Liverpool Hope University academic Dr Simona Palladino is set to showcase her award-nominated documentary this week.
Simona joined Hope earlier this month as a Lecturer in Social Science.
And on Thursday 6th Feb she’ll act as a guest lecturer at the University of Stirling, Scotland, in order to present her film Age Is Just a Bingo Number to the Faculty of Medical Sciences, Module of Ageing, Society and Social Policy.
The critically-acclaimed feature follows a group of ageing Italian expats living in Newcastle.
It sees members of the ‘Associazione Amici D’Italia’, aka ‘Friends of Italy Association’, meeting each week at a community centre to play Bingo, share stories, sing songs and socialise.
And Simona says the documentary explores what it means to be an older migrant, what it means to call a place ‘home’, and how this sense of identity impacts on our health, wellbeing and social engagement as we grow older.
The documentary itself was first unveiled in 2018, and went on to be judged as ‘Best Documentary’ at the Mediterranean Film Festival of Cannes, and received Special Mention at Intimalents, Film Festival of Visual Ethnography, in Italy.
Simona, who arrived at Hope from Newcastle University, explains: “These were people who mainly came to England after the second World War for economic reasons and who then fell in love, got married to a British partner, and stayed here.
“The stories were so interesting, I just knew that I had to document them.
“Some had found themselves in prisoner of war camps but ultimately settled in Newcastle and found a sense of ‘home’.
“And with this project, I wanted to understand their sense of attachment, their sense of place and their sense of identity, particularly now that they are ageing in the context of migration.”
For Simona, who has long been fascinated by the ‘narratives of older people’, it was impossible not to feel incredible warmth for the individuals she was recording and observing.
She adds: “The community of older Italians in Newcastle are sort of my adopted family!
“Year after year, they became so important to me and we are still in contact.”
Simona, herself originally from the picturesque town of Campobasso in central Italy, says she too has her own unique sense of ‘home’.
She explains: “I can consider myself both Italian and English. My identity has been shaped and enriched by the places where I have lived so far.
“Moreover, I think that living and working in different countries helps you to appreciate diversity. And I believe this is an important value.”
Simona is yet to immerse herself in Merseyside’s Italian community, but she’s hoping to do so in the coming weeks and months.
And if you’d like to see the film yourself, check out the film’s Facebook page, where there will be announcements about all upcoming screenings.