venerdì 27 febbraio 2009

Musuem or Library? ... Uhmm... Shopping Center!

It is easily verifiable the fact that by now a larger and larger number of people are considering shopping centers as "public spaces" rather than town squares: you only have to go out for a walk around...

This trend is however a clear indicator of some consolidated political, cultural and social tendencies in our communities. We should seriously think about it.

As a contribution for these reflections, I here enclose a summary of a press release from the National Research Council of Italy (CNR) about an interesting congress titled "The historical-social context of cultural goods and knowledge forms. Towards a sociology of cultural goods" during which some interesting results of a survey have been presented.

Shopping centers are at the top of teens' wishes as places where to spend free time (21.4% of the sample) followed by discos (16,1%), pubs (14%), cinemas (7,4%) and amusement arcades (4,3%). The Gaudì' Sagrada Familia is one of the best known architectural work for the sample of young students among whom actually only 2.3% has a high knowledge of art.

The survey has been carried out by the University of Pisa and it has been presented during a congress organized by the Dept. of Cultural Heritage of the National Research Council of Italy (CNR) and the Institute of Technologies Applied to Cultural Goods of the CNR (Itabc- Cnr) titled "The historical-social context of cultural goods and knowledge forms. Towards a sociology of cultural goods" .

From this survey it emerges that culture remains a niche choice among young students. Many of them prefers to spent time at the gym or in a pub (59,3%) while only 20,7% visits a library once a month, 30% once in three months, 13,8% once in six month, 29 % once a year.

Better news for museums. 40% has visited a local museum at least once and 48,4% from twice to five times. National and international museums have been the destination for 74% of the sampled students.

School is the main stimulus to go and visit museums even if for great national and international museums families have the main initiative (18,7%) followed by "personal interest" (17,7%).

What do remain to students after visiting a museum? Very little. To the sample students some imagines of well known art and monuments have been shown and 80% of them confirmed a scarce or no knowledge about these cultural goods. 17,6% has replied correctly but only 2,3% has denoted an adequate knowledge of art.

The final result is definitively negative highlighting however the critical role of our schools in promoting the study of art through more appropriate learning methods.

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