The Master in Arts Management and Administration (MAMA) constantly puts its students in touch with professionals and organizations in the Italian and international arts & culture sector. The most recent such event for these 37 people, who come from over 20 different countries, was getting to know a young and dynamic enterprise that was able to bring together their love for the region and their community with the need to support a socio-economic context by putting its artistic heritage to good use.
The landmark we’re talking about is Naple’s Catacombs, located in a difficult neighborhood, called Rione Sanità, which tends to isolate its inhabitants and “hide” them from the rest of the city. This was the context where the Cooperativa La Paranza was born in 2006, out of the effort and the tenacity of five guys from that community. Recognizing the enormous potential of the area, they leveraged its human and artistic heritage to transform it.
In class, MAMA students had already analyzed and discussed this case study of cultural enhancement of the local area. They also learned more about the managerial aspects thanks to a presentation of the project by Vincenzo Porzio, founding member of the cooperative. The event included a lively exchange of opinions and experiences, whose common denominator was the need to have economic development go hand-in-hand with the human and cultural one, guaranteed by the priceless artistic and cultural heritage that we have at our disposal.
When the MAMA students went on their Grand Tour 2018, which took them through a series of meetings with the directors of important artistic and cultural institutions in Florence, Naples, and Rome, they were able to visit the catacombs. There they were able to see first hand the enormous work done, and the impact created by the enthusiasm and professionalism of the La Paranza cooperative.
Kriti Chrodia, an Indian student, defined her experience as “a chance to relive the past and bring the mind and spirit back together. From the first moment I stepped onto the site I couldn’t help but live the magical atmosphere of the place.” But the site was not the only surprise, said Kriti: “We had a very special guide, Antonio, who was so enthusiastic, passionate, and experienced, that he was able to transmit the importance of the place for the community, using some very effective storytelling.”
This meeting fostered a concrete collaboration, a continuously lively exchange of experiences, and a discussion on topics tied to economic development and social and urban requalification.