Tools for Culture is active in the fields of cultural management research, education, and training. Our mission is to provide cultural professionals and young graduates insights and tools to make culture a driving force behind social and economic development in coming years.

The multidisciplinary and innovative approach is led by internationally renowned experts and practitioners, who adopt an integrated view of the cultural phenomena and mechanisms in order to explore themes such as the complexity of the sector and the ways in which the creation, development and dissemination of culture are linked to the local, regional and global economy.

Tools for Culture is part of the Monti&Taft Group, leader in assessment, consultancy, development, and management services for the arts and cultural sectors.
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by Yannis Ioannidis,Olivier Balet, Dimitrios Pandermalis | The Guardian



The Night at the Museum is a children’s picture book by Milan Trenc – later, a Hollywood blockbuster – that told the story of a New York museum nightwatchman discovering, to his horror, that at night the building’s exhibits came to life. The basic premise of the story, however far-fetched, is that this dusty museum suddenly became even more interesting if the exhibits were telling their own story, although it did still involve being chased by a Tyrannosaurus Rex.

Museums around the world today face the challenge of increasing and maintaining visitor numbers, especially with younger audiences. A fall in visitors is seen by most as a negative outcome, both financially and in terms of wider social and educational impact. It can happen due to a range of factors, but one of the most important is that museums can often find themselves competing with the products of the entertainment industry, which at its heart is in the business of telling a good story.

Don’t get us wrong, storytelling is certainly not absent from museums. It’s one of the most important factors behind the emergence of the so-called new museology doctrine, which brought storytelling to the forefront of the museum experience through audio guides, video and by placing more emphasis on thematic organisation and different perspectives, such as varying cultural interpretations.

Taking this trend further is the emergence of interactive digital storytelling, which combines participation with automatic story generation and narration to focus in on making storytelling more personal and mobile. It’s edutainment – something that both educates and entertains for a more engaging, adaptive and fundamentally enjoyable visitor experience.

One of the most successful real world uses of interactive digital storytelling is augmented reality (AR), such as that employed to great effect at the British Museum. The technology transformed the museum experience for a child into a story puzzle using a dedicated tablet app. The app sets up a game, A Gift for Athena, which rewards the visitor for finding certain statues from their outlines by telling them more about the exhibit and directing them into the next stage of the game.

The EU-funded Chess project (a shorter name for the much longer Cultural Heritage Experiences through Socio-personal interactions and Storytelling) takes digital storytelling much further and plans to make interactive content such as games and augmented reality available to the entire museum sector.

The project relies on visitor profiling, matching visitors to pre-determined “personas” – which are designed as a representative description of the various people that constitute a given museum’s visitor base. These are created through data from surveys, visitor studies and ethnographic observations. A given visitor is matched initially through a visitor survey to one of several representative personas, which in turn influences fundamentally the experience delivered by the Chess system.

Doing this makes the visitor experience non-linear. The system constantly adapts to a visitor’s preferences. For example, if a visitor fails in a game or stays longer in front of certain artefacts, the system can adapt the storyline. It makes the experience more dynamic and relevant, so instead of sending the visitor to X exhibit, the system might instead choose to send you to Y exhibit, where you will get more information that’s relevant to what you’ve shown an interest in.

Interactive tours can be created by the museum curators themselves rather than by IT programmers. It gives museums the chance to constantly create new experiences to try to get people to visit more than once.

We’ve been testing the project at the Acropolis Museum in Athens, Greece, where the team used the technology to bring a collection of architectural and sculptural remains to life by using AR to restore colours and lost features. Similarly, at the Cité de l’Espace in Toulouse, France, the project has been used to bring space flight and the layout of the universe to life.

Our next step is to commercialise the Chess project via an app and alongside the results of other EU cultural heritage projects, it will hopefully constitute an important step in implementing the digital agenda for Europe.

Storytelling is at the heart of an engaging experience and this is a recognition that has been at the core of many a successful museum over the past decade. Hopefully, as projects such as ours come closer to final development, we will see a continued digital renaissance in the European museum sector, making our cultural past interesting, engaging and relevant for the visitor of the future.

by Yvonne Cawkwell | The Guardian



Last month, Oxford Aspire hosted its second annual What’s in Store conference, focused on improving income in museum and heritage shops. This free session sold out immediately with a large waiting list, which aside from being great for the conference also revealed the appetite of smaller museum and heritage shops to share experiences and gain knowledge. With cuts across the sector board, commercial activities have become increasingly important for arts, culture and heritage.

As delegates arrived, the lively chatter of retailers filled the lecture theatre. It’s a sound that always warms my heart, and isn’t always what you hear when you’re talking hard business in the heritage sector. If retail is in your blood, making an income is a consequence of doing your job properly – it’s what you do. (Soft) selling is part of a service; it’s about creating sustainable and ethical businesses that enhance the visitor experience.

So I took to the stand to talk about some of the tools that can be used to generate more income and increase the professional profile of smaller museum shops. But who am I?

My career started 30 years ago with the Marks & Spencer graduate scheme, which provided a strict regime of understanding numbers, retail spaces, products and customer service. At the time it seemed like boot camp, but it provided a lifelong understanding of how retail worked. I then moved to Burton group’s buying and merchandising departments, working in ladies’ knitwear and men’s accessories (did you know men’s boxer shorts came into existence only in the 80s?) before a move into supply, product design and development.

I’ve travelled extensively throughout the Far East in the early days of manufacturing and spent time in the US and Europe with some of the key designers who would influence the current markets. But how has this background helped me in my current role, where the numbers are much smaller yet the stakes more important?

First, I believe it’s essential to establish a simple infrastructure to understand the numbers. By using demographic data about your visitors – and most smaller institutions don’t have this data on their retail customers – your current and historical sales can tell you everything about your consumers that you need to know: average transaction values, best sellers, price points, colours and designs. The numbers also highlight the gaps and provide solutions and formulas for filling them.

The two museum shops I manage have very different spaces, turnovers and customer profiles. For each shop, in order to understand their individual trading patterns, we utilise the analysis tools that larger retail organisations use. This includes WSSI (weekly sales stock and intake), a system used to plan and monitor sales and stock on a weekly basis; OTB (open to buy), a method of planning and controlling retail inventory; and range planning documents. You can download a sample of these documents from our resources page.

The numbers then give you hard evidence to talk to stakeholders; you’ve created an easy-to-understand language that shows how your business is performing financially, and provides the figures for buying and budget presentation.

Armed with your figures, the next key stage is how you apply this strategy to product development. This, for me, has to be the second most essential factor. My time with designers and high street stores confirmed that this is the only way to keep any retail business fresh and sustainable. All of our venues are unique: they themselves are their own brands, their own unique selling points; they sit in the very objects and nature of their collections.

The public visits heritage sites more than any other time in this century. We can and should capitalise on this. It used to be that you could develop own-brand lines only if you could place volume quantities, but with digital technology and greater supplier flexibility you can now buy 50 or 100 of most types of product or test lines, then back them up quickly when they work.

The Oxford University Museum of Natural History reopened to the public on 15 February this year, and 40,000 visitors walked through the doors in the first 10 days. Visitor numbers, sales numbers and income broke all records. How did we plan? We used the numbers to forecast, and now the real development starts.

Professional retailing in the heritage sector is still young in most of the smaller sites. But by applying just a few of the fundamentals, you can evaluate where you are now and develop a vision for not only maximising income potential but also enhancing the unique ethos of your venue.




Un linguaggio semplice e comprensibile, che aiuti a comunicare i prodotti e il patrimonio esistente, facendo emergere la storia che ne sta alle spalle, rimanendo legati al territorio e vincendo la diffidenza verso le nuove tecnologie e la comunicazione digitale.

Se esistesse una ricetta per rilanciare il brand culturale Italia nel mondo sarebbe probabilmente questa, almeno secondo il parterre di interlocutori che questa mattina hanno dialogato sul tema, nell’ambito del Forum della Comunicazione.

Emma Aru di Studio Ega, Stefano Cigarini di Ferrari, Marco De Guzzis di Editalia, Simona Panseri di Google, Maurizio Salvi di MCS Crociere e Simone Tani del Comune di Firenze hanno individuato alcune leve comuni per riuscire nell’intento, condividendo la necessaria base, vale a dire l’eccellenza, il prodotto di qualità, ma anche la promozione attraverso il racconto con linguaggio moderno e sinergie a livello Paese.

"Bisogna ragionare per cluster - ha spiegato Stefano Cigarini -, superando le suddivisioni geografiche ed è una cosa che vale sia per il turismo che per l’impresa. L’Italia è un paese di campanili, sarebbe antistorico dire il contrario. Ma manca la visione dall’alto; significa avere una visione organica, per forza centrale, poi le declinazioni possono anche essere locali”.
Di necessità di “linguaggio semplice e non legato al singolo territorio” ha parlato anche Emma Aru - portando la propria esperienza con il turismo congressuale, dove si “vende efficacia ed efficienza” e dove l’Italia sconta la mancanza di “centri congressi adeguati” - e soprattutto Simone Tani perché ha fatto notare, spesso “la comunicazione dell’industria culturale è fatta da accademici e storici che non hanno capacità di comunicare”. Lo stesso Tani ha richiamato l’opportunità, di "sostenere un’organicità complessiva" nell’offerta culturale e turistica, della cui cura hanno il compito le Amministrazioni che, ha chiarito, “hanno tutte le possibilità di operare sul territorio”.

Mentre Maurizio Salvi ha poi posto l’accento sulla qualità dei prodotti, senza la quale non si va da nessuna parte, Simona Panseri ha sottolineato la necessità di “farsi trovare”, superando il preconcetto verso la comunicazione web: “la difficoltà - ha spiegato - sta nella convinzione che soltanto la presenza fisica in bottega possa spiegare cosa si faccia.
Non è così: si tratta di valori che si possono promuovere attraverso Internet, ma manca ancora la capacita’ di capire come utilizzare questi strumenti. Non è detto - ha aggiunto - che un artigiano debba avere sito, puo’ bastare essere nelle mappe. Di servizi ne esistono molti e abbiamo molti esempi di come queste cose funzionino”.

Marco De Guzzis ha, invece, rilevato il “ritardo culturale da parte operatori nel superare alcune barriere, nel trovare forme e modi aggregazione e introdurre rapporto diverso con istituzioni e tecnologie”.
Anche l’ad di Editalia ha sottolineato la rigidità con cui si stabilisce “che solo vivendo in bottega si può capire il fascino di una creazione d’arte. Ma se si vuole diventare globali - ha aggiunto - ci si deve misurare con questo”.
Secondo De Guzzis, inoltre, le piccole realtà artistiche artigianali scontano anche una difficoltà legata alla “natura dimensionale”.


Si terrà il 17 e il 18 maggio presso la straordinaria sede dei Frigoriferi Milanesi, l’edizione 2014 di SAM master class, la due giorni dedicata a studenti, appassionati, operatori e manager culturali che desiderano trascorrere un weekend all’insegna della cultura, della formazione e della condivisione delle idee imprenditoriali.

Strategic Arts management master class è stata ideata proprio per rispondere all’esigenza  di una formazione continua e di un confronto costruttivo nell’ambito culturale, elementi fondamentali per il rinnovamento delle idee e approcci necessario per uscire dalla stagnazione attuale. A partire dal piccolo, dalle gocce, da quello che potrebbe essere il tuo progetto.

Perché SAM è un corso diverso dagli altri? Ecco 5 buoni motivi per cui non partecipare sarebbe davvero un peccato!

1) Si condividono idee sulla cultura
Per crescere professionalmente è fondamentale condividere, discutere e ragionare insieme. Crediamo fermamente che potrai trarre benefici sia dai progetti e idee altrui che dalle tue analizzate da molteplici prospettive. Ogni partecipante e insegnante si mette in gioco durante la master class e propone alternative, suggerisce consigli e si confronta con modi di pensare differenti!

2) Si impara a coltivare il talento
Amplierai la tua capacità di pensiero creativo e di problem solving con il metodo dell’action learning, diventando consapevole del tuo livello di conoscenza e delle informazioni realmente disponibili! Tutti noi abbiamo del talento. Alcune volte, basta solo innescare il meccanismo giusto per farlo esplodere!

3) Si fa networking
I contatti sono ciò che conta nel 2014! E noi di SAM lo sappiamo. Ecco perché abbiamo moltiplicato le occasioni di incontro! SAM master class è un’opportunità unica per creare un nuovo network tra progettisti culturali, esperti e organizzazioni del sistema dell’arte. Con il networking starter, le educational visit, i networking lunch, avrai modo di parlare in modo informale dei tuoi progetti e delle tue capacità. Senza fronzoli, senza peli sulla lingua.

4) It’s all inclusive!
Nelle due giornate sarai immerso in dibattiti incentrati su temi caldi e sui trend del momento nel campo del management delle arti e della cultura. Concentrati su ciò che è importante.. al resto ci pensiamo noi!
5) Last, but not least…ci si diverte!
L’approccio alla SAM master class è professionale ma non accademico. E’ per questo che il clima dei nostri corsi è sempre informale e rilassato. Chiacchiera e rilassati durante i coffee break, il networking lunch o l’aperitivo. Noi saremo sempre al tuo fianco per scongiurare ogni difficoltà!

Per tutte le informazioni consulta il sito      

El Blog de La Magnetica

After an intense week, the #museumweek initiative finally came to an end last Sunday. With more than 180.000 tweets, there have been a lot of people taking part of it, including more than 40.000 users and 600 museums

During these days we have been collecting almost all the tweets published with the #museumweek hashtag. From the afternoon of March the 23rd until March the 30th we gathered and analyzed 165.444 posts (representing the 92% of the published tweets[1]), from 40.575 users.

Now we want to go into detail in the analysis of the relationships between the different profiles who are taking part of the action, like we did in our previous post. That one included data from the first three days. If we take into consideration all those profiles who have published a tweet with the hashtag #museumweek and we link them with users who have mentioned another Twitter user or that have been mentioned by another profile, we get as a result the following network[2]:

And also 3.610 much smaller networks (components) not conected to the main one. This major component has the 97,5% of the tweets and about the 88% of users. It also contains those users who have been more active (we have erased some spammers), and almost every museum. We’ll focus our analysis on the main component, as we usually do on Social Network Analysis when there is such a giant component like this one.. The resulting network is much neater and clear:

As it happened in the analysis of the first three days, we cannot depict the whole graph and keeping it useful and readable at the same time. It’s too big. So we trim the less relevant information and we keep the most active users as the core.

It is still a very large graph, but it renders enough detail and structure to be used as an analytic tool. To make it clearer we have made some changes in the visual rendering from our previous week post, moving some key players to the edge of their country community in order to reduce the number of crossing links.

The colors in the graph represent the community structure, the groups that have a strong interaction among its members and a lower one with the profiles out of the community. In technical jargon this is called modularity. The interesting point is that the community structure mimics almost perfectly the country structure. This is the same thing as saying that the Twitter talk has taken place mainly inside countries and that mentions between twitter users of different countries, although it is the key to understand the overall graph structure, have been a minority.

It is normal that users group themselves by countries, taking into consideration that this initiative is based on the interaction between users and museums in different languages.

Compared to the different geographic communities that we showed in our previous post, we can observe how the Italian museums are increasing both in volume and relevance (the diameter of each circle is proportional to the mentions sent and received). Although it is going to be easier to confirm this fact in the relevance ranks, we can see that museums like Palazzo Madama from Torino, the Piccoli Musei da Roma or also Centre Pompidou from Paris have risen in the ranking.

The following image zooms into the Italian group, the one that has experienced the biggest change since our last analysis:


Results indicate that each one of the participants have published, on average, 4 tweets with the hashtag #museumweek. That includes museums, which in some cases have published hundreds of tweets, and users who have interacted with them with a lower average.

This fact makes us wonder how to evaluate users’ satisfaction in an initiative like this one. If the average were much higher, we could evaluate it from users’ behavior and not from what they say about the #museumweek.

But with an average so low we cannot do it. Of course, this is not the same as saying that the results are not satisfactory. It is just that in a so widespread action with few repeating users within this week, we cannot deduce satisfaction from their repeated behavior.

It would be great that someone –Twitter expert? Some data mining student?- dared to perform a semantic analysis to asses users’ satisfaction. Such a semantic analysis is not easy to do as #museumweek corpus of tweets involves several different languages. An alternative approach would be to extract a random sample of the 40.000 users involved in the list, and ask them through Twitter.

For sure the result would give us some tips on how to improve a second edition.


Another useful approach to better understand #museumweek is to analyze the distance between two users ( that is, the number of links that connect each other through the shortest path).

The average distance of this graph is 5,6, and It’s really interesting to see that there is almost no change since our last analysis (5,5), although the global network has more than 11.000 new users. This means that the main profiles (museums and most active people) have created a strong network of interactions between them, and that when a new user joins the conversation, it only needs to interact with one of them to fit into the main frame. The maximum distance that we can find between two profiles (graph’s diameter) is 15 links, and this has not increased either.

We won’t go into details, but we can take some conclusions from those facts:

  • When a user contacts a museum in #museumweek, the network facilitates the user to become aware of the presence of other museums which he had no previously knowledge. And it also helps to make it easier to interact with these “new” museums.
  • The structure also shows a great potential to expand its user base, incorporating more people to the conversation in a future edition without dispersing them into islands barely connected the ones with the others.

This fact offers a positive assessment of the results obtained in this first edition, and the potential for the years to come.


As we did in our previous article, we will show you now two different relevance ranks: ranking of profiles with more mentions received and ranking by centrality (that measures the degree of connection of a profile with the net).

Ranking by mentions received:

Ranking by centrality:

Other reviews to read about #museumweek:
Here you have a sum up post from Mar Dixon:
Some beautiful infographics:

In the following days we will publish more posts delving in the results from Spain and Italy.

by Adam Toren| Entrepreneur

A business plan is essential for every entrepreneur, but if it’s your first time approaching one, it can feel daunting. Business owners will argue both sides of the coin when it comes to how long a plan should be, but usually a one-page business plan can cover all your needs at the beginning and get you organized enough to get started.

Don’t worry — you can’t go wrong starting with a one-page plan and adding onto it from there. As your business grows (and if you ever need capital) you’ll certainly add to it down the road. Just remember that right now, the worst business plan is the one you never bother to write. Don’t let analysis paralysis keep you from getting started.

Here are five easy steps to a one-page business plan:

1. Start with your vision. Begin the plan by thinking of the end. You have to communicate up front where you want to go with your business to set the tone for your plan. Do you want to grow this business to sell? Do you want the business to be a legacy that will last your lifetime? What’s the big vision for the end goal? It’s important to start with the end in mind. Your vision should summarize that well.

2. Formalize your mission statement. You know what your vision is, now you need to describe what you’re going to do to accomplish that vision in a brief, accessible way. This is the statement that you’ll want to display somewhere you (and your staff, if you have one) can see to remind yourself why you’re doing what you’re doing every day.

3. List your objectives. Think of your objectives as the bullet points of deliverables you plan to achieve. For example, “dominate at least 10 percent of the market of my niche by 2016,” or HR objectives such as “hire one full-time graphic designer by year’s end.” These should be the big goals you want to achieve with a timeframe attached to them.

4. Form your strategies. Your strategies describe how you plan to achieve your objectives. What’s the marketing plan? Sales strategy? Will you devote your time to research and development? What are the overarching strategies you will follow to achieve your objectives?

5. Create an action plan. You have the objective, you’ve decided on a strategy, now what actionable steps will you take to make sure your business maintains the momentum to achieve your objectives and reach the manifestation of your big vision? These should be short-term actions and daily tasks — things that you can start doing now to work toward the end goal.

Tackling a business plan can be challenging, but it doesn’t have to be overly complicated. Simplify the process and start today by following these five easy steps to a one-page business plan.

by Emanuela Gasca | Il Giornale delle Fondazioni

Roma. «Cultura motore dello sviluppo» non è solo un auspicio per i prossimi anni, ma il titolo di un’importante studio del Centro Studi Confindustria – CSC - che è stato presentato lo scorso dicembre a Roma e che porta avanti la riflessione già sviluppata dal rapporto del 2011 «Esportare la Dolce Vita» (Centro Studi Confindustria, Prometeia, 2011) relativo al posizionamento competitivo del nostro Paese nei settori chiave del made in Italy.
Affrontando un tema molto attuale, all’interno del rapporto che si intitola appunto «La difficile ripresa. Cultura motore dello sviluppo», il CSC «indaga la forte relazione tra cultura ed economia in relazione al fatto che essa rappresenti un’enorme occasione per il rilancio del Paese» (Confindustria Centro Studi, 2013).
Grazie al patrimonio culturale e alle produzioni creative che possono avere molteplici ricadute industriali, si possono infatti innescare collaborazione tra soggetti pubblici, che tutelano i beni collettivi, e i privati attrezzati a rendere quei beni a beneficio di tutti.
All’interno della presentazione dello studio, Luca Paolazzi, Direttore del CSC, introduce il tema con il termine «ricostruzione» che dovrebbe seguire al periodo di crisi che sta caratterizzando l’Italia nella convinzione che esista una «vitalità culturale» da valorizzare. La visione dei beni culturali come giacimento - che vede l’Italia al primo posto per siti iscritti alla World Heritage List dell’UNESCO - , infatti, non deve solo essere legata solamente alla loro fruizione turistica ma anche e soprattutto alla possibilità di generare, attraverso le industrie culturali e creative, conoscenza e talenti. Questi ultimi si trasformano, attraverso l’attività di impresa, in reddito, occupazione e valore economico, tema molto discusso nella letteratura culturale ed estimativa ma quanto mai attuale.
«Il CSC ha dedicato l’ultimo approfondimento al tema della cultura come motore di sviluppo perché è evidente – spiega Paolazzi – che occorre ripartire dalla fonte della conoscenza e della creatività per far sì che l’Italia possa continuare a competere sui mercati globali, generare reddito e occupazione. Beni culturali, turismo, manifattura trovano sintesi nella capacità di rielaborare il passato in chiave di unicità che genera valore; questo significa innovare. Il patrimonio artistico deve essere qualcosa di vivo, altrimenti produce una cultura della rendita che soffoca le nuove iniziative».
Con questa premessa lo studio, avvallato da riferimenti alla letteratura scientifica e dati statistici provenienti da enti ed istituzioni di annoverata esperienza e titolarità, indaga i valori intrinseci presenti nel binomio «cultura e sviluppo» proponendo in conclusione alcuni indirizzi per le future politiche culturali.
La cultura è innanzitutto comportamento, legata cioè ai valori di una comunità, alla qualità delle istituzioni formali (leggi, tribunali, servizi educativi, ecc…) e alle variabili economiche. Tutti questi elementi non sono immutabili e interagiscono con lo sviluppo stesso.
La cultura è anche fonte di benessere in quanto la possibilità di avere accesso alla musica, alla letteratura e alle arti in generale può migliorare le condizioni di vita. Il patrimonio culturale costituisce infatti, insieme al paesaggio, una delle 12 dimensioni del benessere identificate da ISTAT e CNEL nella recente iniziativa «BES – Benessere Equo Sostenibile» che pone l’Italia all’avanguardia nel panorama internazionale in tema dello stato di salute di un Paese attraverso un sistema di indicatori (Consiglio Nazionale dell’Economia e del Lavoro e Istituto Nazionale di Statistica, 2013).
La cultura diventa anche elemento fondante di settori produttivi che questi ultimi ricavano dalla presenza di un forte nucleo artistico – creativo. Secondo lo studio CSC, negli ultimi tempi si sono profondamente trasformate le politiche culturali, volte non solo più a tutelare e preservare il patrimonio artistico, ma anche a rafforzare la competitività delle industrie creative e culturali e a valorizzare il loro ruolo propulsivo per l’innovazione dell’intero sistema economico. Avvallando il ragionamento di «Cultura: modello a cerchi concentrici» (Throsby, 2008), infatti, le industrie creative (come per esempio il design), a differenza dei beni culturali, producono beni che possono essere replicati, venduti ed esportati.
La cultura non è però solamente rappresentata dalle tre dimensioni precedentemente descritte ma, secondo il CSC, ha una importante componente legata alla partecipazione dei cittadini. Qualche anno fa l’Eurobarometro Europeo ha dedicato un approfondimento relativo a questo tema (Commissione Europea, 2007) registrando che l’88% degli italiani considera la cultura importante seppur partecipando poco alle attività artistiche e culturali. In particolare, se ci si concentra sulla percentuale di intervistati che, almeno una volta nell’ultimo anno, hanno visitato un museo (CSC, 2013), emerge che solo il 41% degli italiani si è recato presso un sito storico, a differenza per esempio del 71% degli olandesi o del 65% dei britannici. Le cause del fenomeno sono da ricercarsi anche nella mancanza di tempo (33%), nello scarso interesse (32%) e soprattutto nella crisi economica, elemento preponderante nel confronto tra performance economica e variazioni nella partecipazione culturale nel periodo 2007 – 2013. La scarsa partecipazione dei cittadini alla cultura emerge anche dalle statistiche che riguardano il grado di istruzione in materie artistiche. In Italia si dedicano circa 390 ore all’anno all’insegnamento dell’educazione artistica nei primi due gradi di istruzione, circa la metà rispetto a Francia (760 ore) e Germania (750 ore) (CSC; 2013).
Per quanto riguarda invece i consumi culturali l’Italia è al 18esimo posto nella diffusione dei quotidiani, al V posto per quanto riguarda l’offerta e la domanda nel settore cinematografico, al IV posto per le vendite nel mercato della musica. Dal punto di vista del settore enogastronomico è però leader nel 2013 per le denominazioni DOP e IGP (265 per prodotti agricoli e 605 per i vini), seguita da Francia, Spagna e Germania.
Ultima, ma non per importanza, è l’accezione che lega la cultura al patrimonio del nostro Paese. Numerosi studi avvallano questa tesi: in termini numerici, per esempio, secondo il MiBACT nel 2012 sono 3.609 i musei statali italiani (il doppio di quelli spagnoli e tre volte quelli francesi); a livello qualitativo, invece, il Country Brand Index (Future Brand, 2013) vede l’Italia al primo posto nella dimensione «cultura e patrimonio», ed in particolare nelle categorie «arte e cultura» e «storia».
Ma quanto pesa la cultura per l’economia italiana? Nel 2011 il complesso del sistema produttivo culturale rappresentava in Italia il 5,6% del valore aggiunto totale, pari a 78,8 miliardi di Euro. Il dato è inferiore solo a quello della Gran Bretagna anche se si evidenziano a livello internazionale alcune differenze per quanto riguarda i diversi settori (elaborazioni CSC 2013 su dati Eurostat): in Italia, rispetto agli altri Stati, pesano molto le industrie creative (2,2%) grazie per esempio ai settori dell’abbigliamento ma anche ad altri comparti a forte contenuto creativo come le lavorazioni artistiche del vetro, ceramica o marmo in cui il valore aggiunto aggregato rappresenta il 34,1% di quello prodotto dall’intera UE. In Italia sono però basse le percentuali relative alle industrie culturali (2,8%) e al nucleo artistico – culturale (0,6%) che, se considerato solo per le sue componenti delle arti visive e performative, fa scendere l’Italia agli ultimi posti.
Non dimentichiamo però che dal 2008 al 2011 a causa della crisi, il peso dei settori creativi e culturali è diminuito in tutti i paesi.
Una situazione simile si verifica per quanto riguarda l’occupazione: nel 2012 il settore cultura nel suo complesso ha impiegato in Italia il 5,9% degli occupati, mentre le industrie creative hanno dato luogo al maggiore assorbimento occupazionale, con il 47,3% del totale (643mila occupati), contro il 42,7% (581mila) delle industrie culturali e il 10,0% (137mila) del nucleo artistico - culturale.
Per analizzare la competitività internazionale delle industrie culturali e creative, altro aspetto importante è quello dell’analisi del valore delle esportazioni che ha rivelato che il sistema cultura è più orientato alle vendite all’estero rispetto alla media del resto dell’economia.
In conclusione, il Centro Studi Confindustria sostiene che è fondamentale «comprendere che le frecce a disposizione dell’arco delle politiche culturali sono molte di più rispetto a quando il loro orizzonte d’azione era limitato alla tutela del patrimonio storico e alla promozione delle arti creative» e riguardano oggi una molteplicità di obiettivi ed attori. Questi ultimi non sono solo più rappresentati dagli enti pubblici nazionali e locali che si sono occupati fino ad oggi della tutela e della valorizzazione, ma da un’ampia platea di soggetti che deve coinvolgere oggi anche gli stakeholders interessati alla creazione di nuovi contenuti culturali: tra questi le imprese commerciali, le industrie creative, le istituzioni pubbliche culturali e le organizzazioni non profit come le fondazioni che operano in ambito molto vicini alle arti e ai servizi legati al patrimonio storico.
In questo contesto strumenti tradizionali e nuovi dovrebbero essere valorizzati per il perseguimento di efficienti politiche culturali. I primi potrebbero essere ricercati attraverso: apertura alle imprese alla governance delle istituzioni culturali sul modello della délégation de service public francese attraverso il processo per cui il sistema pubblico affida in assoluta trasparenza la gestione dei beni culturali ai privati attraverso bandi di gara; valorizzazione dei magazzini dei musei; il rafforzamento dell’orario di storia dell’arte nelle scuole; l’intervento dei privati nel nucleo della cultura che potrebbe avere esternalità positive molto rilevanti.
Tra i nuovi strumenti delle politiche culturali rientrano invece, secondo il CSC, quelli che le avvicinano alle politiche industriali e che hanno come obiettivo il miglioramento della competitività delle industrie culturali e creative. Tra questi la tutela della proprietà intellettuale, presupposto fondamentale per valorizzare i prodotti delle industrie culturali;l’apertura e la promozione internazionale del patrimonio storico – artistico italiano e del nostro made in Italy; lo sviluppo dell’Agenda Digitale Italianache contiene ancora pochi riferimenti all’industria culturale e creativa; la riscoperta della centralità dell’industria manifatturieraper lo sviluppo economico che nel nostro Paese vede protagonista l’artigianato industriale che fonde il “saper fare” italiano con il patrimonio, l’arte e il talento in cui è inserito.
Cultura e creatività devono quindi diventare le leve propulsive per l’Italia al fine di rivedere questi due concetti in termini di valore economico e sviluppo del Paese.
Il rapporto è visionabile on line sul sito del Centro Studi Confindustria.

Bibliografia essenziale
Commissione Europea (2013), Cultural access and participation, Special Barometer 399.
Commissione Europea (2007), European Cultural Values, Special Barometer 278.
Centro Studi Confindustria (2013), Scenari Economici. La difficile Ripresa, Editore SIPI S.p.A., Roma n. 19, dicembre 2013.
Centro Studi Confindustria, Prometeia (2011), Esportare la Dolce Vita. Il bello e il ben fatto italiano alle prese con i nuovi mercati, Roma. Disponibile on line:
Consiglio Nazionale dell’Economia e del Lavoro, Istituto Nazionale di Statistica (2013), Il benessere equo e sostenibile in Italia, Roma.
Future Brand (2013), Country Brand Index 2012 – 2013,
E. Gasca (2013), Creatività e Cultura. Patrimonio intangibile e buone pratiche nei paesi in via di sviluppo, in “Il Giornale dell’Arte/Fondazioni”, edito da Il Giornale dell’Arte, Società Editrice Umberto Allemandi & C. spa, Torino. Disponibile on line:
L. Paolazzi (2013), La difficile Ripresa. Cultura motore dello Sviluppo, Roma, 19 dicembre 2013.
D. Throsby (2008), The Economics of Cultural Policy, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.

Sitografia essenziale
BES – Benessere Equo Sostenibile:
Centro Studi Confindustria:
Eurobarimeter – European Commission:
The Future Brand Country Brand Index:
World Heritage List – UNESCO:

Fonte dell’immagine: Centro Studi Confindustria

Abhay Adhikari | The Guardian

Data allows arts and culture organisations to become more playful and intuitive. Photograph: Felix Clay

Whether it’s big, open or closed, data in the culture sector is perceived by and large as ticket sales, audience numbers and visitor footfall. However, we need to be thinking about data differently, and the positive impact it can have. I’d like to propose four ways in which we can do this.

All the examples mentioned below were presented at Culture In Numbers, an event hosted by Leeds Data Mill in February. The day was dedicated to projects, ideas and experiments by museums, arts organisations and practitioners who are using data to create real change.

Data can help museums encourage discovery and learning

Museums have a significant amount of reusable data about their collections, and this information can be combined with other sources to encourage discovery and learning. It’s an approach best illustrated by V&A’s Digital Map, launched in September 2013.

Andrew Lewis, digital content delivery manager, explained how the map, which is based on insight into visitor behaviour, combines collection data with real time information about events in the physical spaces of the museum, as well as information about essential facilities. This clever use of data from multiple sources is a great way to tell new stories about collections; it’s also an opportunity for both virtual and physical audiences to discover objects on their own terms. The map is a great example of how museums can embrace emerging digital trends in a multi-channel, multi-device world.

Data can help showcase impact

Open data presents an opportunity to create evidence-based stories that can highlight the scale and impact of an arts organisation, making it a useful strategic resource.

Northern Ballet, for example, which performs to an audience of over 120,000 across the world, is pooling data about its operations with other dance organisations to create visualisations. These highlight the unique contribution the organisation makes, from the quality of cultural engagement to local job opportunities.

Laraine Penson, director of communications at Northern Ballet, said these maps are an accessible way of introducing data to show how Leeds compares with other regions. They also tell a story of Leeds as a city of dance, and how it connects to the rest of the world.

Data offers new approaches to solving problems

Combining data from different sources can help solve problems in new ways. This was the thinking behind Curator Space, a project management toolkit for curators, event organisers, galleries and artists. Co-founder Louise Atkinson explained that the aim was to create a framework that uses data to streamline workflow in order to save time and resources.

In the long term, the platform will also integrate with other open data sources to increase knowledge sharing across the arts, as well as increase access to opportunities. Atkinson offered a number of scenarios to explain how this could work. For example, Curator Space could link with OpenStreetMap (a free, editable map of the whole world) to help independent artists find venues to exhibit their work.

Data allows you to be playful and intuitive

Data can also be used within a more familiar context: social media metrics. This data can offer unique insights and in the process create new ways of working, as well as new forms of storytelling that allow cultural institutions to develop new models of participation with audiences online.

Museum Selfie day is a great example of this approach. Mar Dixon, independent museum practitioner and the project’s developer, explained how she launched the initiative on Twitter with an open brief – take a selfie in a museum – and watched it develop into an event with a global profile. The metrics from the day showed what worked and what didn’t, and Dixon plans to use this learning to continue to experiment with new forms of engagement that begin from a playful and intuitive space.

So, where does one begin? Big and open data are emerging concepts and it can be difficult to grasp their application and benefits. These examples show how data can help create new and evidence based stories. Another way to understand the significance of data is that in the long term, data from different sources can be used to build an accurate picture, which can be used to make better choices and smarter decisions about resources.

To get to that point we need a lot more data from many different resources. In some cases the data is already there, but there are several issues that need to be addressed. This includes data protection as well as the collection and quality of data. Alongside this development we also need to make data more accessible to people and create a critical mass of organisations that are comfortable talking about culture in numbers.

by Ulla-Alexandra Mattl |

Christa Meindersma has been director of the Prince Claus Fund since 2011. She is an international lawyer with extensive experience in Asia, Africa and Europe and a passion for art and culture. Previously, Christa worked as deputy coordinator of the Task Force Sudan of the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs and negotiator and senior political advisor for the United Nations, in East-Timor, Indonesia, Nigeria, Cameroon, Kosovo, Darfur, Nepal, DR Congo, Sudan and New York. Christa is member of the Advisory Council of the Prince Claus Conservatory and School of Performing Arts.

The Prince Claus Fund initiates and supports activities in the field of culture and development and works in cooperation with individuals and organisations, mainly in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean and is a platform for intercultural exchange.

At the 6th World Summit on Arts and Culture in Santiago de Chile on 13-16 January 2014 Christa was a panellist of the session “Cultural heritage at risk: protection and reconstruction post-disaster” where she gave examples of successful interventions and described some of the challenges her organisation faces on a daily basis.

In an interview during the World Summit she shared details about her work in Asia as part of the Cultural Emergency Response Programme (CER). The programme, which was founded in 2003, provides quick help to evacuate, stabilise or rescue cultural heritage under imminent threat of destruction or damaged by man-made disasters, natural disasters or conflict. The programme has now been running for more than 10 years with emergency interventions in 54 countries.

Can you tell us about the places where the Prince Claus Fund has been active in Asia?

“We have done quite a lot of work in Indonesia but also in the whole Himalaya region (Bhutan, Nepal and Sikkim in India) which has been affected by earthquakes in recent years. We have done work in India, in Pakistan, in Thailand, many different countries.”

How is your work in Asia different to your initiatives in other parts of the world?

“We can’t say that any of this work is specific to Asia because each country is very different and has its specific situations. The whole Himalaya region for example is a seismically very active region with earthquakes. What we find is that we have to deal with similar issues in the different communities after a disaster. For example, in many communities in the Himalayas traditional buildings were affected. The question people were looking at was how to rebuild in a traditional way and how to restore the buildings in a way that they were more resistant; they are looking at the incorporation of new technologies in very traditional buildings. The other issue that came up in different places was a lack of skills, in particular traditional buildings skills, and knowledge about how to build and restore the traditional buildings; carpentry, masonry, and all the details of the buildings. In some cases older craftsman were found to teach young people and they helped with the work that was carried out. We also find that often not only buildings but also murals are affected like for example in Bhutan. We have also been working on murals in Thailand and on temple structures all across the region.”

So you mainly work with saving and restoring built heritage?

“No, buildings and murals are not the only things that communities like to save after a natural disaster. We also see that they like to save instruments, for instance in Burma after cyclone Nargis in 2008. We received requests to support the rebuilding of particular instruments and also the teaching of the skills needed for this. The instruments are used to accompany a puppet theatre and the communities were anxious to not lose the traditions around the puppet theatre. After earthquakes or floods people also very often want to save archives – photo archives and documentary archives. Therefore, the concept of heritage we work with is very broad.”

Do you see any specific mentality in Asia towards saving or not saving heritage, for instance traditional or colonial buildings or heritage?

“This depends very much on the community. In some communities there is a very strong awareness of wanting to keep certain buildings or the use of certain traditional building methods. Very often after a disaster there is a discussion of various groups or members of the same community. For instance in Bhutan, when we visited one of the temples which had been very badly affected, the community itself, the craftsmen, the leader of the monastery and the local authority had very different views on what should be done. Some wanted to tear it all down, some wanted to keep the traditional building style; because it constitutes the soul of the building, it would get lost if one replaces the traditional structure with a concrete structure. There are many issues engulfed in those discussions but it is very interesting to see those discussions taking place. There are also situations when an authority may just demolish certain buildings, in particularly after a natural disaster, while the community would have liked to save them. In China people are moved out of the houses which are then demolished although the people say no damage was done. And the temple [in Bhutan] was saved because the community wanted to save it and was able to find ways to make it happen.”

What more lies behind the will to save or not save an affected structure?

“Situations are very different but in the discussion about saving or demolishing, replacing buildings by concrete buildings, the value or price of the land can also be a crucial factor; but also concepts about modernity and concepts about what is the value of the traditional. In some communities, for example in Sikkim - in the Northeast of India, after the earthquake, a lot of buildings were torn down immediately and replaced by concrete structures, even with concrete temples placed on top of old structures.

But now there is a move among certain architects from the region to run awareness campaigns in villages to save damaged traditional structures that have not yet been torn down. Often it is also a matter of creating awareness among communities and sometimes we also get a request to support these awareness campaigns.”

With this in mind it would make sense to work on awareness campaigns in regions prone to natural disasters before the disaster actually strikes?

“We support a number of activities; one is very practical; we support trainings for disaster intervention teams in different countries which are organised together with the International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property (ICCROM) in Rome. People get trained knowing the specific context of their country. Afterwards they go back to their country and set up their own teams and train them. People are trained on how to respond if disaster strikes depending on the different context of their country, for instance flood or earthquake prone, and also the type of heritage – museums, collections or archives. In certain places disaster will strike, we know that, we just don’t know when. This is the very practical side we work with. On the other hand, as I mentioned before, we get requests to support awareness campaigns.”

Who are your partners in Asia?

“Where possible we always try to work with local partners. Sometimes the local partners work with non-local involvement but very often it is purely local. In Indonesia for example we work with the Indonesian Heritage Trust. They have around 80 local branches on the different islands and can be very fast with a damage assessment mission when something happens. Because of our ongoing collaboration they know exactly how we work and we can move very fast, which is key. We also have a very good partner in Burma who has been involved in our work for some time and has also taken part in one of the trainings in Rome. We have a very trusted partner whom we work with in the whole Himalaya region and a very trusted partner in Nepal, the Kathmandu Valley Preservation Trust (KVPT). These partners are our direct link to these countries. They are the ones who go in and do the work. In many countries we already have strong partnerships but we are of course trying to develop them further and also our networks all across the world.”

Can you identify any main challenges despite the diversity of projects you are working on?

“It is very important to listen to the communities, so that one sees how they value their heritage, what heritage they value and not to impose one’s definitions of what is a monument, what is heritage, what is valuable from the outside. It is definitely also very important for the locals to be taking the initiative and to be fully involved in the action. Creating awareness is essential, but again the campaigns that work best are local campaigns to create awareness of the value of certain heritage. For the emergency response it is important to act very quickly in order to save whatever can be saved; the investment of larger sums of money and bigger interventions will need to take place later. Initially it is important to put a roof on the building so that the murals can be saved, evacuate archives etc.”

And a last question – are there any other organisations that lead on similar programmes?

“No, we are the only one; to our great surprise. We try to convince other organisations, humanitarian organisations as well as cultural organisations to pick this up. There is much more to be done than we can do and it is also important to realise that

saving heritage, which is important to the local community in times of great distress and disaster, really helps the community to survive, to reconstruct itself in order to want to keep going; this is an extremely important component. It is about much more than just saving a structure. It really has to do with the survival of a community and giving meaning to a situation.”

Ulla-Alexandra Mattl is Director of The Castalian Pool, a not-for-profit organisation with a focus on furthering cultural and political development through projects and initiatives. She is also the EU Correspondent for the Artsmanagement Network. Ulla is specialised in cultural co-operation and cultural relations with a special interest in Asia-Europe co-operation. She holds an MA in Cultural Policy and Arts Management from City University London and an MA in Finno-Ugric Studies and French with focus on Sociolinguistic. Follow her on Twitter: @uajm and @castalianpool

Useful Links

Cultural Emergency Response (CER):
Prince Claus Fund:
6th World Summit on Arts and Culture:
Christa Meindersma:
Indonesian Hertiage Trust:
Kathmandu Valley Preservation Trust (KVPT):

Steven Libman | Arts Management Network

Is the recession really over? We hear economists and elected officials touting that “the recession has ended” and yet we all know far too many people still out of work, and for those of us in the arts, we know of too many organizations that have filed for bankruptcy or have never recovered from the recession.
It’s important to carefully read through the hype and honestly determine the status of the arts, and when we do, what we see is a landscape that is less rosy than the one painted by economists. And thus, let’s explore - is the recession really over for the arts? An article by Steven Libman, President, The Libman Group

As we all know, the Great Recession that began in 2008 was the worst economic disaster to hit America and the global economy since the Great Depression. While the Great Recession is technically over as measured by economists, millions of Americans are still out of work or have stopped searching for work and some sectors of the economy still have not recovered.

What about the arts? Clearly much of the information may be anecdotal, but a conversation with a few experts yields some comments and statistics that are worth mentioning. According to David Snead, Vice President of Marketing and Communications for the esteemed New York Philharmonic, “My short answer is the recession is over for us pretty much the same way it is over for most other sectors. Things are better than 1-3 years ago, but not back to pre-recession.“

The “not back to pre-recession” comment can signal that the landscape has changed forever for the arts community in much the same way that a natural landscape i.e. a beach, is permanently changed after a major hurricane.
Americans for the Arts has just released a major study on the National Arts Index that indicates the national arts community continues to slowly recover from the Great Recession, but is still not back to the levels attained in 2007, the year before the recession began. The study goes on to state that the arts as an industry is lagging behind the economy as a whole – the report states, “it appears that the economic recovery, which started in 2009, does not positively affect the arts sectors until 2011”. In 2007 the National Arts Index had s score of 103 and by 2011 it had dropped to 97, the lowest index score.

However, all is not lost. Economist and report co-author Dr. Roland J. Kushner of Muhlenberg College noted that “Over the years, the National Arts Index score has been tightly correlated to overall charitable giving and total employment. We’ve seen broad improvements in the economy, employment and philanthropy since 2011, all of which suggest that the arts are poised for higher Index scores in the years to come.”

Randy Cohen, co-author of the Index and vice president of research and policy at Americans for the Arts said, “Because the National Arts Index spans all of the arts industries, it serves as an arts atlas, showcasing where the industry has been, but more importantly where it can go. As such, it’s a powerful tool that can and should be used to stimulate public dialogue about how the arts can stay vital in a society that needs a healthy arts sector for its own overall vitality.”

Now, what about the possible permanent change in the landscape? Mark Nerenhausen, Director of the Janklow Arts Leadership Program at Syracuse University feels that a permanent change may have occurred. “We in the arts are desperately trying to take things back to the way they were. We are assuming that somehow one point in time was the way things were supposed to be. We fail to understand that our environment, like a coastal community, is always changing, the sands are always shifting. In our effort to get back to what was and our focus on that process, we miss out on an opportunity to create what could be.”

A simple look at the huge union issues facing the Minnesota Orchestra, Indianapolis Orchestra, San Francisco Ballet and Carnegie Hall clearly point out the desire to return to a time, a pre-recession time, when organizations were operating with greater margins, philanthropy was flourishing and annual wages could be counted upon. That may no longer be the case.
Perhaps what is needed is the equivalent of a disaster tool kit for the arts? Has the landscape changed? And some tough questions should be asked. Here are some steps to take and ideas to contemplate:

  • Are arts organizations entitled to perpetuity? Does there come a time when it’s ok to acknowledge the past accomplishments of an organization and then allow the organization to “die with dignity”?
  • Establish a process of transparency in the new economy. Communicate often and honestly with your staff, board, funders and the community.
  • Create a new paradigm – smaller boards to streamline decision making, include union leadership on boards and in the strategic planning process.
  • Learn and master branding just as companies do in the for-profit sector. And allocate the financial resource for branding.
  • Establish cash reserve funds to help sustain organizations during economic downturns.
  • Constantly measure what your audience is telling you about the art you create.
  • Never ever reduce the marketing budget during an economic downturn -that’s the plan undertaken by staff and boards that panic and not organizations that need to maintain a presence.
  • Always remain true to the mission of the organization.

And so, what is the answer to the question “Is the Great Recession over for the Arts?” It is over, sort of, kind of, but the landscape has changed. There remains a long slow climb to reach levels of success achieved before the recession. Perhaps we need to leave those previous goals behind and focus on the future by establishing new benchmarks for measuring success, because we never really will get back to where we were. We need to create a new robust future for the arts community.

by Ivana Pais | Corriere della sera I blog

Quando si parla di startup finanziate in crowdfunding si citano sempre gli stessi casi: dall’orologio Pebble che ha superato i 10 milioni di dollari alla console Ouya che ha raggiunto gli 8 milioni e mezzo. Cifre record raccolte da startup sbocciate in contesti istituzionali e di mercato sicuramente più favorevoli del nostro.

In Italia il crowdfunding ha più successo in altri ambiti, come quello culturale. Eppure, anche da noi qualcosa si muove: FABtotum, la “piattaforma personale di fabbricazione”, presentata su Indiegogo con un obiettivo di 50mila dollari, ne ha ottenuti 589mila in 2 mesi; l’ombrello eco-sostenibile Ginkgo, sempre su Indiegogo, ha raccolto 137mila superando ampiamente l’obiettivo di 30mila; sulla stessa piattaforma, gli occhiali per la realtà aumentata GlassUp non hanno raggiunto l’obiettivo fissato di 150mila dollari, ma avendo optato per l’opzione take-it-all hanno comunque raccolto 128mila dollari e ora è la prima startup non inglese ad aver avviato una campagna di equity crowdfunding sulla piattaforma Seedrs; la valigia per laptop Vivax ha superato le 40mila sterline su Kickstarter, EGO! Smartmouse 35mila.

Gli esempi di successo non mancano. Le criticità, spesso, si registrano dopo la chiusura della campagna: errori nel business plan, problemi con i prototipi, difficoltà nella selezione dei fornitori che determinano ritardi anche significativi nella consegna delle ricompense fino al fallimento del progetto imprenditoriale.

Niente di diverso da quello che accade oltre oceano: una recente inchiesta di CNNMoney mostra che dei 50 progetti più finanziati su Kickstarter fino a novembre 2012, solo 8 hanno rispettato i tempi di consegna. Anche i fallimenti non dovrebbero stupire: chi finanzia un progetto in crowdfunding sostiene un’idea, non acquista un prodotto finito. Il rischio fa parte del gioco.

La differenza sta nel fatto che in Silicon Valley per ogni progetto fallito ce ne sono altri pronti a entrare in campo. In Italia, in assenza di panchina, i titolari hanno maggiori responsabilità.

Chi ottiene un finanziamento in crowdfunding, oltre a disporre delle risorse necessarie per avviare la propria attività, ha già testato l’interesse del mercato verso la sua idea. In un Paese che non è ancora riuscito a creare il tanto auspicato ecosistema favorevole alle startup, oltre alle ormai numerose iniziative per promuovere nuove idee imprenditoriali, perché non sostenere quelle che hanno già dato i primi frutti?


Il progetto Scuola e Museo: L’oggetto come strumento per la didattica, finanziato nell’ambito della stessa Legge 6/2000 del 2010, ( ha evidenziato la necessità da parte degli insegnanti di acquisire nuovi contenuti per la didattica delle scienze trovando risposte da parte del Polo Museale Sapienza. Le nuove indicazioni nazionali per il curricolo ( hanno indicato il patrimonio culturale come un contenuto importante da integrare con altri contenuti formali per la produzione di lezioni da parte degli insegnanti. Per tale scopo è stato realizzato il CMS ASD.scuola per la produzione delle lezioni in modalità ipermedia, che consente di organizzare e gestire le informazioni con modalità che favoriscono le capacità metacognitive degli studenti rispondendo cosi’ all’esigenza di ripensare ad una metodologia didattica mediante l’utilizzo della tecnologia per aumentare la motivazione degli studenti all’apprendimento.
Per rispondere a tali esigenze e continuare la buona sperimentazione iniziata si propone la realizzazione di una piattaforma di e-learning per le scuole interessate che con modalità collaborativa possa:

  • implementare i cataloghi museali con contenuti didattici che colleghi meglio il singolo oggetto museale con la o le discipline di riferimento adottando un linguaggio accessibile alla comunità scolastica;
  • accesso ai cataloghi mediante percorsi personalizzati con la ricerca e la cattura delle informazioni mediante download
  • upload delle lezioni e dei prodotti degli studenti
  • costruire percorsi didattici museali a partire dalle lezioni ipermediali creando percorsi virtuali con i riferimenti ai musei
  • realizzare un network di contenuti e di comunicazione tra insegnati e alunni di scuole diverse.

Obiettivi del progetto: Costituzione di un gruppo di Ricerca con la partecipazione di staff di Musei e Insegnanti per la sperimentazione di una metodologia per un’ efficace didattica delle scienze.
Utilizzo della tecnologia Linked Open Data per la realizzazione di un repository di risorse digitale del Patrimonio culturale dei Musei e di risorse digitali open estratte dalla Europeana Digital Library.
Progettazione e realizzazione di una piattaforma di tipo collaborativo per l’organizzare delle informazioni del patrimonio museale con un linguaggio didattico adatto al livello scolastico degli alunni delle scuole primarie e secondarie di I grado e percorsi corrispondenti ai curricula previsti dagli ordinamenti scolastici.
La piattaforma MUSED permetterà alle istituzioni museali coinvolti di implementare il contenuto informativo del proprio patrimonio con annotazioni degli oggetti museali utili all’ambiente didattico.
Tale piattaforma permetterà l’accesso ai cataloghi dei Musei con la possibilità di catturare le informazioni utili da parte di insegnanti e alunni per la costruzione di lezioni o ricerche in formato ipermedia.
Le informazioni catturate verranno integrate con altri contenuti utilizzado il CMS ASD.scuola, fornito gratuitamente agli insegnanti
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Beni culturali 3.0

Negli ultimi giorni tra le tante argomentazioni trattate dai media ne sta spiccando una in particolare su cui l’opinione pubblica sembra sostanzialmente divisa. Per una parte della popolazione, questa realtà, viene percepita come un limite alla crescita economica e allo sviluppo lavorativo sui generis, mentre in opposto c’è chi auspica ad un maggior rafforzamento del settore.
Mi riferisco all’associazionismo e al volontariato partecipato, un settore che in Italia vanta quasi 4,8 milioni di interessati praticanti con il 6,4 % delle unità economiche attive (dati Istat), ossia include tutte le attività operative nel campo delle arti e professioni, nelle realtà industriali, commerciali e dei servizi alle imprese e alle famiglie che fornisce informazioni identificative (denominazione e indirizzo) e di struttura (attività economica, addetti dipendenti e indipendenti, forma giuridica, data di inizio e fine attività, fatturato) di tali unità.
Il 43,5 % di queste organizzazioni rientra nella categoria no profit con gli addetti ai lavori che agiscono in totale volontariato, mentre la restante percentuale, si suddivide tra lavoratori dipendenti, esterni e temporanei. Per cui una macchina economica decisamente significativa e non trascurabile, soprattutto in tempi di magra come questo. Importante è la quantità di associazioni che orbitano nel settore propriamente culturale, dividendosi tra gli aspetti più disparati, come ad esempio quelli in termini ecologici, sportivi, archeologici, architettonici, storico-artistici e organizzativi nel campo di eventi e manifestazioni cicliche.
Nonostante risulti un apparato, il più delle volte genuino e particolarmente utile alla società civile, le discussioni in merito stanno prendendo una direzione poco confortante in termini di simpatia. Come segnalato inizialmente, parte della popolazione addossa a tali unità la criticità sulla mancanza di lavoro e parte del disagio economico, dal momento che per lo Stato e le aziende, risulta più comodo e meno dispendioso incentivare questo tipo di attività piuttosto che mettere la mano nel partafogli e riformare l’economia partendo dai professionisti. Senza nulla togliere al pensiero di questa parte della popolazione (che ultimamente scuote la testa e attacca dalle pagine dei giornali nazionali), si può tranquillamente affermare che queste supposizioni risultano errate e forvianti. In Italia l’associazionismo è sempre esistito e se pur aumentato negli ultimi anni, non ha mai inciso sulla reale situazione economica del Paese, se non in termini positivi. La paura principale è quella di vedersi soffiare un posto di lavoro da un concorrente incapace e bonario che animato da passioni decide di operarsi per la società a titolo gratuito.
Ma per capire meglio cosa sta succedendo portiamo un esempio concreto, scaturito da vicende particolarmente attuali. Un settore divorato dalle difficoltà è senza dubbio quello dei beni culturali su cui grava pesantemente l’onere del patrimonio storico-artistico da mantenere e tramandare. Invece di dare la colpa alle istituzioni preposte alla primaria gestione, ossia Stato, soprintendenze e autonomie locali, vengono prese di mira associazioni e singoli volontari che oggi, come allora, mostrano il medesimo approccio verso le risorse culturali. Da sempre cittadini e professionisti di settore si riuniscono in gruppi associativi portando avanti progetti ed iniziative volte alla tutela e alla valorizzazione del proprio territorio, a volte superficialmente ma in moltissimi casi, in modo esemplare. Quelli che invece (da sempre) sono stati impiegati come professionisti in aziende private, statali e parastatali, non avendo modo oggi di operare a pieno e sotto la custodia contrattuale si sentono scavalcati e privati del diritto al lavoro, semplicemente perché, voltando lo sguardo, si sono accorti dell’esistenza di questa realtà (associativa) di cui prima ignoravano (o facevano finta) l’esistenza.
Tolte le grandi città e i centri con maggior flusso turistico, e quindi con maggiore occupazione lavorativa, ben tre quarti del territorio italiano risulta per moltissimi aspetti abbandonato e più incline al deterioramento strutturale in ambito patrimoniale. In queste aree la presenza istituzionale è meno incisiva e a fatica riesce a reperire i fondi necessari al completo mantenimento delle proprie strutture culturali, ed è ovvio che parte degli abitanti, tenendo a cuore le sorti del proprio territorio, agiscano sotto il segno del volontariato e dell’associazionismo. E in merito a questo cito un pensiero emblematico e ricco di significato dello studioso Luca Nannipieri che ben coglie la reale situazione italiana: Esiste un’Italia invisibile ma preziosa, preziosissima: non compare nei telegiornali, non scrive sui grandi quotidiani, eppure basta girare tra le varie province e città e la vediamo: attorno alle chiese più dimesse, più periferiche, attorno ai palazzi più trascurati, attorno alle abbazie o ai monasteri, alle bellezze più sconosciute del paese, si addensano spesso gruppi liberi di persone che svolgono un lavoro straordinario, quasi mai considerato dalla politica e dalle istituzioni: la loro sfida educativa è altissima e in loro sopravvive un senso ultimo di comunità che altrove è perduto.
Queste persone esistono davvero e basta guardarsi intorno per cogliere la reale situazione che in modo palese non è rappresentata da incapacità tecniche e tanto meno da una bonarietà condivisa. Finché non verrà discussa e normalizzata la quadratura delle numerose branchie associative, la condizione non evolverà e di certo il patrimonio non ne beneficerà. Nel nostro Paese ci sono migliaia di associazioni no profit create e gestite da professionisti del settore (vedi Restauratori Senza Frontiere) che al pari degli altri si possono definire volontari. Per cui generalizzare tale figura è del tutto deleterio per le categorie tecnico professionali che per svariati motivi agiscono sul territorio. Purtroppo soltanto chi vive e lavora con i beni culturali può percepire l’estremo disagio e le disgrazie che ogni giorno si palesano e se vi sono più spontaneità che professionisti riconosciuti e operativi a livello contrattuale, il problema sta a monte e non nell’associazionismo. Senza di loro, il patrimonio storico-artistico crollerebbe nel giro di pochi anni ed è grazie a loro, contrariamente a quanto si pensa, che la prevenzione e la valorizzazione viene portata avanti, fuori dalle logiche di mercato e di speculazione. In Italia ci sono moltissimi esempi ma come spesso accade, le cose che realmente funzionano, vengono offuscate e superficialmente generalizzate, scatenando poi gli attacchi che indubbiamente finiscono per instaurare un ulteriore barricata tra la stessa popolazione e le istituzioni, sempre troppo distanti e indifferenti.
Non posso che menzionare i gruppi archeologici, di cui sta apprezzando personalmente le concrete capacità pratiche ed intuitive, sviluppate con gli anni attraverso l’ausilio di personale scientifico altamente specializzato, capace di guidare, passo passo, una realtà che nel giro di qualche stagione ha letteralmente tirato su un museo archeologico degno del proprio nome. Per cui propagare gli ennesimi strascichi di mala informazione risulta alquanto irrispettoso e del tutto insensato, soprattutto nel momento in cui cittadini e professionisti si pongono al servizio della società e del bene comune. Probabilmente attraverso un lavoro condiviso, di pura comunità e volto alla sensibilizzazione delle istituzioni, anche i professionisti più scontenti potrebbero ricredersi, ripartendo dal basso e sviluppando un mondo associativo a cui nessuno vieta di diventare lavorativo e produttivo in termini di ricchezza economica e sociale.

By Colin Barras | BBC Future

Is creativity magical? Not according to those now teaching it as a skill, discovers Colin Barras. Are there really secrets to unlocking your imagination?

Is it possible to be learn what it takes to be creative? If you look at great artists, musicians or entrepreneurs, it can seem that creativity is a gift possessed by the lucky few. It’s something the rest of us can only admire.

Yet in recent years, there have been growing calls to nurture and teach creativity from an early age in schools and universities. While the secret to unlocking creative genius remains elusive, research suggests that it’s possible to prime the mind for creative ideas to emerge. And creativity is even taught as an academic discipline in some places. So, what are the ways teachers are drawing out that creative spark? And should these techniques be taught more in schools?

The belief that schools are failing to nurture creative skills has grown in recent years. The educator and author Ken Robinson, for example, argued in an influential TED talk in 2006 that current education practices crush student’s innate creative talents. Robinson clearly touched a nerve – this became the most watched TED talk of all time (see below).

Is it true that creativity is being hampered, though? The evidence is mixed. Sandra Russ, a psychologist at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio, has spent 23 years studying the way children in the US play when they are given two puppets and three building blocks. She has found that the scenarios the children act out with the toys are more imaginative today than at any time since the 1980s.

Then again, levels of creativity are falling in formal classroom settings. Children are routinely assessed using the Torrance Tests of creative thinking – for instance, they may be asked to think up alternative uses for an object such as a book or tin can. Test scores today are lower than they were in the 1990s. This may be because standardised testing encourages children to conform rather than value the trait of thinking differently.

Some studies suggest there may be something to these conformity fears. Jack Goncalo at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, has found that people primed to stand out from their peers subsequently performed much better on a creativity test than those that had been encouraged to conform to a group. “The environments where people are taught to fit in and not stand out – we should intervene on that,” says Goncalo.

Gerard Puccio at Buffalo State College in New York argues that it’s never been more important to arm people with the skills for creative thinking. “It’s no longer a luxury. It’s about survival,” he says. Industries rise when creativity thrives, and fall when it doesn’t – contrast the growth of Silicon Valley with the decline of Detroit’s automobile industry, for example.

Puccio chairs the International Center for Studies in Creativity, which was the world’s first university department of its type. It owes its roots to Alex Osborn, an advertising executive who worked on New York’s Madison Avenue in the mid-20th Century. Osborn co-founded BBDO – the inspiration for advertising agency Sterling Cooper in the TV series Mad Men. To get better ideas from his staff, Osborn began experimenting with methods to provoke creative thinking: one of the most famous he popularised was brainstorming.

Brainstorming ideas without being critical may be counterproductive, some studies suggest (Thinkstock)

When he retired, Osborn realised it made more sense to boost people’s creativity while they were still in education, and this led to forming the creativity department at Buffalo State College. Today, there are creative studies courses available in various universities around the world.

What kinds of techniques are taught? Puccio teaches his students that creativity comes in four stages – clarifying, ideating, developing and implementing. Clarifying is ensuring you’re asking the right question; ideating is about exploring as many solutions as possible; developing and implementing are making sure the idea is practical and convincing to others.

Of the four, ideating is perhaps the stage that most obviously involves innovative thinking. It’s here that the familiar brainstorming technique comes into play. The idea, says Puccio, is to force the brain out of a purely analytical state in which it tends to focus on one solution and ignore other options. A de-focused mind is more likely to make the unusual connections that just might suggest a novel solution to the problem.

One of Puccio’s ideating methods is to ask students to brainstorm a problem and then present them with an object at random, insisting they find a way to connect it to the discussion. “It’s about forcing the brain to give up old patterns and search for new ones. That’s often what happens when inventors make a breakthrough,” he says.

Lying on your back in a relaxed mood primes the mind to think creatively, researchers have found (Thinkstock)

Scientific research supports the idea that certain activities can prime the mind to come up with less obvious solutions than would emerge otherwise. Psychologists call it “divergent” thinking. For example, Joydeep Bhattacharya of Goldsmiths University in London has shown that people in a relaxed mood are more likely to arrive at creative solutions when problem-solving. And another study by Australian researchers showed people are more likely to solve puzzles lying on their back than standing up. Perhaps it’s because when people are mellow, their wandering mind encourages them to review a diverse array of ideas, rather than get stuck in a more focused, narrow mode of thought.

As well as teaching divergent thinking skills, Puccio also argues that successful creativity involves ensuring ideas are practical and convincing – the “developing” and “implementing” stages of his four-step approach. “Creativity is not a licence to be bizarre,” he says.

Should schools encourage unfettered creative activities among pupils? (Thinkstock)

This flies in the face of some common wisdom about how to encourage creativity. Take brainstorming. Many believe it works best when no idea, however far-fetched, will be criticised. “That always bothered me,” says Charlan Nemeth, a psychologist at the University of California in Berkeley. She found that encouraging people to debate ideas and even criticise them during a brainstorm generates more useful ideas than when criticism is off the table.

This isn’t about criticising for the sake of it, says Nemeth. But if there are genuine problems with an idea they should be discussed. “On balance this will stimulate better decisions and more creative problem solving,” she says.
So what does all this mean for schools? Should we throw out the textbooks and rote learning that are used to prepare students for standardised tests? Encourage children to let their minds wander rather than concentrate in the classroom? It’s easy to be cynical about some of the findings emerging from the study of creativity – although, as Nemeth’s work shows, discussing genuine problems while implementing these ideas in the classroom is probably a useful exercise. For instance, no one in creativity research argues that children should give free rein to their imagination at the cost of understanding a subject. After all, you can’t think outside the box until you fully understand what’s inside the box. But with 21st Century firms emphasising the value of creativity in their employees, it’s important that teachers are allowed to value the trait in their students too – which is something that today’s curriculums often discourage, says Puccio.

It’s also important to note that these creativity techniques are not going to turn an average kid into a young Einstein or Picasso – everyone accepts that you can’t teach genius. It’s more about encouraging the day-to-day creative thinking that can make students and an adult workforce more productive. Puccio calls it creativity with a little “c” – and he’s convinced it’s a talent we all possess. “You’re human and you have an imagination,” he says. “You are wired to be creative.”