We have ethical codes in many domains such as education, medicine, science, sports ... but do we have them in culture? Do we need them?
As festival curators, directors of arts institutions, cultural programs, venues, we have to make many decisions on daily basis. What drives these decisions, do we follow some sort of inner flow and intuition, experiences, or some other ethical rules? These are questions that I have addressed to various curators of contemporary art festivals or performing arts venues from Italy. I have chosen organizations, for which I believe do socially engaged and innovative work, but also do not compromise artistically. I have started my secondment in Perugia where I was based and discussed legal aspects of ethics with Valentina Collceli, a professor and researcher on issues of law and set the frame of my research.
From there I made trips to Terni, Santarcangelo, Rome and Cagliari, where I have assisted programs and had interviews with respected artistic directors. We have exchanged knowledge on the art of curating and programming; we discussed issues such as participation versus recuperation, cultural appropriation, relation between activism and art, rights. Do we protect and defend artists from repression or just programme them? Do these ethical issues open new relationships amongst artist, curators and audience?
Our ethical codes are impregnated through our daily work. Often they may appear small, non-important decisions, but they are reflected in ways of working, producing and can also tell everything about how we position ourselves not only in the domain of arts and culture but also in the context of society.