Cultural Observatories emerged in the late 1980s, gaining prominence over the last two decades. Initially inspired by Grenoble's Observatoire des politiques culturelles (1989) and Strasbourg's Observatoire européen de l'audiovisuel (1992), these observatories now number more than 100 across four continents, with a significant concentration in Europe. They vary in scope and focus, reflecting the diversity of cultural landscapes.
Since its creation in 2006, the Cultural Observatory of Canton Ticino (Switzerland) has undergone a significant evolution towards a new paradigm. Its goal is no longer limited to analysing or passively monitoring cultural activities and heritages. Instead, the focus is gradually shifting towards a more inclusive and horizontal approach, driving the Observatory towards new dialogue platforms, community involvement and content co-creation. Two examples of this approach are the Sàmara project and the Literary Guide of Italian-speaking Switzerland.
The first example, the Sàmara project, is a "discovery and delivery" digital platform that enables the aggregation of patrimonial catalogues from public, academic and private institutions. This project aims to provide to researchers and general public a comprehensive resource for accessing and exploring cultural heritage (images, books, objects, etc.).
The second example is the Literary Guide of Italian-speaking Switzerland, which engages various stakeholders in the process. It includes a shared map featuring thousands of citations and locations, university laboratories in Communication design, school activities and a series of publications. This collaborative effort encourages community participation and fosters a sense of ownership in the intangible cultural heritage of the region, emphasizing connections with international context.
By embracing these new perspectives, the Cultural Observatory of Canton Ticino is transforming into a transversal platform that facilitates dialogue, encourages community engagement and empowers individuals and organizations to actively contribute to the preservation and promotion of cultural activities and heritages.
Faro Convention International Conference 2024. Transforming through Co-Creation: Participatory Heritage Practices tackling Urban Challenges
Porto, 29th of January - 2nd of February 2024