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Icons use case study city info



Icons use case study main actors

Main actors

Regional Government, National Government, NGO / Philanthropy, Community / Citizen Group

Icons use case study project area

Project area

Whole City/Administrative Region

Icons use case study duration


2016 - 2022

Swapmuseum is a cultural participation project, based on a mutual exchange among young people defined as “swappers” (16 - 29 years). 65 small museums and small companies who provide financial support, as well as vouchers for the purchase of books, cinema, theatre and concert tickets. The value of the vouchers is equal to the hours spent by the swappers in the museums during practical activities. The project aims to involve young people in museum life, in order to realise non-specialist voluntary activities, codefined with the scientific management of the museum. The project is integrated into the regional cultural context of Puglia.
Originally published by Eurocities – Cultural Heritage In Action: PDF

Sustainable Development Goals

Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages
Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all
Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation
Reduce inequality within and among countries
Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable
Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns
Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts
Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels
Puglia, Italy

Size and population development
Puglia, a region in south-eastern Italy, had a population of 4,008,296 as of January 1, 2023, showing a slight decrease of 0.3% per year since 2020..

Population composition
Puglia's population is nearly evenly split between males (48.6%) and females (51.4%). The population distribution by age shows that 13.2% are under 18 years, and those 65 and over represent 25.3%. The median age in the region is 46.2 years. The ethnic composition is predominantly Italian, with a small presence of immigrant communities, primarily from Eastern Europe, North Africa, and South Asia.

Main functions
Puglia is known for its long coastline, cultural heritage sites, and agricultural production, particularly olive oil wine and fruit. The region is a popular tourist destination, attracting visitors with its historic towns, beaches, and unique architecture.

Main industries / business
Puglia's economy is primarily based on agriculture, tourism, and manufacturing. It also has a growing tourism industry, with a focus on cultural and coastal tourism. The manufacturing sector includes textiles, furniture, and automotive components.

Sources for city budget
Puglia's regional government revenue comes from a mix of regional taxes, fees and charges, and transfers from the central Italian government and the European Union.

Political structure
The political structure of Puglia includes a regional government led by a President and a legislative assembly. As a part of Italy, it is represented by members in the Italian Parliament and the European Parliament.

Administrative structure
The region's administrative structure is composed of various departments managed by officials appointed by the regional government. Puglia is divided into six provinces: Bari, Barletta-Andria-Trani, Brindisi, Foggia, Lecce, and Taranto.

In Save the Children’s 2018 report “Swimming Against the Current. Educational Poverty and Resilience in Italy”, Puglia is identified as a region in southern Italy facing high rates of educational poverty and therefore very low rates of youth participation in cultural activities. Of the children interviewed for the report, 70.8% do not go to the theatre, 69.8% do not visit museums or exhibitions, 79.4% do not attend concerts and 59.9% do not read books. Small, local cultural institutions in Puglia also experience low visitor numbers and rates of engagement and are often unknown within their communities.

60 small, local museums were identified as having low visitor numbers and visibility in their communities. The museums identified activities suitable to their context, such as communication activities, promotion or new and engaging visitor activities. 
The organisation coordinating the project reaches out to young volunteers who can choose activities according to their interests. This is also facilitated by the online platform, swapmuseum.com. Swapmuseum organised many high schools career projects and has been included in different university curricula as an internship opportunity. In collaboration with Sprar (Protection system for asylum seekers and refugees) it was also possible to reach out to groups of migrant children. 
The swappers undertake activities like creating playlists for the museums, recording vlogs or designing social media posts. The project provided benefits to the young people based on the number of hours they spent doing the activities: gift vouchers for partner cultural services, school credits, etc.
64% of the budget came from the private sponsors including Fondazione Accenture, Fondazione Con il Sud and Chiesa Valdese. 24% came from the Puglia Region and another 5% from the national administration.
The management team from the small NGO 34° Fuso Aps is composed of young female professionals with backgrounds in cultural heritage, archaeology, information technology, communication, project management and fundraising. The organisation runs several projects in the region to enhance cultural heritage and they initiated and now coordinate the Swapmuseum project. 
All the activities are planned according to the scientific direction of each participating museum. The staff members of the museums are directly involved, as directors, curators, managers, tour guides, education officers. Some Public institutions, such as the Puglia Region administration, are partners of the project and they provide services, spaces, tools and funding.
Since 2016, Swapmuseum has involved 61 museums across the region. 548 young people have participated in the process spending 22,000 hours in the museums and they now consider them as accessible and central places in their everyday life. 
In addition, this process has fostered the rejuvenation of the museums through a stronger involvement of digital media. 
Thanks to Swapmuseum, a new awareness of belonging and cultural participation is born. 
After each activity, an evaluation survey was completed by the swappers: 80% of the participants reported that, as a result of taking part in the project, they learned a new skill which they will use in other contexts.

See background and objectives

Involve the target audience directly in the decision-making process by asking them what they would like to do and undertaking evaluations via surveys after each activity.
Generate a collective transmedia way of storytelling by using a range of innovative digital tools and consolidated engagement strategies. 
Never give up if at the beginning the process seems to be too slow. Get feedback from external people, evaluate and come back to the project richer than before!

On the Map

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Want to know more about this project?

Jakki Mann
Melbourne , Australia

Jakki Mann

Individual | Content Curator

Katharina Metz
Berlin, Germany

Katharina Metz

Individual | Project & Communications Manager

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