8.10 Current debates and reforms
Upcoming Political Developments
The most impactful changes are coming from the application of PNRR funding and in particular to the Mission 1, even though 6 out of 17 Milestones & Targets have currently been achieved and none regard the digital transformation and innovation of the cultural heritage, showing that Italy is still quite slow in this kind of innovations despite the big improvements caused by the COVID-19 emergency.
The Creative Europe program 2021-2027 with a budget of €2.44 billion, compared to €1.47 billion for the previous program (2014-2020) invests in actions that enhance cultural diversity and respond to the needs and challenges of the cultural and creative sectors contributing to their recovery, supporting their efforts to become more inclusive, more digital and more environmentally sustainable.
The main objectives of the program are:
safeguard, develop and promote European cultural and linguistic diversity and cultural heritage
strengthen the competitiveness and economic potential of the cultural and creative sectors, in particular the audiovisual sector.
University-world of work debate
The main debate on the relationship between young people and culture, in a broad sense, regards the gap between the competences and skills acquired through university and post-graduate training and the skills required for a rapid and adequate transition into the workplace. The widespread criticism is that academic training, especially in the humanities, is excessively theoretical to the detriment of the need for businesses and employers (public and private) to make use of workers capable of managing production processes. The question arose again the day after the succession to the chair of Rector of the Federico II University of Naples: the press questioned local entrepreneurs to indicate some priority objectives for the future rector of the University. Among the main points, the need was highlighted that experience in the field be added to the theory, increasing internships within companies and with particular reference to the specific needs of SMEs.
On the other hand though, there has been an increasing complaint regarding the tendency to impose production values to academic and intellectual work, forcing those in it in conditions of overworking, especially young people, researchers and those in more precarious positions. This phenomenon has been worsened during the pandemic, particularly with the massive transition to smart working, that in most of the cases didn’t happen with a proper education and transition, but just to deal with the emergency. This cause many cases of burnout but also of violation of people's private lives, with the disappearance of boundaries between working and private life.
Many believe this is caused by “the obsession for productivity” that is spreading also through University and that is pushing people to work more instead of working better, as stated in many articles and opinion pieces.
“Brain drain” debate.
Another heated debate is related to the phenomenon of the so-called “brain drain”, with it being the tendency of young people trained in Italy to move abroad for better-paid job opportunities or simply more suited to individual aspirations or studies.
Debate on the precariousness of cultural professionals
Among the other current debates, it is worth mentioning the precariousness of workers in the creativity, culture and entertainment sector. The annual study entitled “Io sono cultura 2022” highlights growth for the Italian creative and cultural sector, but still precarious working conditions, as emerges from the report of the Centro Studi Doc Foundation. Job insecurity in the culture and entertainment sector is also highlighted by the study “Vita da artisti” (carried out in 2017 by the Di Vittorio foundation, with the support of SLC-CGIL) and by the trans-European study (but with a focus on individual countries, including Italy) 2016-2018, “Independent Workers and Industrial Relations in Europe” (co-funded by the European Commission and produced by I-Wire). Since 2020, with the COVID-19 health emergency, the creativity, culture, cultural tourism and entertainment sectors have reported serious problems from an employment point of view.
The cd. “Decreto Rilancio” has included some measures for workers in the entertainment sector. For example, the Fus (single fund for entertainment) was extended from €130 million to €245 million. Associations have also been created (to name one, by way of example, “La musica che gira” (with producers, various artists, technicians, record labels, etc.) committed to asking institutions for equal access, for all cultural professionals who operate in the music sector, to the support measures included.
Currently 5,8% of jobs are covered by cultural and creativity, 3,1% of PIL, of which 54,9 is constituted by the so called cultural core activities (cultural heritage, audiovisual, gaming, performing arts, etc.) and the rest by creativity driven activities (Activities that use cultural and creative content and skills to increase the value of their products (fashion, furniture, agri-food, etc.). This means that the main struggle at the moment is to come back to pre-pandemic levels, especially in the South where the already slow recovery seems to be even slowlier.
According to the Io sono Cultura survey, he regions of the South in fact show a delay almost everywhere, despite the immense cultural and artistic heritage that characterizes them: in 2021 the added value of culture and creativity in the South accounts for 3.8% of the total economy (against 5, 6% national).
Despite the usual structural problem though, it’s possible to see the change especially in terms of the cultural relevance that digitalisation and sustainability are playing in the field of creativity and culture, with the success of gaming industries but also of the recent developments with AI, virtual reality and metaverse, with more and more innovation and simultaneous fruition of contents, experiences and communications.