Alberto Bonisoli promises more money for Italian Ministry of Culture

Stefano Pirovano  -  June 5, 2018

On June, 2nd the new Minister of Cultural Heritage Alberto Bonisoli promised more funds to protect and valorize the Italian Cultural Heritage. He also implied that the national identity comes before tourism.

Alberto Bonisoli, who was born in the province of Mantua in 1961, first of four children and father of two, is now the new Italian Minister of Culture. He attended high school in Cremona, today he lives in Castelletto Ticino, a small town close to Pavia. His father was a manager in the food industry, his grandfather was a farmer, his mother taught literature and classics in secondary school. According to what he claimed during the electoral campaign as a Five Star Movement candidate Italian people should be confident that Bonisoli will be a worthy successor to Dario Franceschini.

The current dean of Nuova Accademia di Belle Arti in Milan (NABA), former Innovation Managment professor at Bocconi University (where he graduated in 1986) and former director of the Domus Academy (also in MIlan), doesn’t seem to be as negative with regards to what his predecessor has done as his party’s programme had implied. It is true that Bonisoli hasn’t talked about the art market yet and it doesn’t seem he is much aware of the complexities of the Italian Cultural Heritage system – after all Bonisoli has mainly been involved with fashion and design up to now, from an educational perspective. However, during the Five Star Movement political campaign he had actively taken part in thus he is not just a technician the new Minster has often expressed his view on the Ministry he is now head of.

To start with, Bonisoli has never commented on the new measures regarding the export of artworks, against which the Five Star Movement’ programme clearly addressed. Rather, he reiterated the need to insist on preservation and valorization most importantly. According to him, the Ministry hasn’t received enough funds in the past years to tackle these two important issues. ‘We ought to spend more and better‘, he claimed a couple of days ago in Rome. Thus, one of the aims is increasing the MiBACT’s budget (the Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Activities and Tourism).

Additional resources could also mean advancing with the project of digitalization of Italy’s cultural patrimony with the ultimate purpose of preserving, sharing, and promoting the vast history of Italian artistic culture, especially in the schools. ‘Our children must know where they live – said Bonisoli – and what surrounds them’. It seems that Bonisoli is approaching these issues with an educational and social standpoint. He aims at making the Country cultural heritage’s more accessible, with a particular focus on schools, suburbs, but also provinces, where culture could really make a big difference – we can spot here a meeting point with the League’s programme, and the intent to devolve more power to local institutions.

Above all, althought not in the near future, the Five Star Movement has reiterated its idea of separating Cultural Heritage from Tourism, which are under the same Ministry at the moment. This could mean that tourism and culture are regarded as two separate identities, albeit connected. The idea of exploiting cultural heritage as gold mines in order to sell holiday packages appears to be receding, in favor of more sustainable positions. In the vocabulary of the Italian Ministry of Culture there seems to be a return to concepts like ‘identity’ and ‘education’, and this is certainly encouraging. It is a matter of fact that the targets Bonisoli have set are very high – starting from increasing the MiBACT’s budget. Moreover, they will be achieved only if the general scenario improves altogether. No real development can take place if little is devoted to culture, and education of individual citizens. At least on paper, Bonisoli seems to acknowledge this concept too.