The logic of collaboration

June 3, 2020

A dialogue between Giovanna Melandri, President of MAXXI, and Stefano Boeri, President of Triennale Milano, on the future of museums and cultural institutions after Covid-19, on how to reopen and the new strategies to be adopted.

Live video with Stefano Boeri and Giovanna Melandri

photo by Musacchio Ianniello Pasqualini, Courtesy Fondazione MAXXI

“One of the scars that I would like to stay forever on the Country’s personal and social body after Covid-19 is the need to move from a logic of competition to a logic of collaboration and interconnection. I believe that cultural institutions have a major role to play.”

“The question we immediately asked ourselves as a cultural institution was: ‘How can we help?’ Our answer, shared by both MAXXI and Triennale, was to try and create a project that allows us to get into Italian homes and reach the community of our followers with an original production. In just a few days, we became producers and broadcasters of artistic content, talks and dialogues. There has been great generosity on the part artists and creatives, which, however, we should not abuse.”
Giovanna Melandri

photo by Musacchio Ianniello Pasqualini, Courtesy Fondazione MAXXI

“One of the consequences of this crisis is that we all need to rethink our way of working; this is very interesting. The social function of cultural institutions will be increasingly crucial and important. [...] I believe that the idea of culture as part of a country's welfare system is very European and needs to be defended. We must ask to be supported in this effort to enhance the research conducted by cultural institutions, their educational function and the promotion of critical thinking. I would like to think that in the coming months I will be able to replace the groups of Japanese, Chinese, and American tourists or visitors who walked through the halls of MAXXI with new projects involving the school system.”

“I have two things in mind. Firstly, I believe there should be an initiative to support the demand for culture. It is great to support the purchase of bicycles and scooters, and to consider the issue of mobility. But, not supporting the demand for culture within the Italian museum heritage system is a mistake, which can still be fixed. I believe we need to fight for this. The second issue concerns a strategic reflection with schools of all kinds and at all levels, through to university and research. […] It should be understood that cultural institutions represent a possible extension of the higher education system in Italy and should be used much more for this purpose.”
Giovanna Melandri

photo by Gianluca di Ioia

“Triennale closed on March 4, the same day that it live streamed a seminar to start a reflection on the XXII International Exhibition to be held in 2022. Another step will be taken on June 4th: we will develop the theme and the exhibition as a whole by working together with MAXXI, a one of Italy’s leading institutions, and a select number of other international bodies. It is one of the first times for Triennale to share this journey with another institution. June 4th will be a time to exchange ideas, which will also be streamed live. On that date we will also reopen Triennale with the Museum of Italian Design and the Garden to try and take visitors in our outdoor space during the summer. From June 15 to the end of September, theatre, art, design, cinema, performances and artists will all be outside, with clear safety requirements."

“With MAXXI, we have promoted a great idea, especially as a principle. There are several architecture awards in Italy and we can proudly say that the most important ones were ours - MAXXI and Triennale awards. So we decided to combine them into a single award to send a strong national message about the importance of Italian architecture."
Stefano Boeri

"I think what we have done is very important: we have joined forces to create a National Architecture Award, but we won’t reveal anything just yet. There will be best building, young architect of the year and career awards. I believe that it was an important gesture to combine different awards and to try and unite Milan’s greatest institution of design and architecture with a museum whose institutional mission is to promote twentieth century architecture."
Giovanna Melandri

photo by Musacchio Ianniello Pasqualini, Courtesy Fondazione MAXXI

Giovanna Melandri is a cultural politics expert, economist and environmentalist. She was Head of the International Legambiente Office and coordinator of its scientific committee from 1988 to 1994. She was twice Minister: for Cultural Heritage and Activities from 1998 to 2001, and for Youth Policies and Sports from 2006 to 2008. President of Italy’s first national contemporary art museum MAXXI since 2012, she is also the founder and president of the Human Foundation and Social Impact Agenda for Italy. An active member of the global impact investing movement, she has represented Italy in the Board of Trustees of the Global Steering Group for Impact Investment (GSG) since 2018. In 2003 she was awarded the title of "Officier de la Legion d 'Honneur" by the President of the French Republic Jacques Chirac. He writes regularly for “Vita” and “Huffington Post”.

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