Cultural heritage management and the social value of beauty

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Director Christopher Smith with the British Ambassador Jill Morris

The BSR has always been interested in Italy’s cultural heritage, and one of our September blogs picked up some recent events exploring this theme. But even more has been happening since!

Dame Fiona Reynolds – former Director-General of the National Trust and our guest in September – has written a wonderful book entitled The Fight for Beauty: Our Path to a Better Future, and this was the theme picked up in a recent workshop in which UK think tank ResPublica and Italian think tank Trinità dei Monti, with support from the British Council, debated the idea of beauty as a civic right. Also speaking was the Director of the wonderful new development, V&A Dundee, who gave us a glimpse into future projects.

The workshop ended with a lively debate between Caroline Julian from ResPublica, and Pippo Ciorra from the MAXXI. How is beauty best defined? What does it mean? Can chaos be beautiful?  All questions which provoked a lively debate, which you can hear on our podcast, but Fiona Reynolds’ words remain with me:

‘Beauty is not a luxury we can only have when we are rich; it is a way of shaping the changes we need and want so that they make a positive contribution to everyone’s lives, as well as protecting the things and places we most value. To succeed we need to be clear about our objective; and beauty, sustainability and genuine public engagement must be at their heart.’

Christopher Smith (Director)


The podcast of the event The Social value of Beauty is available on the BSR YouTube channel.

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