Let’s talk about you: what is your background, what do you teach, and what are your research interests?
I am an economic and political geographer. My favourite areas of research are the geography of ports and sea transport, changes in port cities and urban waterfronts, and the evolution of local governance approaches in coastal areas. In the last few years I have also started to work on the geography of polar regions, with a focus on Arctic geography and geopolitics. Since 1996, when I became a researcher at Ca' Foscari, I have taught several courses at the University, in economics, linguistics and environment.
Tell us about your academic path
My professional and academic career has been unusual and very articulated. After working in a company for a few years, I went back to study. I graduated in Economics in Venice and then continued my studies in Rotterdam and Southampton. I became a researcher in 1996, then adjunct professor in 2005 and eventually full professor in 2017.
What has given you the greatest satisfaction in your career?
Being a university professor often involves organisational activities. However, the greatest satisfaction comes from research and teaching: studying, researching, going into classrooms, sharing ideas and different points of view with students are all elements that compensate for the difficulties that every teacher and researcher experiences in their academic career.
What are you most passionate about in your field of research?
Geography focuses on the extreme variety and diversity of our 'world', be it a single neighbourhood, the space of our existence, or the large space designed by global geo-economic and geopolitical processes. Being a geographer means always trying to strike a difficult balance between the particular and the general, between what can only be understood by immersing oneself in places and what can only be understood through abstraction. Finding echoes of general trends in individual places and seeing how general trends are in turn strongly conditioned by individual places is what fascinates me most about my field of research.
Can you offer any advice to researchers in the early stages of their careers?
Follow your own curiosity, study with dedication and do not look for shortcuts, develop your own field of research while also paying attention to opportunities for contamination with other fields of study and knowledge. The crisis, or crises, that contemporary societies are experiencing, especially concerning the environment, are also a reflection of an often over-segmented knowledge that is trapped inside strict disciplinary boundaries. For young people approaching research today, I believe that the most difficult challenge is to anchor themselves within their reference scientific community, while taking care of their ability to explore the unknown spaces that contamination among disciplines, languages and different research methodologies can open up.