Invasioni Digitali / Digital Invasions – Co-Creation of Cultural Value

Best Practice Session
Invasioni Digitali, Italy

Published paper: Invasioni Digitali / Digital Invasions – Co-Creation of Cultural Value

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Communication in the digital context is more fragile than appears. Process requires sender and receiver using compatible technologies which evolve quickly, differently and continuously. Moreover, requires them to boast a similar mindset or the ability, the wisdom, the will to deeply understand each other. Which may prove difficult when we come to Cultural Heritage that is, by nature, highly intangible and thus leaves room for extremely personal ‘interpretations’.

On the other side, it represents an invaluable asset to better define what a ‘cultural object’ is about, and deeply understand the way it is perceived by the audience.

Engaging the audience in a closer relationship with the Cultural Heritage they are surrounded by may prove effective to co-create additional cultural value. Initiatives aimed at that can enable:

–       a better understanding of the communication issues affecting Cultural Heritage

–       an increased awareness of the needs and difficulties related to the protection and valorization of Cultural Heritage

–       a sense of ‘participation’, so to actively maintain and enhance the value of any cultural experience.

 According to the Country Brand Index, Italy tops global charts for tourism and culture. Yet, in the current economic crisis, the nation’s extraordinary patrimony is at risk, as, increasingly, museums and historical sites cannot afford to keep their doors open. The trend is stoking fears of a significant decline of the country’s cultural sector. However, a grassroots movement sweeping the peninsula is attempting to reverse this trend.

‘Invasioni Digitali’ (Digital Invasions) are mobs of people who support Italy’s museums and cultural heritage by ‘invading’ them and then documenting the experience on blogs and social media. Each ‘invasion’ is meant to create new forms of conversation about arts and culture, and to transform Italy’s heritage into something that is ‘open, welcoming and innovative.

The Digital Invasion’ project is about co-creating and nurture cultural value through proactive participation of visitors into the  museums’ communication life-cycle.  It is characterized by a fully bottom-up approach, where people organize independently single events all around the country during a given time frame (the very first edition was held on april 20 – 28, 2013).

Social and digital communication are key to the ‘invasions’:  ‘invaders’ are bloggers, archeology amateurs, photographers, Instagrammers, historians, communication experts, but also people with the most varied backgrounds. All of them boast a real passion for their country and its unique heritage, and own well established social media accounts which are extensively used during the ‘invasion’ to build up unique narrations and enable the most powerful storytelling experiences.

Inspired by a contingency, Invasioni Digitali aims now to become a sort of ‘territorial lab’ for new social and digital communication products and models, and a tool to enhance both visitor’s experience and the museum/cultural site performance. In fact, digital media constitutes a challenge also to all the staff of museum, cultural institutions, organizations and businesses: the format of Digital Invasions also suits any staff member, arts professional, academics, as “co-creation of cultural value is something that each individual is called (and willing) to take part into”.

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