I am an Italian photographer who has been living in London for more than two years. I founded a website with the aim to connect Italians in London while telling the stories and experiences of our community.
We founded Italian Kingdom only six months ago. I have lead a creative agency in London for some time and wanted to use my experience in photography to tell the stories of Italian expats, the story of our people, a kingdom of Italians living in the UK.
According to the Italian daily La Stampa, there are 250,000 Italians living in London, the equivalent of a mid-size city. Giving a face to the thousands of Italians trying to settle in this country is essential at a moment when people just react to immigration as an abstract idea without realising that immigration relates to people.
There are things that only a picture can tell. Our skin, the creases of our faces, are able to tell more about our hopes and our feelings that words could express. Anna, pictured below, is a senior producer for a publishing company. Her smile says it all: the efforts she put in getting into the business have paid off. She admires the British people and their liberal mindset and you can tell from her expression how happy she is to be here.
The picture below captures the hopefulness of Tundra, who decided to move to London to get some work experience one summer and ended up staying. She is currently working in a coffee shop. London gave her the chance to follow her dreams, gave her the sensation that everything is possible, a sensation lost long ago back in Italy.
After a PhD in Music Technology Bruno managed to found the company of his dreams and is building a device able to turn every object around us in a musical instrument. Like many of us, he misses our typical Italian warmth and physical intimacy. It might sound like a stereotype but it is actually something profoundly connected to our nature.
Through our site we also wanted to encourage people to share their experience of Italians living in the UK, to encourage connections among expats while also focusing on the integration of our community in the local environment. Being able to preserve one's own identity while opening up to a new environment and new cultural stimuli is something we are keen to encourage. We write about the best tattoo makers in London, must-attend events and new bars worth paying a visit to. We want to see our community experiencing the best this country has to offer.
So far, we have been able to tell the stories of more than 150 Italians living in London and we have published more than 100 articles. We have also launched a radio show and the response has been overwhelming.
Finally, a few days ago, we launched a crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter. Our goal is to reach £10,000 to allow us to publish a book called Italian Kingdom — Volume Uno, featuring our best photographs and stories. Silvia Favasuli, a journalist for the Italian site Linkiesta, is going to enrich the book with chapters on the three fundamental moments in the life of an expat: leaving one's country, arrival and adaptation. Every contribution will help us tell the stories of our community.
From time to time we'll share exclusive interview clips (including never-seen-before footage), the most incisive blog posts and the most interesting dispatches from our event organisers as they take the europe debate to the furthest, biggest, smallest, weirdest, most unusual places around europe and beyond.