Cluj Future of Work at the Architecture Biennale of Venice
The results of the capitalization visit carried out by the team of Cluj Future of Work and the UIA expert to reflect on the future of work in cultural and creative industries with local and international stakeholders in Venice

Cultural and creative industries can play a decisive role in shaping the profile of a city and define its perspectives in terms of social and economic growth. In a city as Venice, famous worldwide for its glorious past and the impact of trade and arts on its peculiar urban context, cultural and creative industries make the city vibrant not only at the occasion of global events, such as film festivals or art exhibitions, but also attracting international partners from universities and cultural institutions. These elements help in continuously reshaping the future of cultural work, making the city a living laboratory for testing innovation in sectors, such as film production, design and innovative craftsmanship, which are considerably growing at regional and global level.
Heading towards the end of the project activities, Cluj Napoca shared some of the lessons learned in the framework of Cluj Future of Work with Venice’s cultural institutions and local organizations at the occasion of a capitalization visit which took place on 20 and 21 September, getting in exchange useful elements to consolidate the impact of the actions carried out in Cluj Napoca on medium and long term. The visit to Venice provided also the opportunity for exploring the connection between active policies for jobs and skills in the local economy and community resilience with the presentation of Cluj Future of Work at the Italian Pavillon of the 17th International Architecture Exhibition.
Here are five interesting points which emerged from the dialogue with innovators and representatives of cultural, productive and academic institutions of Venice.

Many cultural institutions of Venice created along the years a strong network of international connections, which was an important factor for attracting donors but also for nurturing generations of professionals who are innovating the way culture is presented to local, national and international audiences. The Peggy Guggenheim Collection is an interesting example of a cultural institution active in making art of 20th Century accessible to all, with a series of innovative projects and partnerships which go beyond the traditional role of a museum and create value through the connection with art fairs and exhibitions (such as the Biennale Internationale Art Exhibition) but also with local schools, craftsmen and artists. The experience of the Guggenheim Collection is inspiring for Cluj Napoca because it suggests a new model of interaction between global institutions and local cultural industries but also with local innovators who, as happened in the different editions of the Culturepreneurs programme, are working on services and actions to improve cultural fruition through the use of technologies.   

Cluj Future of Work at Peggy Guggenheim Museum
The Cluj Future of Work team with the Communication and External Relations Director of the Peggy Guggenheim Museum Alexia Boro (Credits: Simone d'Antonio)


Universities and innovation centres are everywhere attractors of talents, but the peculiar status of world capital of art and culture owned by Venice makes its preservation a priority for research and studies carried out by students, academics and experts coming from all over the world. The promotion of innovative entrepreneurship through research activities and solutions testing is a characteristic element of the Ca’ Foscari University, whose role is deeply rooted in the city as shown by its strategic location in a Gothic building on the waterfront of the Grand Canal. The objective of developing solutions to improve the quality of life for Venice’s inhabitants is shared also by SerenDPT, a business incubator that is accelerating technology-driven projects, developed by university students and local talents, aimed at solving social problems through the analysis of big data. This model of collaboration, which is fuelled also by partnerships with global universities and institutes to promote the scalability of the solutions, offers useful elements to Cluj Napoca which is looking for sustainable models to consolidate the connection between local universities and innovation centers, such as the CREIC which is hosting the Labs of Cluj Future of Work, in a framework of national and international competitiveness.  

Cluj Future of Work at SerenDPT
The team of Cluj Future of Work with the CEO and CFO of SerenDPT (Credits: Simone d'Antonio)


Craftsmanship is a relevant part of Venice’s identity but is also an asset that can be used to improve the visibility of the city at global level. The local branch of Confartigianato (confederation of artisans and craftsmen) launched a series of initiatives to promote local design at global level, such as the e-commerce “Venice Original” regrouping traditional and artistic productions of local artists and craftsmen or guided tour to discover the traditional arts and crafts laboratories of Venice. This integrated model of promotion can be furtherly explored by Cluj Napoca, which is fostering the creation of a label to be assigned to the cultural and artistic products issued by the entrepreneurship projects of Future of Work. This action can also contribute to the reflection on the future of work in specific sectors focused by the UIA project, such as design and Work 4.0, and foster new collaborations among different sectors also through the use of ICT and digital solutions.  

Venice from Canal Grande
Venice from Canal Grande (Credits: Simone d'Antonio)


Over the years, Venice tested different strategies to foster integrated management of all the aspects related to cultural events and city services. The creation of a multifunctional public company as Vela, which is in charge of managing the organization of big events but also urban mobility services, improved the local and international marketing strategy to promote the city and its cultural and creative industries. This original form of governance implemented by Vela has some interesting elements that Cluj Napoca can replicate to foster an integrated promotion of cultural events, such as the Transylvania Film Festival (TIFF), with positive effects in terms of creation of new jobs and development of innovative services by local start-ups and enterprises.   

Ca' Foscari University
Institutions and cultural and creative industries in Venice are often hosted by historical buildings, such as Vela and Ca' Foscari University (Credits: Simone d'Antonio)


Architecture Biennale of Venice
"How will we live together?" is the main topic of the Architecture Biennale of Venice 

The commitment of cultural and creative industries to increase the city’s preparedness for the COVID 19’s emergency contributed to making Cluj Napoca’s local community more resilient to the rapid changes brought by the current emergency. The same spirit can be enhanced also on medium and long term if it leads to consolidating the collaborative action on future skills to be developed to make cultural and creative industries more competitive and able to respond to the challenges posed by automation, the international competitiveness and the evolution of the sector. The particular angle of view developed by Cluj Future of Work was part of a wider reflection on strategies of community resilience carried out by European cities, such as Madrid and Ljubljana, linked to the guiding topic of the Italian Pavillon at the Biennale’s International Architecture Exhibition. The dialogue among projects covering different dimensions of urban sustainability showed the peculiar contribution given by the action on the future of work in cities in responding to the question “How will we live together?”, which guided the whole exhibition curated by Hashim Sarkis.

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Simone d'Antonio
Cluj-Napoca, Romania
About UIA
Urban Innovative Actions

The Urban Innovative Actions (UIA) is a European Union initiative that provided funding to urban areas across Europe to test new and unproven solutions to urban challenges. The initiative had a total ERDF budget of €372 million for 2014-2020.

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