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2 minutes to read Posted on Friday October 12, 2018

Updated on Monday November 6, 2023

portrait of Beth Daley

Beth Daley

Editorial Adviser , Europeana Foundation

portrait of Harry Verwayen

Harry Verwayen

General Director , Europeana Foundation

Why the culture and creative sectors must unite: THE ARTS+ manifesto on supporting innovation

THE ARTS+ festival in Frankfurt this week released a manifesto on supporting innovation for culture and creative sectors - the result of several months of work from the 14 partners (including Europeana) of its #InnovationSummit.

The technology/culture innovation gap; copyright: THE ARTS+/ Frankfurter Buchmesse GmbH
The technology/culture innovation gap
(C) THE ARTS+/ Frankfurter Buchmesse GmbH
October 2018
THE ARTS+/ Frankfurter Buchmesse GmbH

Identifying an innovation gap

The manifesto states that there is a growing gap between technology and culture. While technologies such as artificial intelligence, virtual and augmented reality, blockchain, 3D printing and big data can trigger innovation, very few initiatives and start-ups that are embracing those technologies are currently managing to scale up sufficiently.

‘Culture is one of Europe’s biggest assets’, says the manifesto, but ‘Europe needs a more effective innovation strategy for culture.’

A united cultural and creative sector

The manifesto asks ‘players’ to come together, rather than grapple alone to overcome this innovation gap. It calls for a ‘wider European ecosystem of support for innovation’, one that cuts transaction costs and boosts creative sectors to a digital level. In essence, to come together as a ‘European key sector - a sector whose significance in terms of jobs compares to the likes of the automotive and chemical industries’.

The manifesto outlines six main structural problems for innovation in the cultural and creative sectors at European, national and regional levels. And then suggests six measures to overcome them, including raising public investment, making investment in innovation easier and more attractive, and working to recognise the diverse nature of bodies within the cultural and creative sectors while increasing the sectors’ international character, and establishing and strengthening new definitions and dialogues around innovation.

It's time to be bold

Harry Verwayen, Executive Director of the Europeana Foundation, backs the manifesto, saying, ‘New radical technologies, like AI, are on the verge of breaking through and if we want to retain our competitive edge in cultural heritage, we need to make deep commitments and investments in our digital futures, in infrastructures like Europeana, or risk becoming the digital colonies of Silicon Valley. This requires the European Union to make another bold and enlightened decision: to once again promote digital transformation on our own terms so that we can continue to empower our cultural sector to unlock that potential from within.’

Get involved

Read the full manifesto on THE ARTS+ blog.

Share the manifesto and contribute to the discussion on social media using #theartsplus18.

THE ARTS+ festival continues in Frankfurt until 14 October.