Livia del Conte, Policy and Project Officer at EUKN
WHO IS SHE AND WHAT DOES SHE DO?
Meet Livia! Livia is one of the Policy and Project officers at EUKN, the European Urban Knowledge Network. What she essentially does as part of the EUKN Secretariat is provide support to ministries that deal with urban matters within different European countries by supporting them with research, and providing a platform where expertise and knowledge can be shared and distributed. The EUKN brings together relevant expertise knowledge focused on urban matters, and looks at issues through an integrative lens.
HOW DID SHE GET INTO THIS WORK?
“I was happy you asked me this, because it was not an easy journey for me to arrive here.”, Livia tells us. After studying architecture in Rome for two years, Livia moved to France for Erasmus in Toulouse, and then pursued an internship in Paris for a year. However, Livia realized that this is not the path she wanted to pursue. She tells us, “I knew what I didn’t want to do, but I did not know what I wanted to do”. Livia not only wanted to work on the built environment from an architectural perspective, but mostly wanted to have an impact on the built environment by “working with people”.
Henceforth, Livia started pursuing her Master in Architecture from TU Delft in the Netherlands. Here, she liked the fact that she could select a project and decide her own way to work on it to pursue her broader goals. It took her a while to get where she is now, but this programme proved to be a crucial step towards her career path. “I wanted to discover my own way of being an architect”, Livia elaborates. Livia wanted an organization that worked around the keywords she was looking for- ‘strategic, urban and policy making’, and EUKN fit the puzzle perfectly! She started off as an intern, and is currently working to pursue her personal goals within the organization, which is to become a direct bridge between architecture and design on one hand, and policymaking on the other. She tells us, “I work as the facilitator not only inside the team, but also outside”.
WHAT PROJECT IS SHE CURRENTLY WORKING ON?
For her second project, Livia had a lot of fun organizing a conference for EUKN, where she had to support the mayor of Potenza. She considers this project a personal achievement. “That was one of the standout projects I worked on within the team and outside”, she tells us. Livia approaches all her projects through a ‘design thinking approach’, even within policy making, and always tries to explore a unique angle, or her own “different way of looking at things”.
HOW DID SHE COME TO THE HUB?
Livia was working with a professor from the Faculty of Industrial Design at TU Delft, who was actively involved in the Humanity Hub and its activities. Livia tells us, “I had heard about the Hub through friends and associates, and was always interested in the organizations that work within the Hub” When their Director told them that there was a possibility of moving to the Hub, Livia found out more about the Hub on behalf of the EUKN team, and really liked the Hub space and its community. As Livia puts it, “I really identified objectives I want to pursue with people of the Hub and reflect on ideas, there are so many ways you can be inspired by people working next to you!”
“We were so happy to join the Hub!”. The EUKN team, however, did not get much time to work at the Hub and had to shift to remote working soon after the crisis hit. It has been tough and frustrating at times, but they have adapted their work to suit the ‘new normal’. The EUKN team is looking forward to coming back to the Hub, in order to work and connect with the organizations working there.
WHAT ARE HER KEY LEARNINGS/ TAKEAWAYS FROM THE CURRENT SITUATION?
Livia had very interesting insights for us on her way of dealing with things! Livia has what she calls a “pandemic board” which she uses for brainstorming ideas, while also incorporating quotes and comments from articles, books, or poems she reads. This is her way of dealing with thoughts she has in her mind. She is a firm believer of the fact that rather than drawing conclusions, people should take time to reflect on topics that should be discussed and explored, to develop a clear vision of a post Covid-19 world. She tells us, “we should find the time to explore everything in a deeper, collective way, and share these with the community of the Hub as well.”
WHAT IS SHE CURRENTLY WATCHING/READING/LISTENING TO?
Livia has quite a few hobbies up her sleeve during this stay at home time! She recently bought a piano, which she plays regularly (she has been playing since she was eight!) She has also been doing a lot of ballet. Alongside that, she listens to quite a few Italian podcasts- one that she loves is by the historian Alessandro Barbero about the history of democracy, and also a series called ‘blu notte’ (in Italian) or blue night. She is also re-discovering her roots in the process! Livia also listens to the Italian radio, which features a program called the ‘Prima Pagina’ or cover page of the newspaper, where the news of the day is read by a journalist, and henceforth commented on by people on the phone.
Livia is currently reading an Italian book, which roughly translates to ‘The factory of the obedience: the dark and co-conspirator side of the Italians’ by Ermanno Rea. The writer explores the history of Italy, and gives explanations of some recognized features of Italian culture. She finds it quite insightful.
WHAT IS HER ASK OF THE HUMANITY HUB COMMUNITY?
Livia sees a lot of potential in the Hub and it’s community. She tells us that she sees a fair bit of talent and common ground within the organizations working within the Hub, and would love for her team to cooperate and connect in order to work together towards common future objectives. Livia says, “Though we did not get much chance to experience the actual sense of the community, we are definitely looking forward to sharing knowledge, working, and learning together.” “Our ask is to explore potential in sharing knowledge and resources”, she adds.
Thank you, Livia, for your insights! If you would like to find out more about Livia, feel free to visit her LinkedIn page or send her a message on Slack!