According to the European Commission, cultural and creative industries (CCI) in Europe are estimated to be responsible for over 3% of the EU’s gross domestic product and jobs, with significant spill-over effects in other sectors, such as ICT, tourism, healthcare, urban development or trade. In fact, while other industries have been hit by the economic downturn, Europe’s cultural and creative sectors have been growing and providing new jobs. However, although they represent a crucial part for European identity and growth, CCIs remain undervalued and unrecognised, facing important challenges in terms of access to finance and start-up capital. A lack of clear evidence and comparable data in the sectors’ potential, coupled with a shortage of the necessary expertise to assess risks and to adapt the investment models to accommodate a number of challenges, result in financiers’ and banks’ reluctance to invest.
To better respond to these challenges, the European Commission’s priorities in the field of CCIs include a variety of initiatives, based on financial and technical support, such as grants and best practice exchange. Thus, 2014 marks the launch of the Open Method of Coordination group on the access to finance for the cultural and creative sectors. The group provides among others, a study mapping existing funding mechanisms (public and private) in EU Member States.
CCIs are a key element in global competition, as internationalisation and exports bring about increased cultural cooperation and growth of cultural and creative entrepreneurs. At EU level, building upon previous Culture, MEDIA and MEDIA Mundus programmes, Creative Europe Programme (2014-2020), aims to boost the competitiveness of CCIs, while safeguarding and promoting cultural and linguistic diversity. With a total budget of €1.46 billion (€422 million for the Culture sub-programme), the programme will stimulate cross-border cooperation among SMEs in the cultural heritage sector. Further funding for cultural heritage is provided through the European Structural and Investment Funds (with a total budget of €351 billion for regional policy) and Horizon 2020 (€80 billion for research). As of 2016, the Guarantee Facility, operating under the direct management of the European Investment Fund will provide security to financial intermediaries who take risks in granting loans for cultural and creative activities.
In addition to funding, there is a need to facilitate access to and encourage re-use of digitised cultural works across the EU. Studies show that only a fraction of Europe’s cultural collections are digitised, namely around 12% on average for libraries and less than 3% for films. Thus, projects such as Europeana and the recently launched “orphan works” database bring together the digitised content of Europe’s galleries, libraries, museums, archives and audiovisual collections and encourage the re-use of rights-cleared materials for new creative works, such as apps, games or websites.
This timely international symposium provides an invaluable opportunity to discuss the latest challenges faced by the cultural and creative industries in the EU and the solutions available through funding mechanisms, exchange of best practices and access to cultural works across EU. The symposium will examine how cross-sector and cross-border collaborations can lead to a stronger and more competitive cultural sector, fostering European identity and social cohesion. The Symposium will support the exchange of ideas and encourage delegates to engage in thought-provoking topical debate.
Understand the measures in place to promote and safeguard cultural and creative industries at the European level;
Examine how the Creative Europe Programme is implemented to support cultural and creative industries across EU;
Discuss how partnership working can be strengthened between cultural bodies and communities to build social cohesion;
Explore ways to strengthening cross-sector and cross-border collaborations;
Understand the innovative and social potential of digital cultural heritage.
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