20447 - CULTURAL MEDIATION
Course taught in English
Go to class group/s: 19
Lezioni della classe erogate in presenza
The course concentrate on Cultural Mediation as the entrepreneurial core of any cultural production and cultural exchange process. A cultural exchange cannot be conceived as mere “transportation” or transfer of contents, it always implies a transformation of meanings. A cultural exchange always implies an act of creation and takes form from a set of choices. For example, a music is not only a “score”. Music implies the performance of a musician or an orchestra, an interpretation and a settings that define the ways of listening to it: in other terms a mediation process. In the same way, the meaning of a news passes through, and is modified by, the editing practices and the medium characteristics that diffuses it. In the visual arts, the narratives implicit into an image are influenced by the structure of the display. In this perspective Cultural mediation becomes a core notion for cultural production systems: a process that involves artists, managers and entrepreneurs in their mutual relationships and raises, at the same time, theoretical and practical questions. Is it possible to conceptualize and represent this process? Is it possible to consider this process unilaterally, only through cultural lens, or only considering its managerial dimensions? Which are the implications of the multiple layers that need to be considered? Which are the unavoidable ethical and political responsibilities that it implies?
The first part of the course is dedicated at the construction of the main definitions, conceptual and historical frames of the subject.
- One of the main topic insists on the relationships between cultural productions and politics, with a particular attention to the notion of public sphere and to the role of images, visual productions and narratives.
- A second topic is dedicated to the notion of cultural entrepreneurship.
- A third considers the role of cultural entrepreneurs in the historical transformation of cultural production systems.
A consistent part of the course concentrates on important cases of cultural entrepreneurship that represented referential innovations in their specific field.
At the end of the course, the student will be able to deal critically with a list of relevant issues related to the management of culture:
- The need for a critical contextualization (time and space) for the understanding of cultural phenomena and a longitudinal (often long term) observation of its institutional evolution.
- The understanding of “culture” as a practice and a process connected to change, transformation and resistance to transformation. Cultural productions, exchanges, diffusions and refusals always imply a political dimension and power relationship.
- The notion of network and social spaces, scenes and fields, as cultural incubators, environments, wombs of the cultural development of specific places in specific historical moments.
- The peculiar nature of cultural policies and cultural institutions, the need for public-private cooperative behaviours, the complexity of the connection between cultural dynamics and local / urban development.
- The notion of “embodiment”, which is crucial in order to understand the nature, the resilience and the fragility of cultural processes and practices.
- The notion of “translation” and / or “resonance” in order to understand the re-enactments that produce cultural diffusion.
- The complexity of the evaluation of cultural “qualities”.
Practice a critical understanding of :
- The overall historical transformation of cultural fields.
- The professional competencies included in the profile of cultural mediators and entrepreneurs.
- The multidimensional understanding of the consequences of cultural mediation processes.
- Face-to-face lectures
- Guest speaker's talks (in class or in distance)
- Individual assignments
The teaching methods are mainly focused on the discussion of specific cases of cultural mediation and cultural enterpreneurship at least one of them implies a specific company visit and direct involvement of the managerial team. In principle the cases are:
- Palazzo Te and the development of an Art City. Palazzo Te is a magnificent Renaissance summer palace built by the Gonzaga family in Mantua in the first half of 16th century. The architecture and the frescoes in the palace represent a masterpiece of the most important scholar of Raffaello, Giulio Romano and is considered one of the most important landmark of Manierismo in Europe. Palazzo Te developed as an exhibition centre since the early nineties. Mantua is 40 thousand people city that in the last 15 years faced relevant shift in its identity and sustainability models, due to a progressive marginalisation of its cultural scene and de-industrialisation. In 2016 Mantua has been awarded by the title of Italian Capital of Culture as a consequence of a culture-led revitalisation process. Palazzo Te claimed a central role in this process and is now on the verge of re-defining its institutional and strategic perspective.
- Chicago Interrupted: violence, representation and civil action (Marta Equi and Simone Autera). The city of Chicago (Illinois) in the last twenty years do represent an extreme case of successful cultural policies in the aesthetization of the city center in the perspective of creating the condition for a “creative city”. But at the same time Chicago is the theatre of a permanent gangs war that produces hundreds of victims each year particularly in the poorest quartiers and blocks. Recently the issue has been treated by a documentary movie (The interrupters) on a specific violence reduction oriented cultural project; by a movie produced by Spike Lee (Chiraq); by new media groups (Vice); by artists (Theaster Gates). The case analyses the different narratives and perspectives activated by these projects, looking at their narratives, at the representation of the issue, and at understanding how specifically cultural mediation works in a violent environment. The final part of the course is a wide debrief session with a substantial partecipation by the class:
- Readings, Conversations, Debriefs. A fourth part is dedicated to session specifically aimed at integrating the different notions developed by the cases through a confrontation with a very special cultural entrepreneur and critic, Francesca Recchia, that spent the last years in territories and societies characterized by strong imbalances in the structure of the public and political sphere, particularly for war reasons (Kashmir and Afghanistan). The Lecturer proposes a set of different readings and themes in order to elaborate a vision of the relations between cultural projects, political action, care and protection of the individuals and the people.
The status of “attending” student is valid only for the two first exam sessions (May and June). From September, all students taking the exam are enrolled as non-attending. Attending students are assessed based on a final Written exam (100% of the grade). The exam is a mix of open questions and of one essay type question; the exam paper is based on the Teaching Material, including compulsory readings, lecturers slides, guest speakers’ seminar material and discussions held in class. The exam assesses students understanding and capacity of description of the main theoretical knowledge and concepts, and their ability to connect them to relevant elements and implications emerged during class discussions. Finally, it engages students in a personal analysis about managerial issues relating to course contents, through a critique of the theoretical fundamentals and with a further personal development. Exam specifications:
- The exam consists of two sections, articulated as follows:
- 3 open questions, closed books, based on course notes, presentations and readings. This section assesses students' understanding and capacity of description of the main theoretical knowledge and concepts, also connecting them to relevant elements and implications emerged from the testimonies of the practiotioners who were invited to the course.
- 1 essay type, open book, question based on course notes, presentations and readings. This section assesses students' ability to analyze important issues relating to the course contents, to argue and express a view about those issues, with appropriate language, through a critique to theoretical fundamentals and with a further personal development.
Non-attending students are assessed based on a final Written exam (100% of the grade). The exam is a closed-book exam where students are asked to answer two open questions; the exam paper is based on the Teaching Material, including compulsory readings and lecturers slides.
The exam assesses students' familiarity with the main theoretical knowledge and concepts, as well as their ability to analyze important issues relating to the course contents, to argue and express a view about those issues, with appropriate language, through a critique to theoretical fundamentals and with a further personal development. Exam specifications:
- The exam comprises three open questions. Students have to answer to two out of the three questions, each answer weights 50% of the final mark. The exam lasts 90 minutes. Both questions are based on the Teaching Material.
Slides and readings delivered before and after specific lectures.
Fixed list of readings, Specifically:
- EGEA Reading package cod. 20447 (you need to buy it at EGEA store) following readings on course reserve, https://lib.unibocconi.it/search*eng/r?SEARCH=20447&submit=Go.
- L. KARPIK, Valuing the unique, (chapters 1,2,4,5,18).
- T. ADORNO, The culture industry, (chapters 1 "On the fetish character of music and the regression of listening").
- T.W. CHAN, J.H. GOLDTHORPE, Social Stratification and Cultural Consumption: the visual arts in England, in Poetics, v. 35, Elsevier, 2007.
- POTTS, CUNNINGHAM, HARTELY, ORMEROD, Social Network markets: a new definition of the creative industries, in Journal of cultural economics, v. 32, Springer, 2008.