“…che la cultura, più che mai oggi, sia uno strumento irrinunciabile per scrivere il nostro futuro”.
It is becoming increasingly apparent that culture is an ever-present dimension in different debates, beyond the traditional artistic-cultural one: culture as a right, culture as wellbeing and welfare, culture as a commons, culture as a factor of social and economic development, culture as education, culture as a driving force for urban regeneration, culture as a resource for sustainable development, culture as citizenship.
Besides the emergence of a participatory and collaborative approach in conceiving and managing cultural projects, events and institutions, there is an ever-raising awareness of the intersectoral implications of culture as a process, also in terms of spillover effects. This is particularly enhanced and demonstrated by European and international policies, documents and initiatives as well as by the celebration of 2018 as the European Year of Cultural Heritage: documents such as “Council Conclusions on cultural heritage as a strategic resource for a sustainable Europe” (May 2014, available here), emphasizing the role and relevance of cultural heritage for a “smart, sustainable and inclusive growth”, “Commission Communication towards an integrated approach to cultural heritage for Europe” (July 2014, available here) and its related documents, or the final results of “Cultural Heritage counts for Europe” project (2013-2015), which deeply recommends the adoption of an holistic approach to cultural heritage.
As for the participatory issue, it is promoted by the EU with the “Council conclusions on the participatory governance of cultural heritage” (2014, available here) and the interesting “Mapping of practices in the EU Member States on Participatory governance of cultural heritage” (2015, to be found here), realized by the EENC-European Expert Network on Culture within the OMC Working group on cultural heritage.
Also UNESCO approved a specific project “Approaches to participatory governance of cultural institutions”, carried out by Kultura Nova Foundation in Croatia and supported by UNESCO’s Cultural Diversity Fund (June 2016-June 2018). Moreover, in its paper “Engaging local communities in Stewardship of World Heritage” (World Heritage, paper nr 40, November 2014, available here) it calls for community engagement at all stages of the World Heritage process, by learning experience from the Community Management of Protected Areas Conservation (COMPACT) methodology.
This collaborative and comprehensive trend is also emerging in many cooperatives, associations and organizations’ practices, both for international and local projects. For instance, the outstanding project and participatory process of Matera 2019 European Capital of Culture, or the experience of Hotel du Nord in Marseille, an inhabitants’ cooperative providing a network of accomodations and hosts and touring opportunities through heritage walks, or that of La Paranza in Naples, a cooperative of young people from the disadvantaged neighbourhood Rione Sanità managing the Paleochristian Catacombs.
The Commons Post, aware of the fundamental role played by culture, is committed to investigate this topic by proposing different cases and best practices, both international and local, throughout the year. The European and international policies and initiatives and the potential, the role, the effects of culture-driven processes led by different communities in different contexts will come under the spotlight.
Our purpose is to stress the leading role of culture in many changes under way. It’s time to overcome a short-sighted approach to culture and to acknowledge its long term sustainable contribution to the formulation of effective policies, processes and projects.
Because culture sounds future!
 Dal Pozzolo L., Garbarini A., Oltre la sindrome del Vilcoyote. Politiche culturali per disegnare il futuro. Luca Dal Pozzolo, Aldo Garbarini in conversazione con Francesco De Biase, FrancoAngeli, 2016, p.9
La cultura come filo rosso che attraversa numerosi dibattiti e processi di sviluppo. La sua centralità in questa fase di cambiamento e l’esigenza di un approccio sempre più trasversale e di lungo termine non viene soltanto sottolineata da numerosi documenti europei, ma emerge anche dalle pratiche messe in atto da associazioni, cooperative e organizzazioni di varia natura a vari livelli. Per questo motivo, la cultura sarà tra le tematiche su cui andremo a concentrare la nostra attenzione nel 2017.