Exploitation and Development of the Job Potential in the Cultural Sector in the Age of Digitalisation
In order to utilise the job potential of this sector
more effectively, the authors recommend action at the following three levels:
A study just out shows that job increases in the cultural sector have outpaced those in the wider economy more than threefold. While EU employment grew overall by a moderate 1.2 % annually during the second half of the nineties, the growth in recreational, cultural and sporting activities was 3.8 %. The study, carried out by a group of German, Austrian and Spanish institutes, points out that the sector employs 7.2 million workers, far more than assumed by previous studies. Many of these are self-employed freelancers or from very small companies, working to non-standard patterns, and their number is set to rise further as new digital applications replace more traditional cultural media. Alongside the new possibilities for work flexibility in the sector, however, the study also stresses that already disadvantaged groups risk further marginalization because of difficulties in accessing these new technologies.
Historically, the link between economy and culture
has long been met with scepticism or outright rejection in the European
tradition of cultural criticism. "Culture as commodity" and commercial
cultural products were long absent from public cultural support - these
were the responsibility of commerce and industry. This has changed. Pop
and consumer culture have established new relationships. Greater individualism
and pluralism in lifestyles, and culture as a reservoir of differences and
distinctions have further contributed to an erosion in the differentiation
between high and low culture. In the process, the criteria of arts and culture
subsidy systems have also shifted. The traditional strict separation between
a publicly subsidised non-commercial cultural sector and the cultural industry
has been increasingly "softening" in favour of mixed forms.
Among a broader public, however, one interpretation of the arts and culture - namely that they only cost money obstinately persists. For a long time, in the public debate, the broad range of supported, subsidised arts and culture was rarely associated with innovative activities, despite the fact that the specific benefit of this public support for private enterprise is obvious in the interrelationship between public support for the arts and cultural productions. The study underlines that the "marketisation" of culture and the "culturalisation" of the market means that high culture is becoming increasingly commercial and that cultural content is increasingly shaping commodity production. One of the toughest policy challenges is to provide space for artistic, cultural and knowledge products that are not immediately marketable or to position socio-political arguments more deeply and forcefully in the field of public discussion that has largely been abandoned to economics.
The authors present recommendations at three levels:
policy orientation and integration, information and communication, affirmative
action programmes. Training and skills are important concerns in the cultural
sector. A large share of company start-ups in the cultural sector in the
cultural sector and in digital culture fail. In order to combat this phenomenon,
specific measures focused on developing appropriate skills are required.
The study also notes a large share of EU citizens do
not currently participate in the use of multimedia/ICT technology and in
exploitating the job potential in digital culture. From a social perspective,
it is primarily women, the unemployed and senior citizens who have no or
insufficient access to products of digital culture. From a geographical
viewpoint, EU citizens living in marginalised/peripheral regions (mostly
rural and/or economically depressed) are disadvantaged in terms of availability
of ICT infrastructure compared to urban dwellers.
Overall, the study demonstrates that digital culture represents an important generation of jobs when employment-oriented subsidy policies are implemented which focus on this sector of the labour market.
The findings of the study were presented on 25 June 2001 to representatives from the national labour market ministries and relevant Commission departments.
31.10.2002 | firstname.lastname@example.org