We The Italians | Italian report: Io sono Cultura 2016

Italian report: Io sono Cultura 2016

Italian report: Io sono Cultura 2016

  • WTI Magazine #81 Jul 16, 2016
  • 1010

WTI Magazine #81    2016 July 15
Author : Fondazione Symbola      Translation by:


The crisis, which finally seems to loosen its grip on the country, has left us a legacy made not only of suffering but also of awareness: it has taught us that in the global world of the twenty-first century we must be able to deal with change, whether it's shock economic or revolutions like the digital one or the green economy. One thing more than any other can help us surfing this world: it is an idea of the future, a mission to guide the country in unity and solidarity in the uncertain waters of this new century.

An Italy that is finally Italy again can find an aggregator of the best talents, a catalyst of energies that unite the country, the territories, its businesses and its community in the mission of promoting the quality, the beauty, the culture that crosses technological innovation and the green economy. Sides of the same coin that take shape in our incomparable historical and artistic heritage, in the territories, extraordinary mix of natural beauty and human wisdom. But these excellences are also manufactured in our products, where enlightened craftsmen and entrepreneurs have brought the beauty and culture that reigns in the country, even the quality of life thanks to the meeting with the creativity and design, which tells us how important is the interplay between culture and productive world, and how urgent it is an afterthought in this sense of the education and of the training system.

The mission that we indicate doesn't erase Italy's problems - not only public debt, but the social inequalities, the black economy, the crime, the underdevelopment of the South, the inefficient bureaucracy - but provides forces to which draw on to face these problems.

Io sono cultura 2016 (I am culture) - with its numbers and stories, realized thanks to the valuable contribution of 40 leading personalities in the different sectors analyzed - scours and tells these energies. It does it through an idea of culture made of museums, galleries, festivals, cultural heritage, literature, films, performing arts, but also the creative industries, and made in Italy: that is, all those productive activities that do not represent in itself a cultural asset, but that derive from culture their creative juices and competitiveness. So design, architecture and communication: creative industries that develop services for other sectors and convey content and innovation in the rest of the economy - from manufacture to wine or tourism - creating a hinge, a "hybrid zone" which situates the creative-driven production, ranging from advanced manufacturing, precisely, to arts and crafts.

The data collected in this study, carried out by Fondazione Symbola and Unioncamere in collaboration with the Marche region, demonstrate that culture is one of the primary engines of our economy. The cultural and creative production system (cultural industries, creative industries, historical and artistic heritage, performing arts and visual arts, creative-driven productions) is responsible for the 6.1% of the wealth produced in Italy: 89,7 billion €. But there's more, because culture has on the rest of the economy a multiplier effect of 1.8: in other words, for every euro produced by culture, it activates € 1,8 in other areas. So, the 89,7 billion "stimulate" other 160,1: this means that 249,8 billion is the total amount of money produced by the entire cultural sector, the 17% of the domestic value, with tourism as the main beneficiary of this flywheel effect.

The Cultural Production System (alone, without considering the jobs activated in the other segments of our economy) employs 1,5 million people, the 6.1% of total employment in Italy.

Comparing the data with those of the last five years, the total values of the supply chain are growing, although of very little: + 0.6% value added product, and up 0.2% the number of employees. We fully understand the weight of these values only by comparing them with those of the opposite sign, the ones about the whole economy: -0,1% added value, -1,5% employment. Looking at the dynamics of the sectors, the most important are those related to the design performance (+ 10.8% in value and + 13.8% for employment), the creative-driven production (+ 5.4% added value and + 1.4% for employment), videogames (+ 3.7% for the added value and + 1% for employment) and music (+ 3.0% in value).

If we look beyond the perimeter of the cultural and creative enterprises, to benefit from a significant thrust of the culture is in particular, as is to be expected, tourism: more than a third (37,5%) of tourist spending is indeed activated precisely by culture.

Besides tourism, there is also the agribusiness world. The alliance between culture and the world of food is definitely among the most promising alliances in recent years, with star chefs that refer to local cultures and design and art, and the kitchen transformed from an object to a subject of communication, and therefore of cultural production.

From these numbers we can catch the signals of a broad cultural movement, which affects the whole society and, by osmosis, the economy. It confirms the growth in traditional segments that cross culture and production, those who - in the words of Carlo M. Cipolla - allow Italy to produce in the shadow of its steeples things that please the world, such as design, this year starred in a record of visitors to the design week "Salone del Mobile". But Italy has also grown in segments in which it had fallen behind in the past, catching up in the international context: it is the case for example of video games or of music industry, thanks to the contribution of new technologies.

Thanks to a tailor-made training for the producers, the digital technologies confirm as an enabler of a large part of manufacturing: from communication to crafts 4.0 to public involvement in the design and development of products.

Of course, many innovative experiences have been created for the protection and enhancement of our cultural heritage. More and more spontaneous phenomena emerge, related to the role of inhabitants and users: episodes of rediscovery of the collective and community role of cultural heritage are found for example in the work of associations, of participated charity, of independent centers of culture, of popular shareholding. All of these topics create a public-private relationship towards the culture that goes far beyond the issue of sponsorship. Exemplary is what happened in Mantova, cultural capital of Italy for 2016. And even more in Matera that, one year after the appointment of being the European Capital of Culture in 2019, is experiencing a steady growth of tourism (plus 140% attendance) and communication skills of the city.

All these signs of change can be helped by reforms such as the Art Bonus, the tax credit introduced in 2014 in favor of investing in culture, the most decisive outcome of which is not so much and not only in the 2,728 patrons with their € 62 million donations, mostly micro-patronage interventions. The most important outcome is the potentially disruptive approach between historical and artistic heritage and the forces of the society. There are companies that make donations, or social groups who donate their time, energy and imagination: this approach has within it the seeds of a greater empowerment of communities towards the cultural heritage, and the seeds of the development of future very promising creative and productive collaborations.

The above-mentioned enzymes may also be helped by the museums reform, based on the necessary integration between historical scientific knowledge, rigor in artifacts and art conservation, and management and entrepreneurial skills. In this case, too, this integration opens the door to a potential greater interpenetration between the world of protection and the social and productive Italian people.

Culture is and will remain an important engine of world development: this explains the European Parliament's commitment to its inclusion as eleventh priority of the Juncker plan aimed at reviving the economy of the continent thanks to an investment of 315 billion euro in favor of the Member States.

The Italy that comes out of this report, therefore, is a lively and active Italy, a country that is already sowing the future, looking ahead with courage without forgetting its history, that seizes the opportunities of green economy and digitization but does not forget to be a craftsman country made up of small and medium enterprises that draw their strength from the wisdom of the territories, communities, their knowledge and their cohesion. A country aware that its culture with ancient roots is now the best ticket to get a leading role in a better future. If Italy is Italy, the future is not our enemy. On the contrary.