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Good business, good culture

Analysis of the challenges facing the Italian cultural system confirms the strong significance of public-private collaboration

 

Promoting culture in different ways than before, by exploiting ways of organising cultural production which can be both efficient and accessible to all. We can take private companies as an example. Covid-19 also sets this challenge, which can be expressed on several levels. Claudio Bocci (former director of Federculture and now Managing Director of the Ravello Lab Committee) uses this set of ideas as the basis for his speech ‘Culture and local development: a new beginning’.

Bocci begins by noting that the pandemic has had a profound impact on the accessibility and management of cultural venues. He explains that it will take time to get back to the very high number of visitors to the great state museums which attract local citizens today. So, what can be done? For the author, it’s important ‘to make the capacity for communicating digitally more stable, it was set up in an impromptu manner during lockdown and will now become a strategic tool for interacting with the public’. The effective digitalisation of Italian cultural venues is certainly not an easy path, but it must be pursued with care and attention.

The digitalisation of Italian cultural venues involves a new technological mentality as well as a new attitude, which is itself a cultural novelty. Bocci then says that it will be necessary ‘to address the issue of managing cultural venues from an integrated perspective of public governance’. Actually, it’s more than that. Cultural venues will increasingly have to become ‘platforms for experiential well-being’ and therefore they deserve public financial support.

In order to help us understand his thinking better, in his speech published in Il capitale culturale: Studies on the Value of Cultural Heritage, Bocci begins by addressing the issue of the ‘sustainability of cultural venues’, he then goes on to remind us of the recommendation of the Council of Europe’s Faro Convention, which emphasises both the protection of cultural heritage and the right of citizens to access and participate in cultural experiences. Bocci then asks for attention to be paid to new forms of collaboration between the public and private sectors, and almost sets a challenge: ‘We anticipate’ he writes, ‘that the corporate system will increasingly consider aiming high for different reasons’.

Bocci then underlines how these activities can also lead to greater social cohesion, create new, good jobs and, he concludes: ‘Cultural enterprises will have to increase their capacity for dialogue with the private business system, which is also sensitive to a new reference framework that sees increasing social responsibility as a company goal, alongside profit’.

Cultura e sviluppo locale: un nuovo inizio  (Culture and local development: a new beginning)

Claudio Bocci

Il capitale culturale: Studies on the Value of Cultural Heritage, Supplement 11 (2020), pp. 81-89