FAI Spring Days, harsh words from Student Union: "It's exploitation"

Controversy is flaring up again ahead of the 2019 edition of FAI Spring Days, which this year will be held on March 23 and 24. Last year, the controversy was partly focused on our newspaper(a summary with related articles can be found at this link), and 365 days later the terms of the issue do not seem to have changed: in fact, there are discussions about the use of volunteers, the involvement of sites that belong to the public, and the precariousness of workers in the sector. TheStudents’ Union and the collective Do you recognize me? I’m a cultural heritage professional express harsh words of condemnation against the initiative, which again this year will use the services of students employed in school-work alternation projects as “apprentice ciceroni” to take the public of FAI Days to discover sites.

“The organization of these days,” stresses Giulia Biazzo, national coordinator of the Students’ Union, “is guaranteed by students working as tour guides: once again we are witnessing work masquerading as education, that is, exploitation. What is needed instead are integrated education paths where we students, working alongside professional guides, can supplement the knowledge learned in the classroom with experiences on cultural heritage, but without substituting for professional guides, in an educational and not work experience.”

“The work of us cultural heritage professionals,” says Flavio Utzeri of Mi Riconosci instead, “is, because of government policies in recent years, always a precarious job, underpaid and often just not recognized as work. And this is what happens in the FAI days, where instead of employing and paying professionals, often in search of employment, they prefer to use students for free. This fosters and justifies a very bad competition between students and workers, where the former are exploited and the latter are left jobless, as it justifies and exalts a system that is wrong, emergent and crystallizes the precariousness not only of workers, but also of the Goods themselves! This is also why, while the Spring Days are taking place, we will be in various cities in Italy distributing leaflets, raising the right doubts about this initiative.”

Finally, in a joint note, Unione degli Studenti and Mi Riconosci demand that “the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Activities break their preferential relations with FAI.” The cultural assets involved, the two parties conclude, “must be made accessible through the employment of professionals, not students in alternance masquerading as volunteers: no more exploitation!”

Pictured is a photograph taken during the 2017 FAI Spring Days at the Villa Saraceno in Finale di Agugliaro (Vicenza). Ph. Credit

FAI Spring Days, harsh words from Student Union:
FAI Spring Days, harsh words from Student Union: "It's exploitation"

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