Note: These events are for women only.
Friday 13 March 2020, 6.30-9.00PM. Free entry. Registration here.
Saturday 14 March 2020, 11AM-4PM (1-hr break for lunch); Max of 16 participants; Fee: $45. Registration here
CO.AS.IT., 199 Faraday St, Carlton, VIC 3053
Registration essential:
Please scroll down for more information.
Join us for an evening and a day of talking, listening and telling stories. For many second generation Italian Australian women, our parents are now elderly or passed away. This is a time for reflecting on our migration legacies: enriching, precious, complex and challenging. At the recent Diaspore Italiane conference in Genova (June 2019) interest and concerns were raised about the extent of family violence, oppression and mental health issues experienced by first generation Italian migrant women and the impacts for their second generation children, in particular their daughters. Simultaneously, women’s capacity for resilience and resistance in the face of settlement hardships, isolation and generational and family conflict were also presented. These are significant matters for all communities, especially where there is a reluctance to discuss “private” concerns perceived to be the exclusive realm of the family. The Victorian government’s Royal Commission into Family Violence (2016) delivered 227 recommendations to prevent and address family violence and violence against women. Twelve of these deal specifically with migrant and refugee women (See With increasing societal recognition for the importance of understanding, articulating and storying these social and health issues, this is a timely opportunity to hear the experiences of multi-generation Italian Australian women.



The Ascolta Forum presents a panel of inspirational speakers exploring the lived experiences of multi-generation Italian Australian women, and includes audience participation.

Free entry. Registration here.

To facilitate audience discussion on the multiplicity of experiences of multi- generation Italian Australian women, a panel of presenters will address specific topics and invite audience participation:

  • Dr Adele MURDOLO, Executive Director, Multicultural Centre for Women’s Health – will outline the current context for multicultural women’s health in Australia.
  • Teresa CAPETOLA, Lecturer and PhD candidate, School of Health and Social Development, Deakin University – will present preliminary findings from her research on post World War II second generation Italian Australian middle-aged women.
  • Anna Maria DELL’OSO, Writer and Teacher of Creative Writing – explores the role of storying experiences as impetus for personal and cultural expression and change.
  • Maria FANTASIA, Writer – has recently published a story based on her mother’s life and will discuss her writing experiences as well as the personal and public impact of her book.
  • Katrina LOLICATO, Co-Founder and Director of The Foundling Archive and PhD candidate, Deakin University – reflects on her lived experiences as a third generation Italian Australian woman, researching memory, belonging and identity.

To honour and acknowledge the importance of storying our lived experiences, the Ascolta Forum proudly launches three recent publications written by second generation Italian Australian women. We are honoured to have the publications launched by:

  • Dr Maria PALLOTTA-CHIAROLLI, author, researcher, activist and pioneer in Italian Australian second generation women’s writing, and
  • Fortunata Maria CALLIPARI, multicultural officer, writer and blogger of second generation Italian migration experiences.

The publications are:

  • Maria FANTASIA has chronicled the life of her beloved mother, a proxy bride from the Benevento province, in My Mother’s Story . . . Through My Eyes. This frank and tender book reveals what is behind the closed curtains of homes we all know.
  • Giuseppina (Pina) MARINO LEYLAND engages all of her multiple selves – Italian, Australian, migrant, daughter, mother, woman, to create Pezzi Pazzi: Crazy Pieces. This collection of short stories, a novella and prose, is infused with the lived experiences of being an Italian Australian woman and the insight and vision it brings to living and recording “crazy” lives.
  • Teresa CAPETOLA (editor) Storying Distance: Italian Australian Second Generation Women Write. A co-created short story by second generation Italian Australian middle aged women. Over a two year period, eleven women have progressively contributed to creating a joint story about our migration legacies.

All books will be available for purchase (cash sales preferred) and authors will be available for book signing.



Saturday 14 March 2020, 11AM-4PM (1-hr break for lunch); Max of 16 participants; Fee: $45.

Registration here 

CO.AS.IT., 199 Faraday St, Carlton, VIC 3053

Storying our lived experiences is a vital personal and public activity. It enables individual stories to breathe life into social issues and it connects societal and cultural changes to the lives of real people. Taking courage and inspiration from the Ascolta! Forum, this creative writing workshop for women is led by award winning writers and creative writing teachers, Elise VALMORBIDA and Anna Maria DELL’OSO. Elise is the recipient of the Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for Fiction (2019) for her novel The Madonna of the Mountains. Anna Maria Dell’oso has over four decades of writing experience in journalism, fiction and social commentary. Anna Maria and Elise will jointly facilitate a creative writing workshop for women exploring migration legacies.



  • Fortunata Maria CALLIPARI is a proud Australian, Italian Calabrese woman who was born in Mildura Victoria. Her name is proof of the tug of war between the sexes and who should have naming rights when a child is born. Fortunata was given by her father, Giuseppe, his Grandmother’s name, enforcing tradition and culture and Maria was given by her mother Giuseppa, because every Italian family needs a Maria. Giuseppa continued to call her Maria, and this name has stuck over time – though Fortunata embraces both names now in honour of her parents. Fortunata Maria grew up on a fruit farm and is one of six children. In this space she is influenced by the migration story, an appreciation for growing and eating good food and gratitude for what it means to make a good life. Fortunata is employed as a Multicultural Officer in a local government setting. She has produced a number of concepts and programs that have been implemented locally, state-wide and nationally, such as the Welcome Expo, The Work Ready Program and Taste of Harmony. These programs have been running for 11 years. Fortunata has also been an active Darebin resident and member of a number of local community advisory structures, one of which involved working with Darebin Ethnic Communities Council, establishing the first Darebin homemakers wine and food festivals. More than three years ago Fortunata started to document her thoughts and observations of her family’s cultural and traditional practices in order to start writing and established her blog Kindred Link. “Writing is something that I really enjoy, it’s not perfect, but I can express myself. I share this with my cousins and family and trust that it will bring some relief for the heartache of childhood, tainted by the trauma of our parents’ migration story, which seems ever present. It can help us understand our suffering and thus become the observer. Suffering in this way transcends our experience to one that is shared and united.”
  • Teresa CAPETOLA is Lecturer in the School of Health and Social Development, Deakin University. She is the recipient of numerous teaching awards reflecting a commitment to student centred learning informed by her experiences as a second generation Italian Australian woman. She is currently undertaking a PhD at Deakin University on the lived experiences of post-World War II second generation Italian Australian middle-aged women.
  • Anna Maria DELL’OSO is a Sydney-based writer and teacher of creative writing, born in Melbourne, Australia to Italian parents from the Abruzzo region of Italy. Anna Maria’s book Songs of the Suitcase (HarperCollins) won the Steele Rudd Award. Anna Maria’s early career was in journalism, writing for the Sydney Morning Herald for 28 years. She has been published in many anthologies, most recently in the Griffith Review, where two of her stories, “Local Spirits” and “Return of the Rings” specifically explore themes of hybridity, transnationalism and italianità. With a deep interest in the therapeutic value of creative writing, Anna Maria has a Diploma of Counselling and is in the second year of a degree in psychological science. She is also working on several writing projects: the music-based Beating Time, and Geppetto’s Daughter, set in Italy.
  • Maria FANTASIA currently works in community and stakeholder engagement in the public sector. She was a secondary school teacher in Geography, History, Aboriginal Studies and Australian Studies for several years before retraining and entering the private sector in town planning, community planning and stakeholder engagement. Her specialist area was social/community planning projects in Aboriginal communities, which led to a number of state and national Planning Institute Association Awards, and management of remote Aboriginal communities, which included short residencies in remote parts of Australia. As a second generation Italian Australia woman, she has captured the story of her migrant mother in a memoir published in 2019.
  • Katrina LOLICATO is the co-founder and director of the Foundling Archive, Victoria, a ‘museum without walls’ that collects memory and experience to document the unique character, culture, strengths and challenges of communities across Australia. Through a playful interaction with history and social enquiry, she develops exhibitions, publications and podcasts addressing the everyday experience of policies, places and ideas to find our common bonds and the many ways that define being Australian. A third generation Sicilian, Calabrian and Abruzzese-Australian, Katrina is currently completing her PhD research at Deakin University, where, in partnership with CO.AS.IT, she is evaluating the current representation of Italian-Australian culture within CO.AS.IT.’s current Museo Italiano exhibition. She is passionate about reclaiming and transforming the image of the nostalgic ethnic in the belief that within the personal, lays the wisdom we need moving into an uncertain cultural, environmental and political future.
  • Giuseppina (Pina) MARINO LEYLAND was born in Australia, of Abruzzese background. She is a social worker, author and artist and currently lives in Wollongong. She was awarded a Master of Arts in Creative Writing by the University of Technology Sydney in 2011. Her first collection of mixed-genre creative writing was published by Clarendon House Publishing in 2019, entitled Pezzi Pazzi: Crazy Pieces. She is now working on a second collection entitled Pezzi Pazzi 2.
  • Dr Adele MURDOLO is the Executive Director at the Multicultural Centre for Women’s Health, a Victorian-based women’s health centre conducting health promotion, research and advocacy, run by and for migrant and refugee women. Adele is a second generation Italian woman and has a background in feminist research, and a PhD in history and women’s studies. Her advocacy and research work are on the topics of violence against women, women’s health, feminist history and activism, with a specific focus on migrant and refugee women. She is also an Honorary Senior Research Fellow at the Centre for Health Equity at the University of Melbourne.
  • Dr Maria PALLOTTA-CHIAROLLI, Gender and Sexuality Studies and the LGBTIQ Network, Deakin University, has gained national and international recognition as a writer, qualitative researcher, educator, community activist and consultant in the issues of cultural diversity, gender diversity, sexual diversity, family diversity, HIV/AIDS, and social diversity in health and education. She is renowned for successfully working with marginalised, vulnerable, sensitive and “hard-to-reach” communities, conducting highly sensitive, indeed controversial, qualitative research that required much ongoing discussion, collaboration and respect for participants’ and communities’ safety and wellbeing. She espouses decolonising research practice, feminist standpoint epistemology, and social justice research that is empowering and capacity-building for the communities she works for and with. Her books include: Someone You Know (Australia’s first AIDS biography); Tapestry: Five Generations of Women in One Italian Family (shortlisted for NSW Premier’s Award Ethnic Affairs Commission Award in 2000); and her first novel, Love You Two, was co-winner of a 2010 Lambda Literary Award. Maria’s ongoing research which has been contracted for publication is “Mobs and Wogs”: Life Stories and Family Histories of Indigenous People with Southern European Heritage, addressing the contestations and confluences between migration and colonialism. “Pay it forward” has always been Maria’s motto. Her work has internationally inspired numerous academics, researchers, students, activists, politicians and community members, and she remains committed and dedicated to empowering, mentoring and supporting the young, the emerging and the marginalised.
  • Elise VALMORBIDA grew up Italian in Australia, and lives in London. She is a graduate in English language and literature, an experienced teacher and multi-published author. In 2019, she won the Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for Fiction for her fourth novel, The Madonna of the Mountains. Published in the UK/ANZ by Faber & Faber, and internationally in several languages, The Madonna of the Mountains was The Times ‘book of the month’, a New York Post ‘must-read’, an Edward Stanford Awards nominee, and one of the Walter Scott Prize ‘Academy Recommends’ List. Elise’s popular non-fiction work, The Book of Happy Endings, is published in four languages and four continents. For her work as script consultant, producer, and author of SAXON: The Making of a Guerrilla Film, Elise won the Edinburgh International Film Festival Trailblazer award. She teaches creative writing at Central Saint Martins, Faber Academy, Arvon and Guardian Masterclasses. Her latest book, an inspirational creative writing guide, will be published in early 2021. Find out more at