How can the cultural and creative sectors thrive in the digital age, and cope with the challenges of new technologies such as artificial intelligence, virtual reality and blockchain? What are the best ways of supporting technology-driven innovation at European, national and regional levels? What will happen if we, as a society, do not act now?

In occasion of THE ARTS+ Innovation summit at Frankfurt Book Fair, organised in the framework of  Aldus, the 14 European partners joining the initiative presented their new “European Manifesto on Supporting Innovation for Cultural & Creative Sectors”.

For the first time, Europe’s creative sectors made a united call for large-scale support for innovation in culture in front of over 100 international experts from the fields of culture, technology, politics and business, who attended the THE ARTS+ Innovation Summit.

“The social, cultural and economic relevance of the creative and cultural industries is enormous”, said Christian Ehler, Member of the European Parliament, at the event press conference. “They are a key sector in Europe – bigger than the automotive or chemical sectors when it comes to their impact on jobs, for example. It is about time that we treat these sectors as a key sector, give them the importance they deserve and put them at the centre of innovation policies at the European level.”

The Manifesto is the result of the cooperative efforts by the 14 European organisation partnering THE ARTS+ Innovation summit, who worked together in the last months to identify the most significant structural barriers to innovation in the creative sectors, and to find the best solutions for a coherent strategy.

On the latter, Piero Attanasio, Head of European Affairs and Research and Innovation at the Italian Publishers Association (AIE), Aldus network coordinator, said: “Publishing industry needs both rules and tools: in last months the debate was focused on the first – the copyright Directive –; it is the time to look also at the second: the support to innovation in all the creative sectors. The vote yesterday in the CULT Committee is very promising: the Parliament is proposing to dedicate funds to support creative industries and in key area, such as copyright management and accessibility. We hope that this direction will be followed in the next steps.”

The biggest barriers to innovation identified in the Manifesto: 

  1. A high degree of fragmentation and a silo mentality that reflect sectoral, language and country divisions, despite the fact that cross-sector and cross-boundary collaboration are crucial.
  2. A general lack of investment, funding and financing: little investment comes from outside investors, and few public funding policies of an appreciable scale exist.
  3. The specific characteristics of the creative sectors, and how they affect innovation, are not easily measured nor readily understood. They have not yet been recognised by public policy makers.
  4. Technical and entrepreneurial skills are poorly integrated.
  5. Value networks are changing, bringing a need for new value and business models.
  6. Culture and creativity exist in an increasingly global context, yet cultural and political actors often still have a local mind-set.

The Manifesto proposes the following support measures for the cultural and creative sectors: 

  1. Acknowledge the converging and hybrid structure of the sectors, and introduce more explicit policies to support their innovation potential.
  2. Raise public investment in the cultural and creative sectors to a level which befits their relevance as a key sector and tailor funding programmes to their needs.
  3. Make it more attractive to invest in the sectors by strengthening alternative forms of investment and enabling new revenue sources.
  4. Strengthen the dialogue between policy, culture, technology and industry stakeholders, as well as intermediaries, research actors and civil society.
  5. Support a broader definition of innovation to include “soft” innovation.
  6. Strengthen the international character of the cultural and creative sectors, by enhancing the role of supranational policies and innovation support measures, especially at EU level.

The strategic partners for the Manifesto’s publication are the Fitzcarraldo Foundation/ArtLab and the European Creative Business Network (ECBN)/european centre for creative economy (ecce). Together with THE ARTS+, these were the initiators of the Manifesto. Further programme partners are Aldus – The European BookFairs network,  the Federation of European Publishers; the Börsenverein des Deutschen Buchhandels (German Publishers and Booksellers Association); the Italian Publishers Association AIE; Europeana Foundation; NEMO (The Network of European Museum Organisations); and Studies in Media, Innovation and Technology (SMIT), a research group at the Free University of Brussels (VUB), part of the research network imec (Flanders) and a partner of the EU-funded project MediaRoad. Network partners are the Fundación Germán Sánchez Ruipérez; Deutscher Museumsbund e.V.; German Commission for UNESCO; I3, a coordinated support action (CSA) funded by the European Commission (represented by T6 Ecosystems); New European Media (NEM), a partner of the EU-funded project VitalMedia; and the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (WAN-IFRA), through its Global Alliance for Media Innovation.

Read the Manifesto here