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The Officina di Studi Medievali (OSM) for almost thirty years has been active in Palermo (Italy), with intense national and international projection. Founded in 1980 by a group of researchers and lovers of medieval studies largely from the University of Palermo, OSM is a no-profit cultural association working on various lines of research in medieval studies, with a programmatic multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary approach. It is housed in the thirteenth-century monumental complex of the San Francesco d’Assisi Basilica, in the heart of the historic area of Palermo, managed by the Province of Sicily of the Lesser Conventual Monks (OFMConv) with which, since its foundation, OSM has established intense and active collaboration. There is a precious patrimony in the Franciscan Library directed by Father Diego Ciccarelli, which possesses over 45,000 volumes, manuscripts, incunabula and numerous old books of rare merit and value, a patrimony that, though in full and mutual autonomy, is integrated with the OSM Library, with common projects for training and for diffusion of a “book culture”. OSM is run by a Ufficio di Presidenza (staff elected by the Assembly of Members): the Chairman is Alessandro Musco and the other members are Armando Bisanti, Diego Ciccarelli, Carolina Miceli and Patrizia Spallino.

It is coordinated by a Scientific Committee, made up of: Filippo Burgarella, Antonino Buttitta, Paolo Emilio Carapezza, Federico Doglio, Fernando Domínguez Reboiras, Salvatore Fodale, Claudio Leonardi, Andrea Romano, Pasquale Smiriglia, Salvatore Tramontana, Pere Villalba Varneda, Oleg Voskoboynikov and Agostino Ziino. The Committee also draws on the consultation and collaboration of numerous Italian and overseas researchers. OSM is animated by a big group of members, as stable collaborators of the cultural, training and academic promotion activities, of the management of the Library, of the publishing initiatives, of administrative services and logistics. The research area of interest of OSM, which has always operated in close synergy with the University of Palermo and particularly with the Facoltà di Lettere e Filosofia, is constituted by the Middle Ages in the broadest and most inclusive sense, with projections on its roots in ancient cultures and on its legacies for modern culture. The main research areas that OSM has cultivated and progressively enriched over the years are the metaphysical tradition, the history of medieval ideas and knowledge in the plurality of their ramifications, the intersection of cultural traditions in the medieval epoch, especially in the Mediterranean area (Arab and Islamic, Jewish, Latin and Christian, Greek and Byzantine worlds, etc.), the history of Middle Latin literature, palaeographic, diplomatic and historical studies. Currently the academic work of OSM is organized through various workshops that have the purpose of coordinating, through thematic areas of homogeneous interest, members and all collaborators. The operational workshops, for which we will also indicate the coordinators, are:

  • Byzantina
    which deals with Byzantine Civilization in a broad sense (Filippo Burgarella, Univ. of Calabria) and the Christian East (Rosanna Gambino, Univ. of Palermo);
  • Federiciana
    (Oleg Voskoboynikov, Univ. of Moscow) engaged in studying the Mediterranean historical and cultural context that from the Norman-Swabian period goes all through the 14th century;
  • Franciscana
    (Luca Parisoli, Univ. of Calabria and Paris-Nanterre) which deals with Franciscan studies in a broad spectrum;
  • OSMIL-Itinera Lulliana
    organized by a research group on the work and thought of Raymond Lull and on the traditions of “Lullism” (Jordi Gaya Esberiich, Univ. of Palm de Majorca, Marta Romano, Univ. of Palermo);
  • OSMOR-Orientalistica
    involving the researchers of the oriental studies area (Judaism, Luciana Pepi, Univ. of Palermo; Arabic and Islamic Culture, Giuseppe Roccaro and Patrizia Spallino, Univ. of Palermo; Indology, Maria Lucilla Vassallo, Univ. of Palermo), which also runs annual courses on Arabic and Jewish language and culture, both at the basic and the superior levels;
  • Traditio
    centring on the tradition of medieval knowledge, with particular attention to the Latin area, expressed in literature, poetry, theatre, philosophy, theology, music, etc. (Armando Bisanti and Pietro Palmari, Univ. of Palermo);
  • Vivarium
    devoted to studies on Palaeography, Diploma Studies, Book Culture, Library Management, Restoration of paper and books (Carolina Miceli, Univ. of Palermo).

Each workshop promotes and uses national and international collaborations with universities, departments, associations, foundations, single scholars and researchers thanks also to formal agreements, conventions, research contracts, projects (Erasmus, Socrates), programmes of the European Union and yet others.

These workshops, though with their autonomy and sectorial specificity, are not conceived of as separate compartments, but instead as operational moments animated by a common strategy of mutual interaction and synergic research.