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Course 2020-2021 a.y.

20447 - CULTURAL MEDIATION

ACME
Department of Social and Political Sciences

Course taught in English


Go to class group/s: 19

ACME (8 credits - II sem. - OB  |  SECS-P/12)
Course Director:
STEFANO BAIA CURIONI

Classes: 19 (II sem.)
Instructors:
Class 19: STEFANO BAIA CURIONI


Suggested background knowledge

The course explores the notion of culture (plural = cultures), the nature of cultural practice in its managerial and political dimensions. During the course there will be references to Anthropology, Cultural History, Political Philosophy, Management, Urbanism. The notion of mediation as a "cultural practice" will imply the capacity to bridge the main theoretical frameworks with concrete cases. The lectures and the course materials will offer a sufficient support for the requested knowledge upgrade. It could be useful a preliminary reading of the Handout of the course and the couple of papers that will be provided with it.


Mission & Content Summary
MISSION

The Cultural Mediation course aims at developing a thick understanding of the nature and workings of the cultural and creative dimension, trying to circumscribe its history, specificities, and contemporary challenges. The course, following an interdisciplinary and a multidimensional approach to cultural management, asks what are the meanings and the implications of managing culture(s)? Specifically, we will reflect upon and look at the following dimensions: - Context. There is the need for a critical contextualization (time and space) of the understanding of cultural phenomena. - Networks. The notion of network and social spaces, scenes and fields, as cultural incubators. - Institutions. The peculiar nature of cultural policies and the complexity of the connection between cultural dynamics and local / urban development. - Practices and Processes. The understanding of culture as an (embodied) practice and as process instead as only as static dimension, or a product. - Politics. Cultural productions and exchanges might be connected to change, transformation, and resistance to transformation, but they are also sites of power imbalances, production of ideologies and dominations. - Dynamics and Change. How innovation happens? How ideas travel in space and time? The notion of translation and or the notion of “resonance” will help us in clarifying these questions. - Evaluation. Judgement devices ad critical capacities.

CONTENT SUMMARY

The aim of the course is to illustrate the conditions and the main theoretical and practical references that may introduce and activate the notion of cultural practices as central elements of the cultural management training.

The course will unfold as follows:

 

In the first section (Defining culture) the class will dive into the basic definitions and interpretations of cultures and cultural productions. In particular we will have a deeper look at the notion of culture and civilization, at the historic process that led to the constitution of a pluralistic notion of culture, and at the implication of interpreting cultures. The objective of this section is to offer a sound theoretical basis to the definition of culture and cultural management.

 

In the second section (Doing Culture) we will address the notion of practice and explore the advantages of adopting a practice-based appraisal of culture and cultural processes. This section will also reflect upon how and under which circumstances managerial practices and cultural entrepreneurship can be sites of cultural processes generation. The objective of this session is to offer theoretical and methodological lenses to understand the notion of practice and of practice-based appraisal of culture and cultural processes.

 

The third part of the course (Cultures in Motion) will explore the multidimensionality of cultural practices, reflect upon the problem of evaluation of cultural productions and policies, and consider the issue of interpreting cultural change. The objective of this section is to acquire a way of looking at cultural changes, and a personal perspective on the ethical dimension of cultural mediation.

 

In the final part of the course (Culture and Spaces) we will consider different cases of applied cultural practices related with the processes of city making and capacities building. The objective of this session is to unfold the practice implications of producing and marketing visions and imaginaries.


Intended Learning Outcomes (ILO)
KNOWLEDGE AND UNDERSTANDING
At the end of the course student will be able to...

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 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” and the time horizons of the evaluation of cultural practices
APPLYING KNOWLEDGE AND UNDERSTANDING
At the end of the course student will be able to...
  • know and interpret the implications of cultural changes
  • know how to manage a cultural change being aware of its political and ethical implications
  • deal with the specific languages of cultural fields
  • keep  a better control on his own learning path as a cultural manager

 

 


Teaching methods
  • Face-to-face lectures
  • Online lectures
  • Guest speaker's talks (in class or in distance)
  • Individual assignments
  • Interactive class activities (role playing, business game, simulation, online forum, instant polls)
DETAILS

The guest speakers will be selected in order to bring up specific side of the cultural mediation practice, looking at different industrial contexts and different cultural missions.

 

The individual assignement will consist in a personal dissertation / advocacy that will allow the students to exercise their capacity to have a controlled cultural mediation process. Choosing among a list of defined topics and defined targets the students have to deliver a mediation project.

 

Interactive class activities will be activated through public discussions 


Assessment methods
  Continuous assessment Partial exams General exam
  • Written individual exam (traditional/online)
  •     x
  • Individual assignment (report, exercise, presentation, project work etc.)
  •     x
  • Active class participation (virtual, attendance)
  •     x
    ATTENDING STUDENTS

    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. 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. The assignment 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. 

    Students will be successful in the course by showing not only sound understanding of the key concepts presented, but also by participating actively in the discussion, interacting with the field practitioners that will be our guests during the course, and contributing to an engaged and harmonious class environment.

    The theoretical understanding will be assessed through:

    ·       a written exam (60%): students will be asked to answer 2 written open questions out of 3. The questions will be broad but each time there will be a specific reference to a section of the course materials;

    ·       a personal assignment to work on during the semester (40%): it consists in a presentation of a specific cultural production and represents an exercise in cultural mediation; further details are provided in the Course Handbook.

    NOT ATTENDING STUDENTS

    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 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:

    • Non attending students will be evaluated through a written exam (closed book). The exam comprises three open questions. Students are required to answer to two out of the three questions, each answer weights 50% of the final mark. The exam lasts 90 minutes. The evaluation of the final written exam will constitute 100% of the final grade.

    Teaching materials
    ATTENDING STUDENTS

    The slides and videos proposed all along the course are part of the reading list. The other compulsory readings required to prepare the exam are presented in the Course Handbook.

    NOT ATTENDING STUDENTS

    ·       CHAN, T. W. (Ed.) (2010). Social status and cultural consumption. Cambridge University Press. Chapter 1.

    ·       HANNERZ, U. (1996). Transnational connections. Culture People Places, Routledge. Chapters 3 and 5.

    ·       GEERTZ, C. (1973). The interpretation of cultures, Basic Books, New York. Part 1 and 2.

    ·       GEHMAN, J. & SOUBLIÈRE, J.F. (2017) Cultural entrepreneurship: from making culture to cultural making, Innovation, 19:1, 61-73, DOI: 10.1080/14479338.2016.1268521

    ·       NICOLINI D. (2017) Practice Theory as a Package of Theory, Method and Vocabulary: Affordances and Limitations. In: Jonas M., Littig B., Wroblewski A. (eds) Methodological Reflections on Practice Oriented Theories. Springer, Cham.

    ·       SCOTT, A. J., STORPER, M. (2014), The Nature of Cities: The Scope and Limits of Urban Theory, International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, 39:1, 1-15.

    ·       THROSBY, D. (1999). Cultural capital, Journal of Cultural Economics, 23 (1-2), 3-12.

    Last change 11/12/2020 13:15