After the pandemic, Culture can recover by going digital

The world of Culture is at a crossroads: either stand by and wait for the situation for theaters, museums, cinemas, libraries and places of art to be resolved, fighting to survive, or, by going digital, taking advantage of an opportunity to relaunch the sector

The curtain is closed. It closed in theaters, museums, cinemas, libraries, and in so many places of art. With COVID, Culture – a sector that was already fragile before the pandemic – has become one of the many emergencies to resolve. Not only the maintenance of cultural sites, but also the protection of the sites themselves and the many workers in this field.

A recent UNESCO report painted the picture of a worrying situation for the world’s museums. According to the report, 90% of museums were closed for an average of 155 days in 2020, leading to a huge drop in income, up to 80% compared to 2019.

But out of the current situation, it’s possible – and necessary – to seize an opportunity: building a new vision of how to “do culture”, using all the digital world has to offer. Looking to the future, from another perspective, not only to save the present, but to let it thrive.

We are at a crossroads: either stand by and wait for the situation to be resolved, trying to survive, or become an active player, taking advantage of an opportunity to relaunch the sector from the pandemic, making it more attractive and accessible for a much broader target than in the past.

“The Draghi Government,” wrote Michelangelo Suigo on, “has shown a spotlight on this world. As part of Next Generation EU, the overall forecasted expenditure considered by the PNRR on digitalization, innovation, competitiveness and culture is, at the moment, 46.3 billion euro. In the revision of the text to be presented to the European Commission by the end of April, further news is expected. The Chamber of Deputies, for example, has already requested to allocate PNRR resources to support 5G coverage for sites of high cultural interest as well. 

The goal is to find a new way to update the cultural offering, through accelerated digitalization, including through the creation of multi-operator 5G systems and DAS (Distributed Antenna System) micro-antennae or small cells.

Concern for the sector’s future led UNESCO itself, in its report on museums, to make an appeal on the use of technology to save culture and guarantee it a future by naming it “essential: from the development of virtual visits to the use of social networks, is it necessary to overcome the digital divide that represents an obstacle in the educational mission of museums.” 

Never before has it been so necessary for the past and present to speak. We must find the right meeting point between the two worlds, which until recently seemed far apart, but now embody extraordinary added value for one another. Technology would allow culture to be reborn, making it accessible to all and, above all, more interesting for the younger generations, offering innovative services and more attractive messaging, while culture would enrich technology with unique content and be used by other groups as well, contributing to the digital literacy which is still so needed. Because the future starts today, not tomorrow.