European Manifesto on Supporting Innovation for Cultural and Creative Sectors

At THE ARTS+ Innovation Summit, organised on 10 October 2018 within the framework of the Frankfurter Buchmesse, NEMO and 13 other actors from the creative and cultural sectors came together and made a united call for large-scale support for innovation in culture. At a press conference on 11 October 2018, the partners announced the European Manifesto on Supporting Innovation for Cultural and Creative Sectors. The manifesto calls for the recognition of the cultural and creative sectors as a key sector when it comes to innovation policies and public funding.

The partners also issued a firm warning that, without appropriate support, the success of the sectors – including cultural heritage, journalism, broadcasting and publishing – is at risk in the near future. The manifesto states that “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.”

Further, David Vuillaume, Chair of NEMO, says that “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.”

Innovation support would enable museums to make the most out of their collection, economic, social and educational values. NEMO finds that museums can act as incubators of further innovation with the appropriate support. Education and development of available skills would also enable further innovation within the museum sector. Networks can contribute greatly to this by exchanging best practices as well as encouraging cross-border and cross-sectoral collaborations. Museums, and other actors within the sectors, should be encouraged to adopt new practices and a general harmonization of the sector is needed to avoid further fragmentation.

The Manifesto summarizes  months of collaboration between NEMO and  13 other partners who all set out to identify the most significant structural barriers to innovation in the creative sectors, and to find the best solutions for a coherent strategy. The outcome can be read in the manifesto and the biggest barriers are as follow:

  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.

Possible 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.

Read the full Manifesto on Supporting Innovation for Cultural and Creative Sectors here.

Read the press release issued by the THE ARTS+ here.