The book opens with virtual questions put by Leonardo da Vinci to the embarrassed policy-makers of an Italian city: “Where in your city is the factory that produces culture? Where are your artists, composers, architects, and writers?” Similar questions are raised in today’s Xian by Qin Shi Huang, the First Emperor of China, buried with his terracotta army.
Historic cities around the world are living witnesses to glorious cultural traditions. In some cases this cultural heritage is well preserved, in others it is falling into ruin, but rarely is the cultural heritage used to produce new culture today. The past is not alive in present-day expressions of culture.
And so, in opposition to strategies which seek merely to preserve culture, the first part of the book elaborates a model of production of culture, highlighting the role of creativity in the production of culture for the knowledge and information society, and propounds a new view of culture based on coordinating the phases of the supply chain of cultural production.
The second part of the book expands on some strategic sectors, such as fashion, cultural districts of material culture, industrial design, gastronomy, creative industries, performing arts, contemporary art, and museums. Special attention is paid to the new managerial role collective intellectual property rights play in fostering the quality of the culture-based products.
The conclusions advocate that a serious effort be made, in both developed and developing countries, to harness the production of culture.
Walter Santagata is Professor of Cultural Economics at the Faculty of Political Science, University of Torino, Italy and Director of EBLA CENTER, International Center for Research on the Economics of Culture, Institutions, and Creativity.