Course 2023-2024 a.y.


Department of Management and Technology

Course taught in English
Go to class group/s: 31
CLEACC (6 credits - II sem. - OBS  |  SECS-P/10)
Course Director:

Classes: 31 (II sem.)

Mission & Content Summary


In the last years, the economic and cultural environment in which artistic and cultural organizations operate has changed significantly. Cultural consumption patterns are being radically re-shaped by the digital revolution, pushing institutions to re-think how they relate to their audiences. For cultural institutions, a general economic downturn has made it more difficult to attract funding, meanwhile bringing on the requirement of greater accountability. An increased focus on public value and efficiency has driven the attention to social spillovers and to the relationship with communities. Cultural production itself is being transformed in its inner processes, when those who were once just “the public” are being involved in the discussion, sharing, creation or funding of cultural projects. Under the perspective of the contemporary art system, the “old” small world of galleries, collectors, dealers, institutions has become a complex, semi-industrial, global sector in which financial political, economic, urban and social interests move at a fast pace, just unthinkable two decades ago. These changes offer multiple opportunities and, at the same time, raise deep cultural challenges. While providing a basic knowledge of how cultural organizations are structured and managed, the workshop addresses these issues with an eye for transformations.


  • The evolving role of museums in the society and their goals of protection and valorization.
  • The relationship between museums and their audiences and the urban setting.
  • The role of technology in shaping how museums preserve their works and engage their audiences.
  • The changes that have recently shaped the art market.
  • The evolution of the role of different players within the art market: art galleries and dealers, auction houses, fairs and foundations.
  • Design thinking as a methodology to solve the business challenges of cultural organizations (museums and arts organizations in particular).

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILO)


At the end of the course student will be able to...
  • Develop a basic but specific understanding of the cultural sector, particularly museums, and the art market.
  • Critically understand the main changes and challenges for the organizations operating in the sector and how to face them.


At the end of the course student will be able to...
  • Apply the knoweldge acquired with regards to how museums and the contemporary market work to better frame the challenges these organizations face. 
  • Creatively solve a transformational challenge of a cultural institution operating in the museum/contemporary art world.  

Teaching methods

  • Face-to-face lectures
  • Guest speaker's talks (in class or in distance)
  • Company visits
  • Case studies /Incidents (traditional, online)
  • Group assignments


  • Guest speaker's talks in class: we have several guests from the field coming to discuss and presenting their point of view on each specific transformation we discuss in class.
  • Company visits: we visit art galleries on site and art fairs in Milan.
  • Case studies /Incidents: we discuss cases and news from the museum and art world. 
  • Group assignments: adopting a design thinking web canvas we work on solving a transformation challenge posed by a real cultural institution. This assignment is presented in class at the end of the course. 

Assessment methods

  Continuous assessment Partial exams General exam
  • Written individual exam (traditional/online)
  • Group assignment (report, exercise, presentation, project work etc.)
x   x


  • Group work aiming at solving a challenge posed by a cultural institution (50%). The institution presents itself (what it does ans how it works) and it launches a business challenge (e.g. revising their education offer, attracting a younger audience). Students have to develop and present a proposal for addressing and solving this challenge, following the five steps of the design thinking method (empathize, define, ideate, prototype and test). This part of the exam tests the students' capability of applying the acquired knowledge to better frame the challenge of the institution. It also tests their capability to develop original solutions to a business challenge. 
  • Written exam - open book - on the materials available on Bboard and Library Course Reserves. The exam is made up of two open ended questions that asks students to critically reflect and argue their point of view on the issues proposed (50%). This part of the exam tests students' understanding of the characteristics and dynamics of the cultural sector and art market. It also tests their capability to critically analyze and reflect on current transformations and challenges.  


Written closed book exam (100%) on the materials available in the Library Course Reserves. The exam is made up of two open ended questions. The exam tests the extent to which students understood the characteristics and the dynamics of the museum industry and the art market work. It also tests their capability to critically analyze and reflect on current transformations and challenges. 

Teaching materials


Slides and compulsory readings as listed in the syllabus.  


Readinds as listed in the syllabus. Both compulsory and optional readings in the syllabus are required for non attenting students. 

Last change 24/11/2023 14:36