italy (2002-4) - Production Assistant for Marco Muller - for the development of film projects from African / Arab film-makers; producer assistant for the film ÇAMUR by Dervis Zaim (Greece-Turkey 2003), produced by Marco Müller (UNESCO Prize, Venice 2003)

Film Programming, Co-Curator Film Focus events, Cinema Lumiere / Cineteca di Bologna, Italy (2000/2003): Co-Curator 66°30’ North – Cinema of the Artic Circle; Cinema of the Arab –Mediterranean Countries (VIth edition); Homage: Salah Abou Seif; Arabian Sets; Homage to Annecy Film Festival; Panorama of Arab Cinema; CINEMA-MED – Festival of the Cinema of Arab-Mediterranean Countries (2001); Homage: Quay Brothers; Homage: Spike Lee; Homage: Erroll Morris; Homage: Robert Altman; Homage: Paul Schrader, The Look of Difference: Women World Cinema; 4th Arab Film Festival. Workshops Management: Gabriele Salvatores, Fatmir Koçi, Silvio Soldini, Abbas Kiarostami, OliverAssayaz, Paul Schrader, Peter Greenaway, Veit Helmer.


  • The Power of Migration (AMITIE) – info-graphic by TIWI (Italia 2013, 3’) - producer
  • This is my Story. Or Ours? (AMITIE) by Reda Zine (Italia, 2012, doc 40’) – producer
  • AMITIE (Italia 2011) – campaign promo - producer
  • Relentless by Andy Okoraofor (Nigeria, France 2010, feature 80’) – development producer
  • Tu te soviens de Adil? by Mohamed Zineddaine (Morocco, Italy 2008, feature 87’) – assistant producer
  • Life in the City by Abdoulaye Gaye (Italy 2009, docu-fiction 30’) – producer – (Award Officina Cinema South East 2008)
  • La Communautè by Abdoulaye Gaye (Italy 2008 – short doc 20’) – producer
  • Voce dei Muti by Malick Ba (Italy, 2007, doc 30’) – producer (Special Mention Human Rights Nights 2007)
  • Çamur by Derviz Zaim (Greece, Turkey 2003, feature 100’) – assistant producer Marco Muller (UNESCO Prize, Venice 2003)
  • X-mas 2001: Migrants Office by Malick Ba (Italy 2002 short doc 15’) - producer (Best Film Anti-Racism, Cecina, Italy 2002)

Conferences organised on Human Rights, Development & Diversity:

Conflict and Resistance: New Racism, Global Movements of Resistance, Refugees and Migrants - Visual Conference, Johns Hopkins University Bologna Centre, 2017;Digital Diversity Filmmaking - 'new Italian Cinema', #diversitymediamatters, Cineteca di Bologna, 2016; Food and Earth - Land grabbing, Climate Change and Human Rights. Cineteca di Bologna, Bologna, 2015; New Poverty: human rights, life dignity, duties and responsibility, rights to culture and citizenship, Bologna, 2014; A Wonderful idea! Awareness and Social Change: the best communication campaigns on migration, development and human rights. Bologna, 2013; The Body and Human Rights: a conversation on bioethics, diversity, health and violence. Bologna, 2012; Ingrid Betancourt, Welcoming Gala after her liberation by FARC Columbia, Bologna, 2009; Wislawa Szyimborska, Nobel Prize for Literature, Bologna, 2009; Roles of Festivals for Community building and peace - Rwanda, Bolivia and South Africa, Bologna, 2008; Arab Mediterranean Film Archives, Cineteca di Bologna / Euromed Audiovisual II, Bologna, 2007; Dario Fo, Nobel Prize for Literatures, Bologna, 2007; Pino Solanas, Master Lecture in Cinema, Bologna, 2008; Migration and Diversity, Bologna, 2007; Luis Sepulveda, Nobel Prize for Literatures, Bologna, 2006; Terrorism of War and Structures of Peace, Bologna, 2006; Anthropology and Cinema, Sussex University, UK, 2005; Journalism and Human Rights, Communication Deparment, University of Bologna, 2005; African Cinema: Dinamics of Production, Cineteca Bologna, Italy, 2003; Migrant Cinema = Accented Cinema – Production and Representation, Sussex University, UK, 2000

Contributions as speaker at international conference:

El Septimo Ojo, Facultad de Sciencias de Communicacion, Universidad de Sucre, Bolivia, June 2008 / Paper: Human Rights Festivals and Networks as sites for cultural resistance and community building; Addis Ababa Int. Film Festival, Film Directing and Production Workshop, Addis Abeba, Ethiopia, January 2007 / Paper: Human Rights Films and Festivals as a Post-colonial Transnational Communication Strategy; ASN Conference on Globalization, Nationalism and Ethnic Conflicts in The Balkans, Belgrade, Serbia,September 2006 / Paper: Human Rights Films in a Post-Conflict Resolution Context; Frontiers of Visual Anthropology, Oxford University, UK, September 2005 / Paper: Visual Representations of Human Rights, Displacement and Resistance in Apartheid South Africa: Come Back Africa by Lionel Rogosin; Anthropology and Cinema, Sussex University, UK - May 2005 Paper: Post-conflict Dialogue and Human Rights Films; Utrecht Summer School Human Rights Bologna, Italy, July 2005, Paper: Indigenous People, Human Rights and Representations - July 2004 Paper: Stereotypes and Prejudice in Advertising in Italy