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Culture in the post-pandemic, considerations

Giovanna Barni full contribution to "La Cultura nel dopoepidemia"; the online forum organised by CoopCulture and Artribune.

In these days of great concern for the tens of thousands of cooperators working in this sector, ideas of great impact are circulating - such as that of the Cultural Fund launched in Corriere della Sera by Pier Luigi Battista (and relaunched in the Appeal of Federculture for the creation of a National Fund for Culture); these are ideas that look a lot at the emergence of funds and liquidity, which is the great immediate need, but which risk not contemplating all that articulated and diversified Italian supply chain that supports the usability of many different cultural expressions and places of culture, unique in the European panorama also for the heterogeneity of the forms: institutions and foundations but above all enterprises and cultural, social and community cooperatives, clubs and associations and professionals from different sectors.

It is therefore evident that it is necessary to take an approach already starting from this emergency phase that takes this multiformity and connection into account: "segmented" measures are not enough, but a single recipe, however innovative and necessary, that may be valid for the entire sector. Rather, an integrated and reasoned mix of measures will be needed that is now also looking beyond the emergency and which, in addition to pursuing the salvation of a rich universe - albeit very weak and fragmented because it has always been affected by the absence of an industrial policy sector -, also aims to regenerate it with more solid foundations and sustainable models, capable of multiplying its value as an engine for the well-being of citizens as well as for the country's economy.

It is an articulated and complex supply chain, wide and internally interconnected, as highlighted a few days ago by the contribution of Paola Dubini, who in turn has many connections with the contiguous sector of tourism, with local productions and the economy of territories.

At the source of this complexity, the risk is that without a plan there is no future.

It is therefore evident that it is necessary to take an approach already starting from this emergency phase that takes this multiformity and connection into account: "segmented" measures are not enough, but a single recipe, however innovative and necessary, that may be valid for the entire sector. Rather, an integrated and reasoned mix of measures will be needed that is now also looking beyond the emergency and which, in addition to pursuing the salvation of a rich universe - albeit very weak and fragmented because it has always been affected by the absence of an industrial policy sector -, also aims to regenerate it with more solid foundations and sustainable models, capable of multiplying its value as an engine for the well-being of citizens as well as for the country's economy.

The necessity for farsightedness

For this reason, having adopted a type of transversal approach destined to develop with complementary and progressive interventions, I have read with great interest and particularly appreciated the Program for Culture which sees Marco D’Isanto, Stefano Consiglio and Ledo Prato as the first signatories. All these appeals, a sign of wealth but also of an excess of fragmentation, are addressed to the next DPCM to reserve particular and far-sighted attention also in terms of "compensation" to a sector that has suffered and will continue to suffer more than other sectors.

In fact, this is the industry first hit by the closures and then condemned to a very slow recovery as it is conditioned by the inevitable decline in tourism and the equally inevitable continuation of social distancing measures; all this will be added to the fact that some sectors, such as publishing, were in crisis even before the emergency, while others - such as all the widespread territorial infrastructure linked to cultural heritage - have always been neglected both for old prejudices on the business and cultural heritage and the absence of structural interventions aimed at promoting its growth and diffusion.

And this is paradoxical if we consider that these are labor intensive companies that often animate cultural centers in territories that otherwise would not have them, open theaters, libraries, parks and museums, large and small, to the public, employing qualified operators, mostly women and Young people.

But it is the same work in the sector that often pays the same amount of invisibility and social injustice: there are many types of intermittent and precarious workers who contribute in the field of entertainment, music, museum education. The Fitzcarraldo Foundation is carrying out a valuable attempt at their recognition, to save them from the lack of protection in these days of stoppage, but the Alliance of Cooperatives just a few days before the pandemic had signed a new Contract for the entertainment to guarantee these figures too. and new creative professions.

 

A TRUE REGENERATION

How then can we combine the urgency of keeping the flame burning in an already weak world that risks not recovering after the crisis? And how to look at the same time to a redemption that is a source of regeneration, renewal, consolidation and towards the dimension of a more sustainable model, no longer based entirely on the numbers of great attractors but on a new paradigm of more intense and culturally engaging experience?

Without having any pretense of summarizing the many proposals of experts, I believe that the keywords underlying the recovery must be these: knowledge, simplification, support, transversality and subsidiarity.

Knowledge. It is from the knowledge of the supply chain, from the mapping of the same that we must start even before the numbers. The numbers in fact give no idea of ​​the interconnections and therefore of the global weight and intrinsic strength, elements that instead make it clear that only together we can win and how important regulatory recognition is.

Simplification. Excess of bureaucracy has condemned the sector to poverty as much as the lack of funding. Simplify and anticipate the disbursement of loans and contributions, facilitate the renegotiation of contracts between PA and cultural enterprises that take into account the new scenarios, extend the tools already available to many more categories, such as the Art Bonus or Pon Cultura Crea funds Simplification would not require additional resources, but would still give life to the entire system, especially to an evolution towards public-private partnerships, the only ones capable of acting as an accelerator and enhancing so much still underutilized assets.

Support. There are two necessary support measures to be introduced immediately if we want to save companies: a) the injection of liquidity through both the establishment of a fund for culture but also with the introduction of instruments that can be immediately translated into liquidity for (institutional and not), for example in the form of suspended tickets, vouchers, membership cards to be consumed in the short term; b) support for internal cultural demand through the tax exemption of cultural consumption for the entire supply chain, including publishing, and the introduction of bonuses in favor of less well-off young people and families.

Transversality and subsidiarity. Supporting and strengthening the system with structural measures makes all the more sense if transversal strategies are put in place, for example with the Ministries of Labor and Economic Development, and subsidiary with the Regions, which finance innovation, restructuring and reorganization of businesses, the regeneration of district-ecosystems for culture and creativity, also thanks to a wise and synergistic use of the 2021-2027 programming, which launch experiments of new models of cooperative networks and supply chains to overcome the systemic weakness of the sector.

A PACT FOR THE PRESENT THAT LOOKS TO THE FUTURE

Especially if we really want culture and the cultural enterprise to have the right recognition for the role they play for the economy and sustainability - also in line with the work that the ASVIS group is carrying out on culture and sustainable development -, we need to change paradigm: do not finance (little) cultural organizations and make them spend as little as possible (with outsourcing at the lowest possible cost), but invest in governance and management models capable of maximizing the impacts towards sustainability in terms of urban and territorial regeneration, involvement and community cohesion, creation of qualified work, development of cooperative territorial supply chains, promotion of made in Italy, stimulation of innovation and creativity and, last but not least, enrichment of knowledge and research.

Starting up again will be extremely difficult and doing it without a plan exposes you to enormous risk.
Today we need a pact that involves and empowers all actors, including universities, to be a pact for business and work that looks to the future.Ripartire sarà estremamente difficile e farlo senza un piano espone a un rischio enorme.

 


All contributions from forum participants are available on theARTRIBUNE website.

Foto Filip Kominik, Unsplash

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The data controller of the data collected on the page https://www.corporate.coopculture.it is Società Cooperativa Culture, Corso del Popolo 40 - 30172 Venezia Mestre (VE). The processing of the data provided (name, e-mail address, etc.) will be aimed at providing the newsletter service regarding CoopCulture initiatives, projects and activities.

The data will not be communicated and / or disclosed to third parties. The provision of data is optional but necessary for providing the newsletter service. Data retention will be carried out by the owner until the service is revoked by the interested party or until the service is terminated. The interested party has the right to access the data, to correct them, delete them and limit their processing for legitimate reasons. For the exercise of these rights, the interested party may contact the following reference: culturenews@coopculture.it

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