“With culture we not only eat, but we carry on the identity of the country” (by L. Paccarié)

Massimiliano Tarantino is the Director of the Giangiacomo Feltrinelli Foundation and Head of Corporate Communications and Institutional Relations at the Feltrinelli Group. Since January 2019, he has been the leader of the Feltrinelli Education project, the group’s startup for training activities. “For a culture in change” is the slogan of this innovative platform, which offers a wide range of educational offerings: from writing courses, to podcasting schools, up to offering educational support to companies. This slogan, he tells HuffPost Tarantino, is due to the fact that “our courses, characterized by culture and creativity, are capable of interpreting changes in the world of work and in society”.

What role does culture play in society?

I take up the provocative title on the latest book by our Minister of Culture Dario Franceschini: “With culture you do not eat”. A trend that comes from another provocation, a few years ago, when the then Minister of Economy of the Berlusconi government Giulio Tremonti said this famous phrase. He said this by degrading an economy worth 3 billion for the book and pay-TV market alone, and which, if expanded into the entertainment market, is worth 30 billion and is a fundamental part of Made in Italy, not in Italy, but in the world. So with culture, I would say that we not only eat, but that we carry on a country identity. Then there is an unparalleled personal satisfaction because it is one of the main areas where creativity is at the center.

What is the spirit that gave birth to Feltrinelli Education?

Feltrinelli Education was born out of the awareness that in such a changing economy, in such a fragmented labor market, in a society so affected by the digital transformation, culture must not be taken for granted, but must serve part of the future. To do this, it is necessary to professionalize the people who work in the culture in an innovative way and in step with the times. FEdu, as we call Feltrinelli Education, has this first mission. But through our courses, we also want to be the key to accessing this large sector of the cultural economy by connecting those who are not in it with professionals.

What is the role of culture in teaching?

For us, culture is a schoolteacher as an actor on a stage, a TV series producer as an influencer. As well as the graphic designer who designs our covers, those who teach at our podcast school, the fundraising experts we involve, all those who at Fedu teach to write and perfect their creativity. Culture is everywhere. We can not say that it is only the economy of those who produce entertainment, but it is the true basis of any democracy. For it is confrontation with the other, with oneself and with other cultures that enriches us. It plays a fundamental role in the literal sense.

What is the role of culture in a company?

Businesses are made up of the people who work there. Investing in the empowerment of the individual employee affects the ability to work better. Workers’ habits have changed and companies need to adapt to their needs to become increasingly competitive. Today, workers prefer to work in places that reflect certain values ​​and place great emphasis on their well-being: the worker has liberated himself, gives up his salary, agrees to reduce it, is ready to change jobs, to earn quality of life. The traditional model no longer holds. It is now important to take care of the corporate culture.

What is corporate culture?

In addition to being human, the company is values. Corporate culture is the values ​​in which a company recognizes itself and which it transmits to consumers and first to the workers. Companies understand that the market is not only attacked with marketing offers, but with an ongoing dialogue with the consumer. And the dialogue brings with it a story, which in turn presupposes techniques. And we teach precisely these techniques. To put it simply, four pillars in which the most innovative companies today recognize themselves: gender equality, diversity and inclusion, innovation and the digital frontier. But it is not enough to say “I recognize myself in these values”, it is necessary to invest in these values ​​and give a concrete sign of how they act.

And this is where company training comes into play?

Yes, people want to grow, they are conscious of being on a lifelong learning path in their lives. FEdu wants to support companies to invest in people. Culture enters the narrative dynamics of a company that relates to the way in which it presents itself to the outside world, it relates to the way in which it transmits the values ​​it carries. It is necessary to invest in soft skills, in positive and creative leadership, in team and crisis management. We work with this, we offer courses related to the growth path of the talents in the company and how companies interact with consumers.

There is therefore a connection between education and culture, but also of these two lines of politics and economics. What would you ask for politics?

A more forward-looking look. To create a bridge between culture, economy and tourism. So make sure that all the extraordinary riches of the public are united with the privates in a set of resources that functions as a single body. Finally, to see Italy from an at least European perspective. With European funds, you can therefore fund professional updating and innovative training to encourage the generational change we need.

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