Course 2018-2019 a.y.


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:

Classes: 19 (II sem.)

Class-group lessons delivered  on campus

Mission & Content Summary


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.

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILO)


At the end of the course student will be able to...
  • Use theoretical and critical competences related to art and cultural productions, consumption.
  • Use, with a particular attention to sociology, philosophy and anthropology debates. This topic will include a section on intercultural relations.
  • Develop of a field oriented understanding of cultural mediation entrepreneurial practices /processes and their sustainability in the different contexts and frames of objectives.


At the end of the course student will be able to...

 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.

Teaching methods

  • 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.

Assessment methods

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


The evaluation of the attending students is based on some main activities:

  1. INDIVIDUAL ESSAY. The Essay counts for 60% of final evaluation. Students are asked to write an individual essay (max 10.000 characters) as an elaboration upon their personal understanding of one of the following issues:
    • Elaborate and comment upon the cultural mediation issue, pointing out relevant connections in an analysis of the cases developed in class.
    • Present and comment a cultural institution/organization/practice that you identify as a relevant and interesting case of cultural mediation in Milan or elsewhere.
  2. CLASS PARTICIPATION. During the course, you are asked to understand and enrich, with the faculty, the representation of specific cases of cultural mediation processes.
  3. ATTENDANCE is measured with the "Attendance Procedure" on your Agenda and it counts for the 10% of the final evaluation. The pin code to record your presence with the Attendance procedure must be entered in the classroom in the presence of the faculty member who handles the recording. For "Attendance", presence for the entire duration of the activity is intended. In case of an improper use of the Attendance recording procedure by students - e.g. entering the pin to record attendance while outside the classroom, unexcused exit from the classroom before the end of activities - a disciplinary sanction equal to a six-month suspension from exams/graduation is given to the student. Class participation is highly encouraged during all the course but in particular while discussing the cases.
  4. Moreover, students are required to send via email n.5 short reports (max 2.000 characters):
    • Summarizing the main topics tackled during the previous lessons.
    • Highlighting relevant questions or discussion subjects not sufficiently or clearly investigated during the past lessons.
    • Each written report’s deadline is defined by professors in class. Possibly, selected reports are presented by students in class before lesson.
    • Class participation and reports contribute to the 40% of the final grade.

Final grade consists in the weighted average of:

  • Individual essay (60%)
  • In-class participation (10%)
  • Individual reports (30%)


Written exam. The evaluation takes place through a written exam of 120 minutes; with two questions to be answered out of three. The question concentrates on a list of readings that is distributed by EGEA and other readings.

Teaching materials


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,*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. 
Last change 25/06/2018 12:34