This year marks the 75th anniversary of the Fulbright Commission Italy. During the Annual Meeting in June, the 6 Fulbrighters -who have won the Fulbright 75th Anniversary award- will be awarded. On this occasion, we interviewed them to better understand who they are and what they do. Let's start with Catherine Del Buono!
Cat Del Buono, U.S. Alumna, a.a. 22-23, is a photographer and filmmaker from Brooklyn who carried out an art and research program in Naples in collaboration with the Community Psychology Laboratory of the University of Naples Federico II. Congratulations, Cat!
Here is her interview…
1 Introduce yourself: what do you currently do?
Since I returned to New York from the Fulbright Program in Naples, I have been working on continuing my video project that focuses on domestic violence both in the US and in Italy. I am also running a nonprofit after-school art program for underserved kids that I started in 2019. And I am developing a couple of documentary series that I hope to pitch to production companies next year.
2 At what point in your academic and professional career did you decide to apply for a Fulbright grant to Italy and why?
I was encouraged to apply for the Fulbright after having done multiple video installations that focused on domestic violence. At first, I thought I was too old and had been out of school too long, but a Fulbright to Italy had always been at the back of my mind. I felt strongly about doing a project on domestic violence in an area where my family originated from. It felt too important to ignore, so I learned more about the program and eligibility, became an At Large applicant, and hoped for the best. I am so glad I did!
3 When you recall your stay in Italy what is the first image that comes up to your mind?
The first image that comes to mind is the view of the Gulf of Naples! I had not spent time in Naples before, so experiencing this view and the waterfront took my breath away each time.
4 Could you tell us more about the project that has been awarded for the 75th Fulbright Italy Anniversary?
My project uses art as a focal point to discuss the epidemic of femicide and violence against women. Art-based research was conducted and interviews were filmed in Naples and shown to the public, giving women a literal voice while highlighting issues that arose during the Covid-19 lockdowns, such as the uptick of violence and challenges in accessing help. Small video screens displayed only the mouths of those speaking of abuse and included researchers, lawyers, and psychologists. All the separate voices speaking at once created a unified dialogue about gender-based violence. I would like to continue bringing together all facets of working against abuse. I had organized a conversation between Italian and American psychologists who treat abusers. This important discussion compared and contrasted how each country deals with one of the many methods of addressing gender-based violence. The therapists concluded the same thing: there is a lack of communication among all the separate organizations. The next phase of my project will bring them together to share their information in order to make a real impact on combatting domestic violence in both countries.