Andrea Rurale is Director of the Master in Arts Management and Administration (MAMA) program and Professor of Marketing and Heritage Management at SDA Bocconi in Milan. He is also the Regional President of FAI Lombardia (The National Trust for Italy) and is President of the Monteverdi Conservatory in Cremona. Laura Adlers interviewed Professor Rurale recently to find out more about projects he is passionate about and recent developments in the MMIAM program.
SDA Bocconi in Milan is the third phase of the MMIAM program, from the end of April until the beginning of July. In addition to the study program in Milan, you are leading an exciting new initiative with the next cohort. Can you tell us more about the plans for phase three in 2019?
Yes, it is very exciting! There will now be the possibility of exploring two more countries, starting with the 2018-2019 cohort. Instead of coming directly to Milan for the third phase of the MMIAM program, the students will join the International Program in Arts Management (IPAM) which SDA Bocconi created at its campus in Mumbai. We have developed a new international program in arts management which consists of approximately ten days in Mumbai, ten days in Delhi, ten days in Beijing and ten days in Milan, with additional tours to other Italian cities. The course in consulting management will be taught in Mumbai, the performing arts management course will be taught in Delhi, and heritage management will be taught in Milan. The students will visit many cultural organizations while they are in India, China and Italy, as they do in Colombia.
The mutual cooperation with SMU in Dallas, HEC Montréal and SDA Bocconi is very strong, which is why we are also able to bring the MMIAM program to Mumbai. The idea is to explore the fields of performing arts (festivals, theatres) and heritage (museums, archeological sites, monuments, temples) in the Indian system, but with a deep outlook to the European and Italian system. When we will be in Delhi, for example, we will conduct our courses at the Italian Institute of Culture in the compound of the Italian Embassy. Students will learn about theoretical and practical approaches to arts management by visiting museums, art galleries, festivals and other institutions in Mumbai and Delhi which are important for the promotion of the arts in India.
Why do you think the specific study of international arts management is important for the profession and for the cultural sector?
An international perspective is very important when we study arts management, mainly because each country has its peculiarities which no one would understand without a deeper experience. It is very important for arts managers to be open to the international market as a whole, beyond the cultural sector, to understand how cultural institutions function in different countries, in their economies, in their societies. It is also important, from a curatorial perspective, to understand the current trends in different parts of the world, what is working and what is not working, how art is treated in China, Russia, the US and New Zealand, for example.
What innovative ideas have you observed in the cultural sector in Italy which are leading the new wave in cultural management?
For sure there are windows opening to the international community. There are new directors of museums that are trying to manage cultural institutions with all of the Italian constraints. On the one hand, the Italian public system is so stuck in bureaucracy that even directors coming from the US or Germany with international perspectives are not able to survive the bureaucracy of the Italian cultural and public institution. On the other hand, everyone is talking about this now, how we should be approaching cultural products, how we should convey the cultural message to the people, the importance of culture in the Italian system, the fact that it is a primary need for Italians to enjoy art and culture and therefore the necessity for a strong, well-run cultural sector is very important and urgent. In response to this, in Italy we now have the new “super-directors” who run these institutions, which is a new concept and which is proving very successful in bringing the importance of Italian culture to the people. (Ed. note: In 2015, the Italian minister of culture announced 20 museum directors who were to become “super-directors” of some of Italy’s most important institutions and heritage sites, and were granted full financial autonomy.)
You are also the Regional President of FAI Lombardia (The National Trust for Italy). Can you explain what the foundation does and the kinds of projects you are currently working on?
FAI represents an important pillar in Italian heritage preservation since it was founded in 1975, with the goal of attracting the private sector to support the restoration of heritage sites and opening them to the public for private events. These sites would otherwise be abandoned and fall into disrepair. FAI restores heritage properties which have been bequeathed to them or which have been supported by private donations. These are most often private homes. We study the history of the properties and convey their stories and the spirit of the properties to the public. These stories are important, not only from the artistic point of view, but because they tell the story of the Italian bourgeoisie that lived in Milan in the 1920s and 1930s. FAI operates on a budget of 28 million Euro, and owns 53 properties, 30 of those are open to the public, many are currently being restored.
Tell us more about the Monteverdi Conservatory in Cremona.
Cremona is famous for its importance as a city where violins have been made for centuries. Violin-making has been recognized as an art which must be protected under UNESCO’s intangible heritage designation. As the President of the Board, I meet with many people who want to study music in Cremona, because of this rich history. It is very interesting, because I experience in a very tangible way the social and cultural impact of music on the Italian community. Nowadays, Cremona is investing a lot in the promotion of music and, thanks to this, there is an increase in visitors coming to spend time in the city, investing in knowledge about music and culture.