The European Coalitions for Cultural Diversity have just launched the first ever European Forum on Discoverability. It was held in the European Parliament on 9 March, with the support of MEPs Ibán García del Blanco, Alexis Georgoulis and Niklas Nienass, and Members of the Cultural Creators Friendship Group of MEPs.
What is discoverability of cultural works?
Cultural creation cannot be considered separately from the workings of the digital world. Watching a movie or a series on a video-on-demand platform; listening to streaming music; searching for a show in your city on a search engine; ordering a book on the Internet; looking for a painting in online catalogues: access to culture and creation depends more and more on digital services. And access to works depends more and more on whether citizens can discover them in the digital world.
It is the effective discoverability of European cultural works in the digital environment, i.e. their availability and visibility to the public which is a determining factor in the success of the digital transition of the creative and cultural sectors and in building the future of European cultural creation.
Discoverability, what is at stake?
The European Coalitions have identified 4 issues that should serve as a basis for the future work, exchanges and reflections of the European Discoverability Forum :
- A citizen and research issue to better understand the digital environment and analyze the impact of algorithms and recommendation tools;
- A human resources and training issue to strengthen the skills of professionals in the cultural and creative sectors in the digital world and improve the use and transparency of metadata;
- A cultural and industrial issue by reinforcing the digitization of works, by improving their availability and their online presence and by contributing to the consolidation of European distribution platforms for local creative works;
- A political issue by collectively reflecting on the future of policies to regulate platforms and algorithms in support of European cultural creation and the sustainability of our creators.
What is the Forum’s vocation?
Reinforcing the discoverability of European works is a challenge that transcends all cultural sectors, that concerns each European country and that calls for appropriate public policies, revised business strategies and research programmes.
Faced with such a vast challenge, the Forum’s vocation is to be a place of reflection, a gathering place of action capable of mobilizing all the actors involved: creators and professionals from the creative and cultural sectors, European institutional and political representatives, and researchers. It will be also necessary to build a dialogue with the digital platforms.
In order to play its role in the definition and implementation of a new strategy for the discoverability of European works, the Forum will take strong initiatives in the coming months to act concretely around 5 commitments :
- Encourage the networking of researchers and promote publications and research data on discoverability
- Encourage European institutions to launch projects of calls for tender or financial support for the discoverability of European works and for the training of cultural professionals
- Ensure the promotion of best practices
- Organize debates and institutional meetings on discoverability
- To reflect on and propose new regulations that promote the discoverability of European creation and to raise them in the public and political debate
“We are at the start of a journey which will require further research in understanding the digital environment and how to make European works more visible and accessible; strengthening the digital skills of our cultural professional and supporting a wider variety of local players and platforms. We need to inform citizens of their rights and possibilities and ensure young people have the skills to create and find diverse works online. We also need to ensure that existing legislation, such as the AVMS directive, and its provisions on the prominence of European works on all our screens is properly implemented by Member States and kept up to date. I am looking forward to continuing the work of the Forum with all the relevant stakeholders.” Carole Tongue, President of the European Coalitions for Cultural Diversity