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Frankfurt, 11 October 2018 - 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? Today, 14 European partners presented their new “European Manifesto on Supporting Innovation for Cultural & Creative Sectors” at a press conference at THE ARTS+, the festival on the future of culture.

For the first time, Europe’s creative sectors are making a united call for large-scale support for innovation in culture. At the same time they have issued a stark warning that, without such support, the success of the sectors – including journalism, broadcasting, cultural heritage and publishing – is at risk in the near future. As the 14 partners state in their manifesto: “Culture is one of Europe’s biggest assets. But in an era of big technological change, Europe needs a more effective innovation strategy for the cultural and creative sectors. Right now, the logic of the big commercial platforms is reshaping not only Europe’s markets, but also its societies. Culture helps us make sense of our world, and it should provide a moral compass for technology. To empower culture in this function and to empower citizens to make the most of culture, we need massive public support for innovation in culture, but such support is currently lacking.”

“The social, cultural and economic relevance of the creative and cultural industries is enormous”, said Christian Ehler, Member of the European Parliament, at today’s 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.” Ehler was also a co-rapporteur for a report by the European Parliament which – already at the end of 2016 – called for a coherent European policy for the creative sectors, and highlighted the relevance of the sectors in providing “more than 12 million full-time jobs, which amounts to 7.5% of the EU’s workforce, creating approximately EUR 509 billion in value added to gross domestic product (5.3% of the EU’s total gross value added).” The Manifesto supports the demands made in the European Parliament’s report, and urges the swift implementation of a coherent innovation policy for the creative sectors at European, national and regional levels.

“Although there are plenty of innovative initiatives and start-ups in the creative and cultural sectors, very few of these achieve a sufficient scale for them to have a bigger impact on society or the market,” said Holger Volland, co-founder of THE ARTS+.“ We can see a growing gap between technology and culture. Culture, and with it society, are struggling to catch up with the exponential speed of technological innovation.”

Ugo Bacchella, president of the Italian Fitzcarraldo Foundation and strategic partner of THE ARTS+, observed that “tailored investments and structural support are needed if we are to benefit fully from tech-driven innovation, and for innovations in cultural production and distribution to bring more culture into citizens’ everyday lives. That’s how to make the most of cultural diversity and overcome the fragmentation of the cultural sectors.”

For the last few months, 14 European partners have been cooperating in an effort to identify the most significant structural barriers to innovation in the creative sectors, and to find the best solutions for a coherent strategy. The result – the Manifesto – was presented for the first time at yesterday’s THE ARTS+ Innovation Summit in front of over 100 international experts from the fields of culture, technology, politics and business.

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 European Manifesto on Supporting Innovation for Cultural & Creative Sectors is an outcome of THE ARTS+ Innovation Summit (10 October 2018), which was organised as part of ALDUS (the network of European Book Fairs, in a new window)) and is co-funded by the Creative Europe Programme of the European Union.

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 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.

Find the Manifesto here.(opens in a new window)

“Without adequate support for their ongoing technological and digital development, museums won’t be able to make the most of their full potential, and they run the risk of becoming irrelevant to large parts of society.” David Vuillaume, Chair of NEMO, The Network of European Museum Organisations, and Director Deutscher Museumsbund,

“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 we 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.” Harry Verwayen, Executive Director, Europeana Foundation,

“It is time for Europe to put in place support policies for innovation in the book sector and the creative industries in general that truly reflect their role and their potential, while acknowledging their needs and specificities.” Rudy Vanschoonbeek, President, Federation of European Publishers (FEP)

“Examples like the start-up accelerator Contentshift or the ebook ecosystem Tolino, developed by the German publishing industry in cooperation with ICT, illustrate the interest in innovation in the book publishing sector. But to ensure the diversity and quality of content in the future, there is a strong need for effective financial and structural support for innovation.” Cigdem Aker, Head of Strategy & Innovation, Börsenverein des Deutschen Buchhandels (German Publishers and Booksellers Association),

“The Book industry would have great opportunities if there were adequate innovation support policies in place. We need this support firstly for forging innovative partnerships with libraries and schools, aiming to tackle the changes in reading behaviour and, secondly, for creating ‘out of silo’ strategies to counter the power of the platform model of the huge tech companies.” Luis González, Director of Fundación Germán Sánchez Ruipérez (Spain),

“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.” Piero Attanasio, Head of European Affairs and Research and Innovation at AIE (the Italian Publishers Association),

"Platformisation and digital transformation are increasingly affecting the role of European media players in international competition. To face this issue, the cultural and creative sectors need better support from the European institutions – especially when it comes to the development of sustainable business models allowing small and medium European actors to compete on a level playing field with the big platforms. These issues should also be reflected very clearly in the next European budget (2021-2027), which is currently being debated in the European Parliament and the European Council." Simona De Rosa, Senior Researcher, T6 Ecosystems,

“In a platform-led digital future, innovative European media sectors are crucial to ensure that citizens have access to diverse content. This can only happen with increasing support at European, national and local levels, in order to ensure a level playing field for these sectors.” Heritiana Ranaivoson, Senior Researcher, Studies imec-SMIT-VUB,

"Culture and technology are human creations and, as such, share a common DNA. In this sense, the cultural sector must be fully involved in the digital environment. Not as visitors to a foreign land, but as social actors laying claim to what is theirs by right." Octavio Kulesz, Editorial Teseo / UNESCO expert,

“State-of-the-art innovation support policies and programmes are crucial for the European cultural and creative industries. Major efforts must concern the modernisation of policy making in the sense of intensive collaboration across silos and based on the concrete needs of the sector. Longer term and reliable cooperation is required. Main debates for future-proof support programmes must include the digital world, global connections and enhancing exchange and cooperation.” Sylvia Amann, inforelais, Co-Chair of the EU-OMC-expert group,

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About the Frankfurter Buchmesse
The Frankfurter Buchmesse is the international publishing industry’s biggest trade fair – with over 7,300 exhibitors from 102 countries, around 286,000 visitors, over 4,000 events and some 10,000 accredited journalists and bloggers in attendance. It also brings together key players from the fields of education, film, games, STM, academic publishing, and business information. Since 1976, the book fair has featured an annual Guest of Honour country, which showcases its book market, literature and culture to attendees in a variety of ways. The Frankfurter Buchmesse organises the participation of German publishers at around 20 international book fairs and hosts trade events throughout the year in major international markets. Access to the Business Club, with its premium services, networking events, and conferences, such as THE MARKETS, is available exclusively with a Business Ticket – the premium option for B2B visitors. THE ARTS+ was launched in 2016 as a fair, business festival and international meeting place for the culture and creative industries. It aims to exploit the potential of digitalisation for creative content and to develop new business areas. Frankfurt EDU, the international education platform of the Frankfurter Buchmesse, presents innovative concepts, content and technologies for the future of learning. Campus Weekend at the Frankfurter Buchmesse is dedicated to university students. The Frankfurter Buchmesse is a subsidiary of the Börsenverein des Deutschen Buchhandels (German Publishers & Booksellers Association).

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