2. Current cultural affairs
Last update: May, 2016
Five different government coalitions followed one another in recent times, each bringing about changes in cultural policy priorities.
The main priorities of the centre-left coalition in the years 1995-2001 – set out first by Minister of the Heritage Walter Veltroni and, since 1999, by Minister Giovanna Melandri – have been:
- the strengthening of cultural policy at the core of the government's social and economic action, culminating in 1998 in the creation of a comprehensive Ministry for Heritage and Cultural Activities, also responsible for the performing arts;
- the increase in the amount of public cultural expenditure, to be achieved – given budget constraints – through alternative funding sources (an ad hoc lottery for culture, a more efficient use of European structural funds, etc.);
- the development of public-private partnerships in support of cultural activities through fiscal incentives as well as through désétasitation and streamlining measures; and
- an increased focus on issues like contemporary creativity and audience development.
During the following centre-right government (2001-2006), Minister Giuliano Urbani and Minister Rocco Buttiglione, besides endorsing the need for a comprehensive ministry for culture, also pursued cultural priorities more coherent with a neo-liberal ideological approach:
- the streamlining of the over abundant legislation regulating the different cultural domains by combining them in a few, more comprehensive and exhaustive sectorial laws (this has been the case for the very relevant Heritage Codex ( chapter 4.2.2) as well as for Leg. Decree 28/2004 on Cinema ( chapter 4.2.6), both adopted by Minister Urbani); and
- a much stronger emphasis on the role of the private sector in the cultural field, also by transferring to private organisations the management of public cultural institutions.
The priorities of Minister Francesco Rutelli during the subsequent short-lived centre-left government (2006-2008) were:
- a general rethinking of the existing relationship between economics, culture, art, territory and tourism, in order to better finalise public funding to the cultural field; and
- the implementation of fiscal strategies aimed at raising additional resources for culture both from local governments and from the private sector.
For Sandro Bondi, Minister of the centre-right government re-elected in 2008, the key priorities for cultural policies have been:
- to safeguard and enhance the Italian heritage and landscape by implementing the recently modified Heritage Codex (see chapter 4.2.2);
- to give a strong boost to contemporary arts; and
- again, to foster public-private partnerships in all cultural domains.
Since 2011, the following Minister Giancarlo Galan called for bipartisan cooperation to boost Italian Culture. Among his priorities were:
- the need for more investment in the cultural field, along with more effectiveness in cultural spending in times of financial constraint;
- a renewed emphasis on heritage as the main axis of Italian cultural policy; and acceleration in the reform processes of the performing arts.
The priorities singled out by Lorenzo Ornaghi, minister of Monti's so-called "technical government" (substituting the Berlusconi government in November 2011) can be summed up as follows:
- the implementation of the "Great Pompei Project" (see chapter 3.1);
- the search for additional funding sources, including by an increased use of funds earmarked for economic development and territorial cohesion.
The programme outlined in May 2013 by Massimo Bray – Minister of Heritage of the new coalition government led by Enrico Letta – at a joint session of the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate's Cultural commissions – focused on the following issues:
- a new emphasis on "culture as a common good" and on the "cultural rights" of all citizens – including those with an immigrant background – ranging from cultural access to cultural creation / production;
- · heritage and landscape protection, to be pursued also through regulations for the containment of land-take and through territorial planning along with the Regions, and through the prevention of seismic risk.
In April 2014, the following guidelines for action were extensively outlined at the Chamber of Deputies by the new Minister Dario Franceschini:
- to increase Italy's competitiveness in post-industrial societies by emphasising - through what he considers "the country's most relevant economic ministry" - the potential of its historical heritage, its beauty, its artistic talents;
- to achieve a modernisation and reorganisation of MiBACT, also aimed at combining and integrating the competencies on heritage and cultural activities with the new competencies on tourism;
- to enhance contemporary art and architecture, also as a means for rejuvenating urban suburbs;
- to open more space for educational policies, through better coordination with the school and university systems;
- and, once again, to give a strong boost to new forms of public / private partnership, with a particular focus on individual and corporate donations.
This information will be published as soon as possible.
This information will be published as soon as possible.
Last update: May, 2016
In 2014 Italy was still affected by a strong digital divide, with a persisting, significant delay in broadband connection for Italian families in comparison to the other EU countries: 36% against 86% (AGCOM 2015 Report).
The extension of broadband availability has therefore become a key priority in the current coalition government's agenda, Italy's technological lag being considered one of the foremost reasons for our low productivity rate. According to the new National Plan for Ultra-broadband – adopted in October 2015 - 6 billion of public financial resources should be made available, to be mainly drawn from the European Regional and Social Funds.
On the other hand, dealing strictly with new technologies in the cultural field, the transformation of Italy's analogical television system into a Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT) system was actually carried out by the end of 2012. In addition to the supply of the 7 national networks, dtt allows – along with Sky satellite television – a far more extended supply of TV channels. On the other hand, as RAI and Mediaset have still been privileged in the concession of new licences, access by new actors is still limited.
The use of new technologies in artists' work is on the rise, as shown by the significant number of works presented by Italian artists in all the national and international arts exhibitions, including the latest shows at the Venice Biennale. More and more visual and performing artists are actively making use of new technologies, albeit rather spontaneously, and without any kind of public support, yet.
In a country in which heritage safeguarding ranks much higher than artistic creation among cultural policy priorities, it is no wonder, though, that state attention is mainly focused on the digitalisation of heritage rather than on cultural production of new art works. Italy is thus at the forefront in national, European and international projects based on the use of new technologies as a means for safeguarding and cataloguing artistic and historic property, as well as for promoting it through innovative networking and through information and educational services for the public, tourists, etc. (see chapter 3.1).
The ministerial programme ICT Culture – in which Italy is acting as a landmark at European level – is mainly focused on promoting digital cultural contents on the web. Other programmes, like Internetculturale and Culturaitalia – as well as the European project Michael (see chapter 1.4.2), in which Italy is actively participating – are aimed at fostering the digital accessibility of heritage, libraries and archives. Furthermore, according to a recent agreement with Google to make Italy's main sites more accessible through the digital programme Google Street View, the first site to be made accessible is Pompeii.
Last update: May, 2016
Italy's cross border cooperation in technical assistance and capacity building in the heritage field has acquired a growing relevance since the end of the 1990s. The widely internationally acknowledged scientific excellence of our archaeologists, art historians and restorers, coupled with a progressive use of new technologies, have contributed to Italy's leading role as far as cooperation in heritage policies is concerned. These initiatives have, until now, been mainly carried out by the former MAE's DG for Cooperation and Development, with MiBACT's technical and scientific assistanceand in some cases withthe co-financing of UNESCO and / or the World Bank. Several other cultural cooperation initiatives, in particular in the Mediterranean region, take place in the framework of the European Union programmes, like EUROMED.
It should also be singled out that – whereas, up to the 1990s, Italian heritage cooperation programmes have mainly benefited Mediterranean countries – in the subsequent years such programmes have been significantly extended to other regions of the world as well, like Latin America (Cuba, Ecuador, Peru...) and Asia. Cooperation programmes in the heritage field have been focused in particular on actions dealing with "culture as a vehicle for peace" in key troubled countries: from the Balkans (with the highly symbolic restoration of the Mostar Bridge) to the Middle East, Italian archaeological missions and restoration teams have been actively engaged in the rescue of dispersed and damaged heritage artefacts and in the support and fostering of infringed cultural identities in Lebanon, in Iran, in post-war Afghanistan and, notably, in Iraq, whose exceptionally relevant ancient Mesopotamian archaeological heritage has been seriously damaged during the recent war.
As far as the latter country is concerned, besides coping with emergencies like the rescue and reopening of the main sites and institutions – including the National Library and the National Museum in Baghdad – and the training of personnel to enhance the local activities of preservation, restoration and cataloguing of rare artefacts – like the cuneiform tablets – innovative projects were also launched, like the Iraq Virtual Museum (see http://virtualmuseumiraq.cnr.it). The latter scientific and technological endeavour by MAE and the National Centre for Research (CNR) is aimed at increasing interactive accessibility of Iranian artistic and archaeological heritage, also in order to enhance the country's attractiveness by means of cultural tourism in view of its economic revival.
More recently, Italian authorities have also been involved in the rescue of the dispersed Timbouctu heritage in Mali.
These kinds of cooperation programmes with developing countries - mainly dealing with comprehensive technical assistance in the rescue of archaeological sites and artefacts and historical city centres, in museum organisation and rehabilitation, as well as in technical and managerial capacity building in the field - are actually particularly favoured by both MiBACT and MAE. These types of programmes not only foster support to those countries' sustainable economic development and provide qualified local jobs, but also have great potential for promoting intercultural dialogue, social inclusion and a more secure environment. Close cooperation in the conservation and re-appropriation of their country's heritage and identity, should thus be considered as a peculiar "Italian way" to intercultural dialogue and to contributing to better mutual comprehension and understanding.
Intercultural dialogue: actors, strategies, programmes
As Italy still tends to deal with the most recent migratory waves in terms of a "socio-economic emergency", it is hardly surprising that no clear vision of the policy challenges posed by the "new" forms of cultural diversity has been developed, nor any comprehensive cultural policy document drafted, most notably at a national level.
Due to its relatively short history as a country of immigration and to the constantly shifting moods of political coalitions, Italy's "model of integration" is more difficult to pinpoint than in other European countries. The prevailing trend at the state level has, so far, been to devise policies promoting a balance between the safeguarding of identity and integration: the creation of a Council for Italian Islam in 2005 is a case in point, aiming at a "harmonious incorporation" of the Muslim component within Italian society.
In Italy, immigration and integration policies have been primarily entrusted to the Ministry of the Interior, which is also the main body responsible for the government's legislative initiatives (see chapter 2.6) as well as the safeguarding of civil rights with regard to immigration, asylum, citizenship, religious faiths and "historical" linguistic minorities (Department for Civil Liberties and Immigration). Since 2008, the Ministry has been promoting integration processes through the European Fund for the Integration of third-country nationals (now AMIF - Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund), including "cultural mediation" among its strands of activity.
Other important actors are:
- the Ministry of Labour and Social Policies, which through its DG Immigration and Integration Policies, is responsible, alongside the planning of migrant workers' flows, for the coordination of policies aimed at promoting the integration of migrant communities (e.g. cultural mediation activities, language courses, courses on Italian culture and civics). In 2014, the Ministry launched a new section devoted to "Culture" in its portal "Migrants' Integration. Living and working in Italy" (http://www.integrazionemigranti.gov.it/area-cultura/Pagine/default.aspx), in collaboration with the Ministry of Heritage, Cultural Activities and Tourism / MIBACT;
- the Ministry of Education, University and Research; and
- the Department for Equal Opportunities (Prime Minister's Office), in particular through UNAR (National Office Against Racial Discriminations, established in 2003).
A relevant role in enhancing intercultural dialogue through technical and financial assistance and capacity building in heritage matters is also played by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (see chapter 2.5.1) in cooperation with MIBACT. Both ministries have actively contributed to the ratification of both the UNESCO Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions and the UNESCO Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage in 2007.
As far as the cultural participation of new citizens is concerned, however, to date no coherent set of policies have yet been put into place by MIBACT, although in the past few years some of its DGs started to engage in the promotion of cultural inclusion:
- since 2010, the DG for Contemporary Art, Architecture and Urban Suburbs (formerly DG for Landscape, Fine Arts, Contemporary Architecture and Art) has been supporting the Award "Art, Heritage and Human Rights", jointly promoted by the association Connecting Cultures and Fondazione ISMU (see below). This initiative is meant to foster collaboration between young artists and cultural institutions (most notably museums, libraries and archives) in the development of art projects dealing with the complex issues of integration, exchange and osmosis between cultures.
- in 2012, a call was launched by the former DG for the Valorisation of Cultural Heritage (now partly absorbed by the DG for Education and Research) for proposals "Promoting innovative forms of cultural participation" (see chapter 3.1 and chapter 6.1), which provided an unprecedented opportunity for national museums, archaeological areas and historical sites to promote wider access and the cultural inclusion of "new citizens".
A more structured effort to address cultural diversity and integration issues was made very recently, in December 2015, when the "#MigraArti" ("#MigrArts") project was launched by MIBACT in partnership with UNAR. The project comprises two calls for proposals respectively supervised by the DG for Cinema and the DG for Performing Arts (with an overall budget of 800 000 EUR – 400 000 for each DG), whose main goal is "to promote the different cultures of origin of Italy's new citizens, with a view to fostering mutual knowledge, intercultural dialogue and exchange, and social inclusion" http://www.beniculturali.it/mibac/multimedia/MiBAC/documents/1450202710153_bando_migrarti_cinema.pdf). A key prerequisite of applications is "to actively involve migrant communities, with a particular focus on second-generation youths and underage students"; partnerships are also strongly recommended with organisations promoting intercultural mediation activities and migrants associations. The "#MigraArti" project also aims to carry out a survey of migrant cultural organisations in our country, which will be able to register on MIBACT's website through an ad-hoc form.
Regional, Provincial and Local Authorities
The most interesting cultural programmes and pilot projects in Italy to foster intercultural dialogue has so far been undertaken at the local level, through the initiative of particular configurations of local authorities, non-governmental institutions and civil society, although in the past few years the most structured experiences (from the creation of ad-hoc Departments to the launch of long-term programmes) seem to have been disconnected due to severe cuts in cultural budgets and changes in the political make-up of local councils.
There are of course exceptions to this trend, such as the Intercultural Service of the Libraries of Rome, which has been engaged in promoting social inclusion of new citizens and in supporting active citizenship and cross-cultural dialogue since 1994. The Service, which also runs the website "Roma Multietnica" (http://www.romamultietnica.it), has established long-lasting and fruitful partnerships with many migrants associations, schools, centres for adult learning and education and other social/educational organisations; it is now in the process of creating a network with other cultural institutions of the city, such as MAXXI – Museum of XXI century Arts (see chapter 4.2.4).
Over the years, several Regions and Provinces across Northern and Central Italy created Observatories on Immigration with the twofold purpose of monitoring the migratory flows and assisting regional and local administrations in devising sensible immigration policies. These bodies, however, tend to address the typical issues of employment, housing, healthcare and formal education, and do not consider culture as an area of concern.
Fondazione ISMU, Regione Lombardia's partner in the Osservatorio Regionale per l'Integrazione e la Multietnicità, is one interesting exception to the rule: since 2005, it has been placing a new emphasis on the potential contribution of heritage institutions in promoting intercultural exchange and understanding by: developing a new area of research and training; creating and editing the on-line resource "Patrimonio e Intercultura" (http://www.patrimonioeintercultura.ismu.org, English version available); developing and running joint intercultural projects with museum institutions; promoting and coordinating the open call for young artists and cultural institutions "Art, Heritage and Human Rights" (see above).
Fondazione ISMU's case history also introduces us to the role of private actors in addressing the issue of intercultural dialogue, which has grown significantly in the past decade in Italy.
Catholic charities such as Caritas Italiana make a significant contribution, both in providing assistance and services to the "new citizens" and in disseminating knowledge on migration patterns and key issues affecting the country. With its yearly Dossier statistico sull'immigrazione, Caritas' Centre of Studies and Documentation is one of the most reliable and comprehensive sources of information on immigration in Italy.
Several documentation centres, mostly created by NGOs and Catholic or lay associations (e.g. the documentation centre of the Rome-based Archivio dell'Immigrazione, http://www.archivioimmigrazione.org/), also make an important contribution to intercultural awareness-building.
An increasingly important role in promoting immigrant communities' cultures in the host country, as well as the accessibility of Italian culture for foreign residents, is played by associations, both foreign and Italian (e.g. cultural association "Chance Eventi", organising on a yearly basis the "Suq festival of Cultures" in Genoa since 1999, http://www.suqgenova.it/). It is not easy to provide a reliable estimate on the number of such associations, especially those initiated by immigrants: some are nation-based; some were established to co-ordinate initiatives aimed at communities belonging to the same continent, or at promoting inter-community relationships. Across Italy there is a growing demand for formal recognition (and increased legitimacy) of these representative bodies of migrant communities, for example through the creation of a register of associations.
Strategies and programmes
While witnessing the growing interest of both public and private actors in the issue of intercultural dialogue, cultural policies still play a very marginal role in integration processes.
The field in which cultural institutions in Italy have been more active in supporting cultural diversity is the promotion of a better understanding and greater recognition of other cultures, most notably through the organisation of festivals (e.g "Suq" Festival in Genoa, see above; African, Asian and Latin American Film Festival in Milan, http://www.festivalcinemaafricano.org/new/) or the mounting of blockbuster exhibitions. Many of these initiatives, however, are characterised by a will not so much to encourage immigrant communities' cultural participation, as to promote a "knowledge-oriented" multiculturalism directed principally at the Italian public. In this respect, public libraries distinguished themselves for not only promoting the knowledge of different cultures through literature, but also helping "new citizens" keep their original language alive through reading and conversation (as an opportunity for both cultural and emotional exchange), and creating opportunities for intercultural encounter (e.g. Intercultural Service of the Libraries of Rome, "Berio" Library in Genoa).
As for the emergence of innovative intercultural forms, "social theatre" is by far the most interesting and experimental field on the Italian cultural scene, with well-established companies such as Teatro dell'Argine in Bologna (see http://teatrodellargine.org/site/lang/it-IT/page/27/category/1#.VurCV4-cHIU for "Intercultural Projects"), Teatro dell'Angolo in Turin, Teatro delle Albe in Ravenna and Teatro di Nascosto in Volterra (see chapter 2.7). Also "mainstream" theatres like the lyric foundations are starting, albeit timidly, to deal with the issue of migrants' cultural participation; one interesting case in point is the open call recently issued by Teatro Massimo (the Opera House in Palermo) to select – in agreement with the Consulta delle culture – second-generation children with a migrant background for its "Rainbow Choir" (2016/2017 theatre season).
In cities like Milan, Rome and Genoa, there is a growing number of theatre / hip-hop / spoken word projects developed by second-generation migrant youths, denouncing their own condition of "outsiders" in Italian society. Another interesting phenomenon is the creation of "multiethnic orchestras" in several Italian cities (Milan, Turin, Genoa, Padua, Trento, Naples), following the great national and international success of the Orchestra di Piazza Vittorio (Rome).
"Migrant literature" in Italian language is being promoted through specialist book publishers (e.g. Sinnos Editrice in Rome or Edizioni dell'Arco in Milan) and documentation centres (e.g. Fondazione ISMU), on-line journals (e.g. El Ghibli, http://www.el-ghibli.org), websites (e.g. LettERRANZA, http://www.letterranza.org), anthologies and awards (e.g. "Concorso Lingua Madre" for women in Turin, http://concorsolinguamadre.it/; "Concorso Immicreando" in Milan, http://www.ismu.org/2016/02/concorso-di-scrittura-immicreando/).
A growing number of examples of groundbreaking intercultural work may also be highlighted in the museum field, in spite of the highly conservative nature of this sector (for a good overview of case studies, see "Patrimonio e Intercultura" website).
Finally, interesting examples of trans-border intercultural dialogue are Fondazione Pistoletto's "Love Difference - Artistic Movement for an Inter Mediterranean Politic",aiming to bring together people and institutions of the Mediterranean regions interested in opening new areas of thinking on multiculturalism (http://www.lovedifference.org), or Teatro dell'Argine's "Lampedusa mirrors", a project in partnership with the non-profit organisation "Eclosion d'Artistes", the Institut Supérieur D'Art Dramatique and the Association "L'Art Vivant" in Tunis (http://teatrodellargine.org/site/lang/it-IT/page/45/project/30#.VtWzio-cHIU).
Government's overall approach to intercultural dialogue
Last update: May, 2016
Intercultural education made its official appearance in the Italian formal education system in 1994, with the then ground-breaking Ministerial Memorandum 73/1994 ("Intercultural dialogue and democratic coexistence: the planning engagement of the school"). The key principles outlined in the document were the following: intercultural education should be considered as the pedagogical answer to cultural pluralism, and as such should not be seen as a mere compensatory activity, but rather as the "integrating background" against which any education is possible in the contemporary world; it must concern all students; it has to do more with the development of relational skills and dialogic identities than with the teaching of specific topics; it implies a less Euro-centric approach to school subjects, as well as the safeguard of minority languages and cultures.
The implementation of these principles in the school curricula, however, has been inconsistent due to the uneven territorial distribution of migrant communities across Italy (and thus the "multicultural development" of schools taking place at different speeds) and the need for teachers and educators to deal with emergency issues such as welcoming the growing wave of foreign students and meeting Italian language teaching requirements. Although individual schools have been entrusted with the definition of their own training provision (Law 59/97, Article 21),relatively few of them have, in fact, met the challenge of revising the curriculum drawing inspiration from the Memorandum's guidelines.
Furthermore, between 1994 and 2006 there has been a legislative gap regarding intercultural education, with only a few significant exceptions such as Law 40/1998 (which requires schools to develop a number of intercultural projects aimed at "acknowledging linguistic and cultural differences as the basis for mutual respect, intercultural exchange and tolerance"). Against a background of staggering growth of the foreign school population in the past five years (see chapter 2.6), the Ministry of Education created a Unit for the Integration of Foreign Students in 2004; at the same time, however, not only were crucial professional resources such as "learning facilitators", "tutors" and cultural / linguistic mediators cut down due to financial constraints, but any explicit reference to the role of formal education in a multicultural society was overlooked
In the following years, some long-awaited steps were taken to fill this gap and make up for lost time: in 2006, the publication of "Guidelines for the first reception and integration of foreign students" (Ministerial Memorandum 24/2006) and of a "Policy framework document for the integration of foreign students and intercultural education", as well as the establishment of an ad-hoc Observatory (by Ministerial Decree of 6 December 2006); in 2007 and 2014, the Ministerial guidelines "The Italian way for an intercultural school and the integration of foreign students"; and finally, in 2015, the new recommendations outlined in the Ministerial document "Different from whom?" (istruzioneer.it/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/MIUR.AOODGSIP.REGISTRO_UFFICIALEU.0005535.09-09-2015-indicazioni-stranieriOss1.pdf), including the valorisation of linguistic diversity (alongside increased efforts in teaching Italian as a second language), the adoption of preventive measures against school segregation, and the promotion of intercultural education as a vehicle to improve relational skills and to develop an open attitude towards diversity and "otherness".
In the meantime, the pedagogic approach advocated by the 1994 Memorandum has been brought forward by individual schools through intercultural education programmes, often undertaken in partnership with other organisations and local authorities. These programmes widely differ with regard to their goals and objectives, methodologies, tools, and expected outcomes, ranging from formal school activities to informal actions aimed at developing inter-ethnic relations, based on principles of equality and cultural pluralism. As the presence of foreign students in Italian schools has evolved into a structural phenomenon, a growing body of evidence has been gathered to document and monitor local programmes and activities: see for example the database of intercultural education programmes in Lombardia's schools set up by Fondazione ISMU in 2003, and run in partnership with the regional administration (http://www.orimregionelombardia.it/area.php?ID=9).
Last update: May, 2016
Notwithstanding the adoption, since the 1980s, of an Antitrust Law concerning the press (Law 416/1981), followed by two other Laws - 223/1990 and 249/1997 - concerning both radio television and the press, subsequently modified by Law 112/2004 (for a more detailed description of antitrust legislation see chapter 4.2.6), the high degree of mass media concentration in Italy is probably unparalleled in Europe.
As Italy was the first country in our continent to have broken the monopoly of the national broadcasting corporation in 1976, during the following years the Italian television system gradually took the shape of a substantial duopoly, dominated by three public networks (RAI) – which draw their resources both from license fees and advertising – and three private ones (Mediaset), financed through advertising. These six – out of seven – national networks, which coexist with hundreds of local TV stations, jointly accounted for more than 90% of the audience share for a long time. The adoption of Law 112/2004 on Television (the so-called"Gasparri Law": see chapter 4.2.6), practically endorsing the existing duopoly – with the Prime Minister, Silvio Berlusconi, being in control of both public and private national networks (as the private owner of Mediaset) – and of Law 215/2004 on the regulation of conflicts of interest – which forbids the Prime Minister and other officials' direct involvement in the management of corporations, albeit allowing them not to give up ownership – has caused much controversy.
Duopoly in the broadcasting system has subsequently been matched by a near monopoly in Pay TV since 2003, when the two companies – Stream and Telepiù – were bought by Rupert Murdoch's rapidly developing satellite Pay TV Sky Italia (reaching 4.6 million subscribers in 2013). 2008 was actually the first year in which Sky earnings, benefiting from the significant increase in Pay TV income, came second after RAI, surpassing Mediaset. Since 2012, though, Pay TV being less affected by the economic downturn than advertising, Sky reached primacy in earnings, and maintained its lead in 2014 (2.6 million EUR), followed by Mediaset surpassing RAI, which ranked only in third place.
It should also be noted that Sky's primacy was reached notwithstanding growing competitive pressure exercised in the past years by Mediaset, by obtaining from a friendly government the adoption of measures penalising Pay TV with an increase in VAT (from 12% to 20%) in 2008, and a decrease in the maximum ceiling for advertising in 2009.
On the positive side of the fierce competition among national networks for access to financial resources, it can be said that content diversity has improved greatly thanks to the satellite channels, and even more so since 2012, thanks to the transformation of our TV system into a Digital Terrestrial TV system bringing about myriads of new channels (see chapter 2.4).
Concentration is noteworthy – and presently on the rise - also in the publishing industry. The publishing of newspapers and periodicals has long been mainly in the hands of an industrial oligopoly, where the largest publishing company of books and periodicals in the country, Mondadori – as well as Einaudi, Electa, etc. – belongs, like Mediaset, to Fininvest: thus realising an extraordinary, transversal media concentration. But things are presently even getting worse, as at the end of 2015 the second largest publishing house in the country, Rizzoli - badly affected by the economic crisis – has been sold to Mondadori, thus giving way to the giant publishing house Mondazzoli! No wonder if a group of famous writers and intellectuals previously affiliated with Bompiani–Rizzoli – led by Umberto Eco shortly before his death – reacted to such a situation by leaving their old home in order to bravely create a new, small but independent publishing house: La nave di Teseo…
Nevertheless, nowadays the threat to pluralism and diversity of expressions in the publishing industry, in Italy like in other countries, does not come only from concentration, but from "market failure" as well: that is by the exhaustion of its funding sources, including the sharp fall in income from sales and from advertising brought about by the financial crisis (see chapter 3.5.1 and chapter 4.2.6), coupled by the growing competition of the Internet.
Last update: May, 2016
Legislation relating to minority languages issues is described in chapter 4.1.8.
One of the most important public cultural institutions supporting minority languages is the Slovenian Theatre in Trieste (Slovensko Stalno Gledalishe), created by the autonomous region of Friuli Venezia Giulia, and presently one of the 15 "teatri stabili", the category of drama theatres most subsidised by the Italian state.
In sharp contrast with the safeguard enjoyed by historic linguistic minorities, it must be noted that none of the main languages spoken by over 5 million foreigners presently living in Italy (see chapter 2.6) have so far been officially recognised or taught in schools, consequently raising the serious problem of maintaining the cultural identity of migrant communities for the sake of future generations. In Rome, the Chinese community has long been asking in vain for the establishment of a Chinese school. In the past few years, there was repeated turmoil in Milan about whether to officially recognise an Islamic school using the Arab language; recognition was denied for ideological rather than linguistic reasons and the school temporarily closed down, but finally re-opened.
However, sporadic initiatives for the teaching of migrant communities' native languages have recently been taken by some regional, provincial and local administrations.
As far as the media are concerned, the new minority languages have no access to national TV and radio networks, although there are private local radio stations broadcasting in the respective languages. On the other hand, minority languages are broadly catered for by the press. In 2007 the NGO Cospe surveyed as many as 146 immigrant newspapers / programmes "in foreign languages", mostly created in the last 5 years and run by NGOs and volunteers: 63 newspapers / magazines (for the most part monthly), 59 radio programmes, 24 TV programmes (for the most part weekly). According to Cospe, these media employ around 800 people overall (550 of whom have an immigrant background). A growing need is felt to reform the professional law, according to which a newspaper in foreign language must be run by an Italian journalist. A first, significant step was taken with the Rome Charter (approved by the Journalist Association and the National Press Federation in June 2008), a Deontology Code concerning asylum seekers, refugees and migrants.
Last update: May, 2016
On the cultural demand side, the most recent: ISTAT multipurpose survey (2014) shows that women are relatively well placed in the participation rate for some cultural activities: they actually are slightly more frequent book readers than men (48% versus 34% respectively), and are more frequent theatre goers (21% to 17%). On the other hand, they are less frequent cinema goers (46 % against 49%), while attendance at classical music concerts is equally low for both sexes (9%). Participation rates for women are lower for TV watching and for reading newspapers, at 42% against 53%.
Women are also quite discriminated in the cultural labour market. In fact, female intellectuals and artists often have a hard time making a living in cultural occupations, notably in the performing arts where, according to ENPALS data, they earn on average about 1/3 less, and tend to be dismissed after their forties. Music is the cultural field in which women are least represented, whereas they are doing better in journalism, and often dominate in some of the less paid humanistic professions (librarians, archaeologists, etc.) However, the situation is gradually improving, as the trend in women's employment in the cultural field has been quite positive in recent years: according to the last available ISTAT data, their ratio increased from 34% of the total cultural occupations in 1993 to 43% in 2010.
As far as employment in MiBACT is concerned, women are, generally speaking, well represented: as a matter of fact, around 54% of the employed are women, frequently occupying the highest offices. They are to be found, though, much more frequently in the heritage offices than in the performing arts.
In the latter domain, in general, women have been until now quite poorly represented, in particular among gatekeepers in key theatrical and musical institutions like the "Fondazioni liriche". Only one out of the fourteen "sovrintendenti" heading the fondazioni liriche is actually a woman. The same was true until recently for the cultural industries. In the latter sector, though, with Marina Berlusconi, President of Mondadori – the main Italian publishing house - and Monica Maggioni President of RAI, women are now holding some of the highest positions in the Italian media.
On the other hand, research carried out in 2006 by the Foundation "Donne in Musica" and CENSIS on the representation of women's image in the media, showed how unfair and stereotyped this representation still was in Italian TV programmes. Things got worst in the subsequent years, giving way to heated lobbying in defence of female dignity by the Committee Women in the media. As a first positive result, the Radio-Television Service Contract 2011-2012, entrusted RAI with the task of monitoring in its programmes "the enforcement of peer opportunities among genders…and the appropriateness of female representation…by avoiding stereotypes such as women as objects".
This information will be published as soon as possible.
Last update: May, 2016
Cultural minorities have become a very hot issue in Italy in relatively recent times. It is necessary, however, to distinguish between autochthonous minorities, established in Italy centuries ago, and eterochthonous minorities: i.e., the constantly growing number of migrants from Eastern Europe, Africa, Asia and Latin America.
On the one hand, the rights of the autochthonous, officially recognised cultural minorities (Germans and Ladins in the province of Bolzano, Slovenians and Croatiansin Friuli Venezia Giulia, Greeks and Albanians in Southern Italy and Sicily, Catalans in Sardinia) have been well safeguarded through national and regional legislation since the post-war period (most notably by Law 482/1999), and guaranteed by the 1947 Constitution, Article 6 (see chapter 2.5.4). They all enjoy citizen status and the related civic and cultural rights, with a particular focus on language matters. The only exception to this rule is represented by the Roma community, still significantly segregated (around 40 000 live in "camps"), although 90 000 of the 180 000 Roma and Sinti reckoned to be living in Italy enjoy citizen status, and only 3% of them are "nomads" (First National Report on the condition of Roma and Sinti people in Italy 2014, by"Associazione 21 luglio").
As for the cultural integration of migrant communities, Italy started to deal with the issue of developing a sound policy framework for immigration and integration only recently by comparison with other EU countries. In fact, immigration from the less developed areas of the world is a relatively new phenomenon in our country. It gradually started in the 1970s to gain momentum in the following decades, with the number of regular foreign residents virtually doubling every 10 years and knowing a further increase after 2000, but slowing down for the first time around 2009-2010 and in the subsequent years due to the economic crisis: according to Fondazione ISMU, the flow of "economic migrants" decreased by 84% since 2010. On the other hand, the increasing length of stay (in spite of the unfavourable economic conditions) and the number of migrants being awarded citizenship status (just by way of example, 231 000 people with a migrant background became Italian citizens, against 213 000 arrived by sea, over the same period 2013-2014) point to a gradual shift "from workers to population" (Fondazione ISMU, 2015). Needless to say, this poses new challenges to cultural policy makers.
According to the latest data, foreign residents in Italy with a regular permit amounted to 5 415 000 (including migrants not yet enrolled in the civil registry) at the beginning of 2015, accounting for around 9.5% of the Usually Resident Italian population; if we then consider the estimated number of illegal immigrants, the actual amount of the migrant population in Italy could be as high as 5 819 000 (Fondazione ISMU, 2015).
Figure 1: Foreign residents with a regular residence permit, years 1970, 1980, 1990, 2000, 2005, 2009 and 2015*
Source: Fondazione ISMU elaboration on data by ISTAT 2015.
* 1 January 2015.
This sharp increase over the years is mostly due to our country's rapidly ageing population and the consequent demand for immigrant labour force, as well as to Italy's geographical position at the crossroads between the African and the Asian continent, and at the doorstep of Eastern Europe. In fact, immigration from the latter has grown exponentially, so much so that,at the beginning of2015, Romanians and Albanians alone accounted for 30% of the migrant population as a whole. However, it is worth noting that while, for a few years, the spotlight was on the staggering increase of migrants from Eastern Europe, more recently it moved on immigration flows from Asia (see also Table 1): Eurostat data, in fact, show that Italy was the first European country of immigration for Asian people at the end of 2013 (1 070 784 residence permits against 936 361 in Great Britain).
Table 1 ranks in absolute and percentage terms the eighth most represented nationalities of immigrants with a regular residence permit at the beginning of 2015.
Table 1: Foreign residents with a regular residence permit: most represented nationalities, 2015
|Country of origin||Absolute numbers||% var. 2015/2014|
|Romania||1 131 839||+ 4.6|
|Albania||490 483||– 1.1|
|Morocco||449 058||– 1.3|
|China||265 820||+ 3.5|
|Ukraine||226 060||+ 3.2|
|Philippines||168 238||+ 3.4|
|India||147 815||+ 3.7|
|Moldova||147 388||– 1.4|
|Bangladesh||115 301||+ 3.7|
|Peru||109 668||– 0.2|
|Total 10 countries||...|
Sources: ISTAT 2014 and 2015.
* 1st January 2015.
The most recent evolution in the socio-demographic makeup of Italy's population is particularly evident in schools: according to Fondazione ISMU (2015), foreign students now account for around 9%of the overall school population.
Table 2: Foreign students in Italian schools: 2000-2014
|School year||Numbers||% of the overall school population|
Source: Fondazione ISMU elaboration on data by the Ministry of Education, 2015.
In 2014, foreign workers employed in Italy were 2 294 000 (1 238 000 men and 1 056 000 women), accounting for more than one-tenth of the total number of employed persons (10.3%) and 8.8% of GDP (Caritas Migrantes 2015, http://www.dossierimmigrazione.it/docnews/file/Scheda%20Dossier%202015%20in%20inglese.pdf ), which means that the immigrant workforce continues to play a useful role in support of the Italian economic and productive system. According to a report issued in March 2016 by the Ministry for Economic Affairs and Finance, the 525 000 businesses run by immigrants in 2014 accounted for 8.7% of the total number of registered businesses in Italy, and for 10.1% of total businesses in the Centre-North of our country. The same report argues that over 600 000 Italians receive their retirement benefits every year thanks to the insurance contributions paid by migrant workers.
The impact of this constantly growing migratory wave on the Italian society cannot be fully understood without taking into account the huge diaspora experienced by our own country between the late 19th century and the 1960s. The abrupt shift from being a country of emigration (although data by Caritas Migrantes point to a significant increase in Italians leaving their country to work abroad: over 94 000 in 2013 – of whom 17.5% surprisingly coming from Lombardy, one of the most developed regions – against 78 900 in 2012, 50 000 in 2011 and 40 000 in 2010) to becoming a country of immigration took Italy by surprise: unlike post-colonial countries such as Great Britain, France and the Netherlands, our nation had first to deal with emergency issues such as welcoming and assisting the growing wave of newcomers, and establishing a legal framework to regulate this new phenomenon. In fact, legislation dealing with immigration adopted since the 1990s may be described as a work in progress, constantly lurching from integration to expulsion, and mainly subject to the shifting political viewpoints of the state and local governments.
Law 39/1990 was the first piece of legislation to deal with the issue of integrating the newcomers. Subsequently, Leg. Decree 286/1998, adopted by the centre-left government, put immigration on a more legal footing, by also providing entitlements to basic social services (in particular the right to education, social security, and national healthcare services). Law 189/2002 – adopted by Berlusconi's government during a time when the influx of illegal migrants grew exponentially – on the other hand, tightened border controls and introduced a highly restrictive immigration regime, as well as easier expulsion procedures. With the centre-left coalition shortly back in power (2006-2008), a shift in policy occurred once again,the integration of "new minorities" ranking high among political priorities. However, a draft law endorsed to facilitate access to citizenship was dropped when Berlusconi's right-wing coalition once again won the election in 2008, partly by promising to crack down on crime and immigration. Tough new measures to fight illegal immigration and crime were introduced through Law 94/2009, which made illegal immigration a crime, provided for higher taxes (e.g. to obtain the residence permit), and made access to basic social services for legal migrants more difficult.
The government of non-politicians led by Mario Monti (2011-2013) showed a different attitude towards immigration and integration issues, so much so that a new Ministry for International Cooperation and Integration was created (although the Ministry of the Interior still remains the key actor in this domain, see chapter 2.5.1). In March 2012, an "integration agreement" originally provided for by Leg. Decree 286/1998 was introduced to promote a mutual engagement between the state and newly-arrived adult immigrants (from the age of 16 onwards), through language literacy, the knowledge of key civic principles and respect of the "Charter of Values, Rights and Integration" (2007).
The appointment of Congo-born Italian citizen Cecile Kyenge as Minister for Integration in the coalition government led by Enrico Letta (2013-2014) prompted a much-needed discussion on race. In fact, as an investigative report by the daily newspaper La Repubblica highlights ("Che razza di Stato", May 2014), immigrants are affected by several forms of "institutional discrimination", from the time required to obtain citizenship (4 years on average), to the new legislation on public employment, still excluding regular migrants with short residence permits; from the offence of illegal immigration, to the loss of the right to the settlement of tax and national insurance payments made by an immigrant going back to his / her country of origin, in the absence of reciprocity agreements with the Italian state. As far as the cultural sector is concerned, finally, the children of immigrants regularly going to school but without Italian citizenship are denied free access (as envisaged for any other student) to several museums and cultural institutions.
Under the new coalition government led by Matteo Renzi, immigration and Mediterranean policy have been included among Italy's priorities. Meanwhile, the immigrant traffic across the Mediterranean has soared. In 2014 Italy was the main landing place for immigrants coming to Europe by sea, with 170 000 people arriving from North Africa. In 2015, migratory flows changed once again (with 83% of arrivals concentrating in Greece), due to the humanitarian crisis in Syria and the increasing risks connected with the Lybia-Italy route. In this context, Italy is increasingly becoming a country "of transit" towards Northern Europe: in 2014, only 60 000 of the 170 000 arrived by sea were accommodated (Fondazione ISMU, 2015). This has done little, however, "to deter the anti-immigrant rhetoric of the country's rising far right. The Northern League made gains in local elections after campaigning against the migrant invasion" (The Guardian, June 2015).
In spite of the growing xenophobic tone in political debate, a new law on citizenship was approved by the Chamber of Deputies in February 2016, and is now awaiting ratification by the Senate. It would introduce a “tempered ius soli”, i.e. the right for children born in Italy to immediately become citizens (to date, only eighteen-year olds can apply for citizenship) on condition that at least one of their parents has a residence permit.
In this general framework of alternate moods towards immigration, it is not surprising that migrant communities' fundamental right to culture and freedom of expression, enshrined in the Constitution, has not yet been recognised and explicitly promoted – let alone regulated through specific legislation – by the state administration. On the other hand, this gap has been partly filled by recent measures taken at the regional and local level. In the past decade or so, a number of regional laws have been passed in implementation of Leg. Decree 286/1998 (see above) with the specific aim of promoting the social integration of migrant residents. Many of them, (Liguria's Regional Law 7/2007, Lazio's Regional Law 10/2008, Marche's Regional Law 13/2009, Tuscany's Regional Law 29/2009, Calabria's Regional Law 18/2009 and Puglia's Regional Law 32/2009), explicitly mention "intercultural education and communication" and the "safeguard of cultural identities" as a means for integration; some (most notably Tuscany's) also refer to "the use of the media".
At the local level, many cities in the North and Centre of Italy have appointed representative bodies to promote the civic integration of their growing immigrant communities. More recently, their example was followed by the City of Palermo, which established its Consulta delle Culture (Council of Cultures) in 2013; along with the areas of concern typical of these representative bodies (education, health, social services, employment etc.), the Council also deals with "assisting migrant associations in the design and implementation of cultural, social, economic projects" and with "promoting / supporting initiatives aimed at fostering respect and knowledge of the cultural, linguistic and historical background of immigrants, while helping the latter to familiarise, in turn, with the culture, language and history of the local population". The local administration also drafted the "Charter of Palermo – From migration as suffering to mobility as an inalienable human right" (March 2015, https://www.iom.int/sites/default/files/our_work/ICP/IDM/2015_CMC/Session-IIIb/Orlando/PDF-CARTA-DI-PALERMO-Statement.pdf), affirming, among other things, the "right to intercultural exchange and cross-fertilisation". Finally, following the International Conference "Culture, cultural diversity and sustainable development: opportunities and challenges for the Mediterranean" (Palermo, November 2015) – promoted by MiBACT, MAE, the City of Palermo and the Associazione per l'Economia della Cultura – a final declaration was issued, where the institutions involved commit themselves, among other things, to "raising the awareness of the importance of the tangible and intangible cultural heritage, and of its safeguarding and enhancement, as well as of the promotion of artistic creation and of the cultural and creative industries, to foster mutual understanding, inter-Mediterranean cooperation and the integration of migrant communities".
In general, however – as it often happens not only in Italy, but elsewhere in Europe – cultural matters concerning immigrant communities still tend to be automatically assigned to social policy and do not seem to concern cultural administrators / institutions and the arts sector as a whole, with some noteworthy exceptions at local level and an increased interest shown by MiBACT in the past 4-5 years (see chapter 2.5.1).
Last update: May, 2016
The Italian response to the recent public policy awareness of the multidimensional and interdependent nature of social exclusion – which has lead, in some member states of the EU, to a growing recognition of the potential impact of culture on the other dimensions of exclusion (economic, social, political) – is somewhat mixed.
Very little in the way of central government social policy focuses on culture as a specific issue which might be important to social inclusion. Likewise, until recently there has hardly been any explicit policy on the part of MiBACT to promote social cohesion; this clearly emerged in the early 2000s – a time when "social cohesion" had become a buzz-word in many national contexts also as far as cultural policies were concerned – from a transnational, in-depth study carried out by the University of Northumbria on behalf of the DG for Employment and Social Affairs (Gordon et al., 2004), and still largely remained the case throughout the decade although with a few exceptions (see below the Memorandum of Understanding signed in 2006 with the Ministry of Justice). This is hardly surprising, as Italian cultural policies have long seen heritage protection as their main purpose, and have traditionally paid very scant attention to issues of access, participation and cultural diversity.
This trend is now being partly reversed by initiatives such as the Ministry's project "#MigraArti", launched in December 2015 (http://www.beniculturali.it/mibac/multimedia/MiBAC/documents/1450202710153_bando_migrarti_cinema.pdf, see chapter 4.2.7), or the conference jointly promoted by MiBACT and the Fitzcarraldo Foundation in 2014 on the theme "Measuring Impacts of the Valorisation of Cultural Heritage. Tools for evidence-based policies" (http://www.beniculturali.it/mibac/multimedia/MiBAC/documents/1412854836646_programma_logo_IT_30_9.pdf). In its first year of activity, the recently established DG for Contemporary Art, Architecture and Urban Suburbs, entrusted with cultural policies aimed at fostering the regeneration of deprived neighbourhoods (http://www.aap.beniculturali.it/periferie_urbane.html, see also chapter 4.2.7), promoted, organised or supported a number of multidisciplinary programmes and projects, including: the "LIMES Atlas of Urban Suburbs", the workshops of the "Art and Light" series (a partnership with Save the Children), the "Experimenting Art! Museums and Artists in Schools" (a partnership with the MIUR and AMACI – Association of Italian Contemporary Art Museums) and "Biennale 2016: Workshop of social architecture".
The local level, where tradition and practice are well-rooted, appears to be the natural arena for co-operation between the social and cultural agendas. Explicit references to the promotion of cultural access and participation as well as to the safeguard of "cultural identity" may be found in many Regional Social Plans; the President of Regione Lazio, Nicola Zingaretti, launched a "Manifesto for arts and culture as a vehicle of social cohesion" in 2013 (http://www.nicolazingaretti.it/blog/manifesto-per-la-cultura-e-larte-come-strumento-di-coesione-sociale/).
More in general, there is quite an impressive range of successful programmes and activities linking culture with social inclusion being developed on the ground, although they are often isolated and fragmented, as well as undermined by the discontinuity of resources made available at national and local level. A growing body of evidence is available on such projects, thanks to a number of research projects carried out throughout the 2000s by Rome-based European Centre for Cultural Organisation and Management (ECCOM, 2003 and 2006), the former Ente Teatrale Italiano (ETI et al., 2003), and Fondazione Cariplo (S. Bodo, Da Milano, Mascheroni, 2009; see below). More recently, research was carried out on both the Italian situation as a whole (e.g. ECCOM survey on migrants' cultural participation, 2015, https://mcpbroker.files.wordpress.com/2015/06/mcp_resarch-italy.pdf), and specific case studies (e.g. Fitzcarraldo Foundation's study on the socio-cultural and economic impact of Operaestate Festival Veneto, 2012, http://www.fitzcarraldo.it/ricerca/pdf/operaestate_report.pdf).
Most of the activities documented in these research projects are planned and implemented through more or less structured partnerships between cultural institutions and social, welfare, health and learning agencies; it is worth noting, however, that the tradition of "social theatre" in Italy is by far more established and well-rooted than is the case with heritage institutions, which have only recently started to explore their potential contribution towards combating social exclusion. This different degree of "maturity" is also reflected in inter-institutional agreements. Some examples:
- the Memorandum of Understanding signed in 2000 by the Ministry of Justice, Regione Toscana, the provincial administration of Pisa, the City of Volterra and ETI, which led to the establishment of the National Centre for Theatre in Prisons;
- the Memorandum of Understanding signed by MiBACT (Department of Performing Arts) and the Ministry of Justice for the rehabilitation of inmates through performing arts programmes and activities (2006); more in particular, the agreement is aimed at providing offenders with professional skills and reemployment opportunities;
- the establishment, following Tuscany's example, of the second regional networking project on theatre in prisons in 2011: Coordinamento Teatro Carcere Emilia Romagna);
- the Memorandum of Understanding signed in 2013 by the Coordinamento Nazionale dei Teatri in Carcere e l'Istituto Superiore di Studi Penitenziari/ISSP (Ministry of Justice).
Theatre is in fact – with 112 theatre groups registered by the Ministry of Justice in 2012 – the most widespread cultural activity in Italian prisons. So much so that a specific art form, Prison Theatre, has gradually gained notoriety and prestige over the past twenty years, thanks to the work carried out by theatre directors such as Armando Punzo at the Carcere di Volterra or Fabio Cavalli at the Carcere di Rebibbia in Rome, which gave life to outstanding productions and initiatives, drawing the attention of important movie directors (e.g. the Taviani brothers, whose film "Caesar must die" was awarded the Golden Bear at the Berlin International Film Festival in 2012); in several cases, Italian jails have indeed become places of groundbreaking cultural production and experimentation. A themed issue of "Economia della Cultura" (the journal of the Italian Association for Cultural Economics) recently devoted to "Culture in prison in Italy and Europe", however, shows how culture is being increasingly acknowledged as a vehicle for the rehabilitation and reintegration of inmates also in other cultural domains, such as libraries (see the Memorandum of understanding signed in 2013 by the Ministry of Justice and the Association of Prison Libraries for the "promotion and management of library services in Italian prisons", http://www.aib.it/struttura/commissioni-e-gruppi/2013/36155-protocollo-dintesa-carceri/) and museums (see the groundbreaking work carried out by the Gallery of Modern and Contemporary Art in Bergamo since 2006, http://gamec.it/mostre-in-corso-e-future/).
On the whole, it is possible to identify a number of consolidated best practices, and this shows how, notwithstanding the lack of an adequate institutional, legislative and policy-making framework, the work jointly carried out at a local level by cultural and social operators to combat exclusion can be both fruitful and creative.
An interesting recent trend in combining cultural and social inclusion goals is exemplified by the Fondazione Cariplo, a major banking foundation based in Milan. Taking the cue from a study commissioned in 2008-2009 (see above) with a view to developing a new grant programme specifically devoted to promoting the inclusive potential of cultural policies in deprived neighbourhoods, Fondazione Cariplo launched two new calls for proposals, respectively devoted to "Promoting social cohesion through public libraries" and "Creating new audiences for culture" (still running on a yearly basis); more recently, a new call has been devoted to the "Cultural protagonism of citizens" (2014). This may point to future developments in the role of banking as well as corporate foundations as emerging partners of public authorities in support of the cultural sector (see chapter 6.3). In fact, the past 3-4 years have seen a growing convergence between two programme areas which have traditionally been kept separate in the foundations' grant-making lines: arts and culture on the one hand, and social services on the other.
On a similar note, Fondazione Unipolis (connected with the Unipol banking and insurance group) launched the "Culturability" call for proposals in 2014, with the aim to reinforce the connection between culture and social cohesion in "problematic" territorial contexts, (http://culturability.org/culturability/)
Finally, and quite interestingly, another award specifically devoted to cultural projects with "high social impacts" has been promoted since 2014 by a network of private actors – see the "cheFare" call for proposals (https://bando.che-fare.com/).
This information will be published as soon as possible.
Last update: May, 2016
In recent times, the main challenge in Italian cultural policy-making has been undoubtedly how to cope with the progressively growing constraints in the public and private financial resources supporting the cultural field brought about by several subsequent financial stability laws (see chapter 2.1 and chapter 7.1).
New ideas and movements originated from the need to react to some of the negative effects of the related additional austerity measures. One of the most innovative emerged in the aftermath of the suppression, by the Stability law 2010, of Ente Teatrale Italiano (ETI), the Italian arm's length state institute for the promotion of theatre and dance established in 1942 (see chapter 4.2.3). Following ETI's abolishment and the transfer of its staff to MIBACT's DG for the Performing Arts, its three theatres were put on the market. Teatro La Pergola, in Florence, became a foundation owned by the municipality itself and by a banking foundation, whereas Teatro Quirino, in Rome, was privatised. But when the third theatre, Teatro Valle (the oldest theatre in Rome, founded in 1727), was about to be privatised as well, an upheaval of theatre people – actors, directors, musicians, and the whole Roman theatre community – fiercely opposed that decision by occupying the theatre in June 2011. This occupation has been going on for three years, during which the community running the "Occupied Teatro Valle" was able to offer its audience hundreds of theatre, music, dance and film performances, thanks to the solidarity of artists performing for free on the Valle's stage, including Peter Stein, Anatoly Vassiliev, Valery Gergiev, Dario Fo, Franca Rame, Nanni Moretti, etc. Meanwhile, though, utilities and other operating expenses were the responsibility of the theatre's owner, the Rome Municipality…
The theatre's occupation finally came to an end in August 2014. According to an agreement between MIBACT and the Municipality, Teatro Valle has been entrusted to the municipal Teatro di Roma, and thus added to its two existing venues: the Teatro Argentina, another historical municipal theatre, and the experimental, suburban Teatro India: a quite satisfactory compromise indeed for all parties, ruling out privatisation.
The theatre's occupation gave rise to a broad movements of citizens, aimed at supporting a category of goods meeting the fundamental rights of the whole citizenship and enjoying a special status: common goods / "beni comuni" (among which cultural goods, air and water – the latter also threatened by privatisation in Italy). Thousands of Circles of "Citizens for the common good" have thus been created throughout the country (see also Salvatore Settis, Azione popolare. Cittadini per il Bene Comune, 2012).
It should also be mentioned that, in 2013, the idea of culture as a common good and as a fundamental right (in terms both of access and creativity) for all citizens, including those with a migrant background, has been authoritatively endorsed for the first time by a Minister for Heritage, Massimo Bray, in the introduction to his Programme Report for his Ministry in front of the Parliament (see chapter 2.1).