In his last book La phrase urbaine, the French philosopher and author Jean Christophe Bailly wrote that the city is like a sentence whose meaning we can understand only if we know its grammar. The city is not only a web of functions and services, but also a narrative fabric that needs to be read and told, explained and shared. Every city has its own urban grammar, requiring a common alphabet in order to generate webs of narratives, of humanity, and of cultural action and citizenship. Today more than any other time in the past there is a need to be civis, and sense is created from partaking what it means to inhabit, work and be a citizen, from the shared meaning of education, civil law and civil rights, dreams and needs, values and of doing and being as culture. Culture is the primary building block of meaning man has ever found, and we must start from culture to help citizens find their own sense, as individuals and as a collectivity. Generally things are no different today than 70 years ago, during the age of totalitarian regimes, or 50 years ago, during the age of counterculture. What is different is the relationship with authority. Today one can no longer trickle something down from above and impose it as a truth for it to be welcomed. Present-day authority is no longer recognized as such – it requires consensus for what it does and not simply for what it is. A city’s grammar cannot be generated from the top-down, from the administration or from private institutions, whether they are businesses, universities or research centers. The role of politics is to create time, location and information opportunities so that the city’s residents can build together their vocabulary, and along with it their own narratives, from the bottom-up.
The increasing importance of the management in the Art Industries has focused the attention on the fundamental role of economic skills, but in order to manage a cultural organization a manager has to pay attention to other non-economic abilities. Everyday newspapers and media talk about the renewed interest in culture and tell about new possibilities to make up a business in the cultural sector, but they rarely explore the qualities that are required to be a good and trained cultural manager. Arts Industries, that are a part of the larger sector of CCIs (for more details about CCIs ), are a field in which management’s soft skills and attitudes as entrepreneurial, leadership and intuition are as important as managerial issues. This article describes the role of Arts Industries and the role of managers in the creation of value. The importance of cultural management is recent achievement, but in a brief period, this profession has reached a high consideration in the CCI sector . In the first paragraph, the article describes the role of Arts Industries and the role of Cultural managers in the process of value creation, focusing on the double goals that Cultural managers should aim at: the quality of the cultural proposal and the need to create economic sustainability for the organization they’re working for. Paragraph two introduces the kind of values that Arts Industries are able to produce. These are both economic and social, because culture can influence not only business, but also communities and territories. Last paragraph of the article concerns some examples of Art Industries and CCIs that have been able to create profits and jobs or social inclusion and social development.
Since many years European policies have acknowledged culture as a key factor for the development of cities and regions and as a pillar of innovation and social cohesion (ECIA 2014; EU 2013). Nonetheless, it is not yet clear how to measure the impacts of cultural initiatives, especially with respect to intangible aspects such as sense of belonging, social capital, empowerment, and quality of life in peripheral neighbourhoods and post-industrial cities. The evaluation of the impacts of cultural policies usually refers to economic indicators, such as the increase of employment and the wealth produced by the so called ‘Cultural and Creative Industries’ (CCI) (Symbola 2015; Ernst&Young 2014; KEA 2012), or the contribution of big events, such as the European Capital of Culture (ECoC) to urban regeneration (Garcia e Cox 2013; Palmer et al. 2012, Garcia et al. 2010; Johnson 2009). There are several examples of industrial cities that experienced an economic renaissance and a redefinition of their identity and image thanks to specific cultural policies. Liverpool, Turin, Bilbao, Marseille, Genk are well known cities where culture played a strategic role becoming a real economic sector and a pillar of the new development model. If the results in terms of wealth, attractiveness and tourism are more evident and measurable, it is far more difficult to understand the role of culture as an agent of local development processes. This implies the observation of phenomena when they are still emerging and thus cannot be labelled within traditional classification frameworks or measured by means of statistics. Accordingly, the number of new cultural and creative enterprises or the increase of tourists are not useful indicators to measure the innovative potential and social impact of such initiatives. Instead, it is crucial to map the spontaneous clustering dynamics bringing local actors to aggregate, to develop projects and to cooperate with institutions and public administrations (Comunian 2011). This means to investigate what happens in the backstage to identify the preconditions enabling or impeding the emerging and strengthening of a creative milieu.