Andrea Pugliese, cultural experience designer

 2 March 2018

Andrea Pugliese is a cultural experience designer who lives in Rome, Italy. He discusses his unique career path, and how he merges a variety of skills to support creative businesses.

"I love my independence and the multidisciplinary approach"

Hometown?

I’m Italian, born in Genoa, and I have lived in Rome for the past 20 years.

What job do you do?

I’m a freelancer, focused on cultural projects which impact on economy, skills, employment and identity. There are no titles on my business card. Depending on the context and the tasks, I can be appointed as ‘author’ or ‘designer’, ‘project manager’ or ‘consultant’, sometimes ‘professor’. You could probably say that I’m a cultural experience designer.

What qualifications do you have?

I have a Computer Science degree and a master's degree in EU policies and Project Design. I have published more than ten fiction and non-fiction books.

How did you become a cultural experience designer?

I’d been a manager at the Ministry of Labour and then in a communication company, working on EU projects and Employment Services. In 2007, I quit to be more in touch with processes that were deeply transforming our economy and society.

I founded some co-working spaces and I worked hard on the innovation of public and private employment services, paying attention to phenomena like the ‘Sharing Economy’ and ‘Social Innovation’.

I also understood that the only sustainable future for Italy is rooted in a strong cultural economy. We breathe art and beauty every day, these are our clean energies.

I work in this area building competencies with adults, both employed and unemployed, and with start-ups and young people.

In my personal life I have also written and published several novels, crime stories and essays, since 2005.

In 2015 my personal and professional lives started to join together because the markets realised that storytelling is a key factor in education, management, audience engagement, history transmission, marketing, virtual and augmented reality and so on. My talents as a writer, manager, project designer and my IT skills, merged into this quite original job profile.

What do you do for your job?

There is a growing desire to give value to the past, to people’s stories and to traditions, in order to sustain innovation and look at the future. This applies not only to usual museums or heritage contexts but also in private company museums, experience centres and the retail sector.

I design solutions. I write projects starting from a brief, or a tender. I design applications and places that put targeted audiences at the centre of the action. Usually there is a collection to enhance, a key concept to make alive, or a place to be highlighted.

Cultural environment (tangible or intangible) become places where users/visitors find answers to their inner questions and desires.

I work with a huge spectrum of colleagues that can range from archaeologists to app developers; from designers to carpenters, from artists to fundraisers.

What is the best thing about your job?

I love my independence and the multidisciplinary approach. I meet many talented people and we share time and skills to create new value.

I teach adults often, in courses and masterclasses, and this is very rewarding.

And the worst thing?

Usually I’m involved in projects at the last minute and with a short time to do my best. There is a lack of programming knowledge in several sectors.

My cash flow is also unpredictable and, believe me, it’s always difficult to plan holidays in advance to get the best rate.

How do I get into cultural experience designing?

In my opinion, there are many possible paths. Higher education is important in order to have a deep empathy with human behaviours. You have to be curious, up to date in both IT and humanities fields, omnivorous in cultural consumptions.

Social media is a useful way to create new opportunities. Linkedin supports long term connections and have given me many teaching opportunities. Slideshare seeds my ideas. I have also a website, www.andreapugliese.it and a blog, pensierisprofondi.blogspot.co.uk.


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