8.4 Promoting culture and cultural participation
Reducing obstacles to young people’s access to culture
The main actions taken to facilitate the access of young people to the artistic and cultural heritage of the area are:
- The National Youth Card (CGN) was established by art. 1, paragraph 413, of law 160/2019 (budget law 2020), in order to promote access to goods and services to Italian and European citizens residing in Italy, aged between 18 and 35, supporting the process of growth and encouraging opportunities. From March 2021, the CGN allows for assistance to access goods, services and opportunities on the national and European territory. The Card is linked to the European Card managed by the European Youth Card Association (EYCA) to which the Department of Youth Policies and Universal Civic Service has joined. The use of this tool wants to encourage cultural and educational “consumption”, support the mobility and sociality of young people, change in the digital age, as well as physical and social well-being. The Card is supported by a widespread information campaign as well as a strategic and creative communication plan, to promote and disseminate the Card and the benefits, discounts and opportunities offered by companies operating in Italy and beyond. The information campaign makes use of traditional media, digital platforms, firstly the “Giovani 2030” one and its social networks, through targeted communication tools: institutional launch events, audio-visual productions, newsletters, social campaigns with testimonials, video with first-hand accounts of the experiences of young people.
IoStudio - La carta dello studente. The initiative, promoted by the Ministry of Education, is part of the right to study and student welfare actions. With IoStudio, upper secondary school students can take advantage of the first private/public partnership network in Italy for young people. This network offers discounts and concessions of a cultural and edutainment nature for cinemas, museums, books, school and audio-visual material, telephones and internet, technology, travel and study holidays. All this to also encourage student mobility, access to architectural and environmental heritage, the use of products and services of a technological nature to support teaching.
Expansion of the free access system to cultural heritage. Decree 9 January 2019, n. 13 issued by the former MiBACT expanded the system of free access to cultural heritage by citizens and in particular by young people. In addition to the already existing initiative of free Sundays in cultural heritage from October to March of every year, a further eight free days have been introduced. Particular attention is paid to young people between 18 and 28 years with the introduction of a discounted rate of two euros for non-free days, while for children under 18, admission is always free. The initiative was temporarily suspended due to the Covid-19 epidemic but has recently been reconfirmed by MiC.
Disseminating information on cultural opportunities
The importance of communicating to young people the opportunities offered to them through digital and innovative communication channels is recognized at an institutional level, especially in consideration of the significant changes inherent in the youth media diet, as demonstrated by recent national and international studies on the topic (ISTAT, We are social). These changes have inevitably led central and peripheral institutions to adapt and equip themselves with dedicated communication plans as well as implement social media policies aimed at promoting the image of Italy in Europe and in the world, giving visibility to events of local and regional, national and international importance.
In 2021, the Department of Youth Policies and Universal Civic Service created the already mentioned GIOVANI2030 project, a web platform for young people between 14 and 35 years of age, with the aim of promoting a dialogue between young people and institutions. The logo shares the colour choice of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development: the colours of the rainbow highlight the multiplicity of opportunities that are intended to be offered to the younger generations.
The GIOVANI2030 platform offers news, insights on volunteering, training, education, culture, entertainment, sport, giving the opportunities to be taken so as to grow in a participatory way. GIOVANI2030 is a digital home that is always open and constantly evolving, ready to welcome proposals, ideas and suggestions from those who want to contribute. The long-term objective is to promote and develop a community capable of providing ideas and contents, also through periodic columns.
There are also platforms dedicated to youth creativity promoted and implemented by public or private institutions and aimed at promoting, valorising and supporting art and creativity:
- GAI – Giovani artisti italiani is an Association for the Circuit of Young Italian Artists created to support youth creativity through training, promotion and research initiatives. The GAI circuit, present since 1989, also carries out programs through the collaboration of public and private subjects.
- Chiamata alle arti is a project started in 2010 to valorise contemporary creativity, promoted by the Youth Observatory (OCPG) of the Department of Political Sciences and Communication of the University of Salerno, with the patronage of the Campania Region. The platform is an institutional showcase of contemporary art and creativity aimed at promoting and legitimizing creative work by involving and informing artists on initiatives, events, exhibitions, artistic collaborations, projects and awards organized by the OCPG Observatory or by the network of connected national and international partners.
- ArTribune is a content and services platform dedicated to contemporary art and culture, founded in 2011 from a private initiative as a tool for information, updating and in-depth analysis in Italy on the themes of art and culture.
Every year the former MiBACT used to implement a Memorandum of Understanding with the Regions containing the Museum valorisation plan with an indication of the main initiatives to be implemented during the year to promote widespread communication throughout the territory and a wider participation in cultural initiatives through involvement in schools. Starting from the analysis of research carried out on participation in cultural sites that showed a lower interest in cultural heritage by young people, it was decided to adopted a series of measures aimed at encouraging youth participation, implementing a social media policy through the use of social channels (Facebook, X (formerly Twitter),Instagram,YouTube, Spotify and TikTok) dedicated to culture and strengthening digital communication with a series of initiatives and campaigns aimed at citizens and in particular young people:
- Gran Virtual Tour: a digital journey throughout the whole Peninsula to explore the beauty of the Italian cultural heritage online through virtual tours of theatres, archives and libraries, museums and state archaeological parks.
- European Heritage Days: the largest and most popular cultural event in Europe to which the MiC adheres to with its own structures in line with the themes launched by the Council of Europe (e.g. 2022 theme: “Sustainable cultural heritage: a legacy for the future”).
- Fumetti nei musei: is a project conceived for children and young people who receive free books by participating in educational activities, workshops and guided tours in state cultural sites.
Finally, Cepell – Centre for books and reading (See 8.2), which aims to implement policies for the dissemination of books and reading in Italy, as well as to promote Italian books and culture abroad through a series of initiatives dedicated to young people such as the already mentioned: Il Maggio dei Libri and Libriamoci.
Knowledge of cultural heritage among young people
The dissemination of knowledge of cultural heritage, especially among the young people, is entrusted to the Centro per i Servizi Educativi Network of Centres of Educational Services (SED) (Centre for Educational Services), which is part of the General Directorate for Education, Research and Cultural Institutes of the MiC in collaboration with the Ministry of Education and Merit. The Centre has the task of supporting the dissemination of knowledge of cultural heritage through educational projects and activities aimed, in particular, at the school sector.
The General Directorate for Education, Research and Cultural Institutes prepares the National Plan for Cultural Heritage Education every year, taking care of the development, verification and evaluation of the actions planned also through the actions of the Centro per i Servizi Educativi (Centre for Educational Services) which collects the activities and projects for cultural heritage education carried out free of charge by the Network of Centres of Educational Services The collection aims to promote educational activities, which include historical-documentary paths, workshops, school-work experience, internships, courses, training and refresher days, series of conferences, aimed at the school and university systems, families, and the general public as well as training proposals for school teaching staff and sector operators.
For the year 2022-2023, More than 1200 courses, workshops, meetings and refresher courses, can be consulted in the dedicated database, intended for all audiences and in particular for the world of schools.
PCTO experience in places of culture. The reform of the national education and training systems introduced the school-work experience, recently renamed “Paths for Transversal Competences and Orientation” (PCTO) as a result of Law 145/2018, art. 1, paragraph 784. It is a teaching methodology that has been integrated into the education system with the aim of enriching higher secondary school curricula with skills that can be used in the labour market (See chapter 6).
This has introduced important innovations in the field of school-work experience, making it mandatory for all students of the final three years of any area of study of upper secondary school. The reform also explicitly indicates museums and other places of culture as privileged places for work experience, with this having resulted in a significant increase in requests from schools.