World peace cannot be safeguarded without the making of creative efforts proportionate to the dangers which threaten it (R. Schuman, 1950)
9 May marks the anniversary of the signing of the historic Schuman Declaration in 1950, which introduced the creation of a European Community and laid the foundations of the European Union. As we celebrate European values and promote its opportunity at the University “Nelson Mandela” of Matera, within the fair organised by Materahub and its Europedesk, we share the words of Luigi Martulli, founder and president of Materahub.
What does Europe mean to you?
My fondness for Europe dates back to many decades ago when I was working as a business consultant, certificating the ISO international standards. In that context, I gradually got to understand how European values and visions were incorporated into norms and legislative inputs, becoming interested in supporting the European dream by providing new services to both businesses and society at large.
From this point of view, Europe represents the theoretical and practical guidelines to face contemporary challenges. Like a permanent show, day after day, it re-enacts its founding values of peace, cooperation and unity, by adapting its tools and norms according to new contexts and needs.
For example, the SDGs are a reinterpretation and actualisation of Article 1 of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights, offering a path towards a more respectful world both for humans and nature.
Following this approach of renovation and readaptation, Materahub implements the European principle of cooperation and development through the lens of the Cultural and Creative Industries, where all the themes for the common thing seem to converge.
Since the beginning of our history, we have researched and experimented with new models of social and cultural innovation by bringing together organisations, people, environments and complex systems, investing in creativity as a necessary tool for companies and organisations in this era of significant socio-economic change.
What does imply working for Europe from Matera?
Materahub’s headquarter is in Matera, where and for which it was funded. Of course, as a southern region we suffer from the lack of certain enabling infrastructures which could facilitate our job: from transports to 5G but, other than that I do not see much difference between working in Matera and in Lion for example. On the contrary, I consider working in and from Matera a privilege.
Claimed as the third-oldest continually inhabited settlement in the world (after Aleppo and Jericho), the southern Italian city has been home to someone for at least 9000 years. A territory that has always shown an extraordinary capacity to reinvent itself, adapting to environmental changes and political circumstances.
Certainly, the last 70 years in Matera have been a whirlwind. After the eviction of 15.000 resident living in the caves that punctured a deep ravine running through the city in 1950, after the declaration of the Italian prime minister that referred to it as the “shame of Italy” for its unhealthy living conditions, today Matera has reinterpreted its contemporary role around cultural heritage and creativity.
A cultural-based process began with the appointment of Sassi as the Unesco World Heritage site in 1993 and continued with the process that brought it to be nominated European Capital of Culture in 2019.
As such, Matera can be considered a laboratory for experimentation with the ambition to become a benchmark for all the southern European regions.
Even though I strongly believe that Europe is an ideological space, working in Matera is first of all a matter of choice and secondarily a responsibility towards the city where I live.
For this reason and for our privileged European position, we must act as a bridge between European values and this region, engaging and informing especially the youngsters on the opportunities it offers, in order to enable our future generations in building a better world.
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What do you wish for the future of Europe and of the CCI?
The future Europe does not exist because the Europe of the future is already here, constantly reinterpreting its founding values of cooperation and unity among people, countries and sectors only aiming at a better, more inclusive and more respectful Europe.
And in this picture, for the first time in the history of the Union, culture and creativity have a specific role, transcending that of the artistic production to move towards a more transversal and instrumental approach.
However, if Europe has recently redefined the role of culture and creativity within its political priorities, it seems about time that it faces the fragility of its ecosystem, pushing for a proper recognition of the sector, its professionals and key competencies, pretending from member states a more purposeful and reasoned use of culture, outside the simpler touristic dynamics.