From 8 to 10 November, the Parco Archeologico dei Campi Flegrei hosted more than 100 people who care deeply about this area packed with history, traditions and archaeological monuments. It was transformed into a large participatory workshop for coming up with ideas on how to promote this area.
This was the first time a state organisation had adopted an approach of this kind in Italy. It wanted to open up to the local community and cultural workers from across Italy, with a view to drawing up a strategic plan incorporating ideas and proposals outlined from below and adapted to fit the park and its particular requirements. It brought local players together around a table – together with a cultural institution willing to open up and get involved – in order to come up with a shared project based on common objectives, identifying target groups and pinpointing the actions to be taken, without forgetting to estimate timescales, the necessary financial resources and potential funding sources.
Simply put, this is the kind of co-planning that we like and we saw just how effective it was last weekend, together with the Parco Archeologico Campi Flegrei. It was an exciting, albeit not a simple challenge: more than 100 people, all with ideas on how to promote the park, grouped together around eight tables during a three-day participatory planning process.
It was a short, but well organised event thanks to its military precision. It set out to develop functional proposals for this Ministry of Culture institution endowed with special autonomy, which incorporates a vast area comprising twenty-five different archaeological sites and monuments!
All this was supported by the staff from the Parco Archeologico and by experts from the financial and cultural sectors, such as Professor Stefano Consiglio, head of the Department of Social Sciences at the Università Federico II di Napoli, Marco D’istanto, an accountant and consultant specialised in cultural enterprises, and Ledo Prato, university lecturer and expert in cultural policies. Naturally, it was also facilitated by our presence.
The park put forward six requirements, accompanied by as many strategic objectives, asking participants to come up with ideas for them:
- The need to boost a united vision of the park leads to the objective to intervene on the public perception of the park, developing a new narrative
- Despite its extent and wealth of monuments, only four of the twenty-five sites in the park are really used, making it necessary to encourage the use of the park as a whole, including the lesser sites and those open by appointment only
- The park is lacking in logistical integration, making it essential to improve the accessibility of the park and its various sites and monuments
- Due to the absence of differentiated themed pathways, the park has revealed the need to attract specific targets through differentiated thematic offers, to be identified on the basis of the target groups established by the worktables
- The park includes one site that is completely underwater and a marine protected area with huge potential, despite not being visited much. It needs to be promoted properly
- There is life in the park and numerous events are held there, but not in a coordinated fashion. Because of this, the teams worked on the idea of promoting and organising the calendar of activities.
During the plenary session on Sunday, all the groups managed to present a project developed thanks to shared visions, compromises, the involvement of different skills and knowledge of the local area.
All that remains to be done is arrange all the proposals and give the park time to assess its next steps in working towards a Strategic Promotion Plan based on involvement and openness!