Arts & Culture: evolution and new challenges

What type of resources, needs and issues do define a sector – such as the Arts and Culture – which produces more than 250 billion euros per year, constantly changing and shaping places and communities? Our interest in the artistic and cultural sector, with an almost unlimited potential, rests on the solid foundations built by Nesta thanks to its twenty-year commitment in the United Kingdom, where the creative industries have increased by an average of 11%, double the growth of any other sector. In 2014, the British government implemented the measures suggested by Nesta by accepting the definition of ‘creative intensity‘, an innovative measuring meter that measures the rate of creativity in any type of profession.

Creative skills and industries

Creative industries are rapidly growing: in Italy, too, the rate is 1.8% over the previous year. But what will be the role of those industries in the next 10-15 years? A research published last year by Nesta in partnership with Pearson and Oxford Martin School (The Future of Skills: Employment in 2030) highlights the importance of creative skills in the workplace by 2030. Professionals such as photographers, graphic designers, archivists and curators, musicians, architects, web designers, dancers and so on, will see an estimated growth of 60-70%.

These data acquire further importance if we consider that, according to the study, only 8% of workers perform a job with a high probability of growth in the next 10-15 years, against a 21% of the workforce that is employed in professions that will suffer a noticeable drop.

In addition to creative skills, future jobs will increasingly require interpersonal, high-level cognitive and systemic skills. In general, the ability to combine cross-sectoral and system knowledge with specific skills will be increasingly required. Nesta recognizes this need and for some years has been playing an active role in promoting the “STEAM movement” for the inclusion of art in the basic subjects of secondary school and university. STEAM is a broader definition of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Maths) which includes and recognizes Art as one of the key subjects for the development of new professional skills in the artistic and cultural sector.

Nesta Italia’s mission within the Arts&Culture sector

While the Italian government has recently taken the first steps towards recognizing the productivity of the sector by introducing the legal status of “cultural and creative enterprise”, Nesta Italia is taking its first steps in the awareness of being in contact with a liquid and multifaceted ecosystem, in perennial evolution. The combination of cultural and creative capital and new technologies, the interdependence of these entities and the birth of new decentralized cultural institutions and in search of their own identity, has opened a new era of development of culture as a shared practice in which connections, exchanges and contaminations create new scenarios and new needs.

Nesta UK’s research and experimentation experience in the cultural and creative industry is the cornerstone on which Nesta Italia intends to build its design in this sector, as always oriented towards collaboration with actors already active on a local scale and national, respecting the territorial peculiarities.

Digital humanistics, an instrumental paradigm for the study of the cultural sector through technological tools, has conquered an increasingly important space in recent years, becoming a real movement that sees the fusion between the cultural and creative ecosystem and the world of digital technologies. The latter have become a determining factor in rethinking the concept of cultural property as the fulcrum of participatory projects with a high social impact and rate of innovation, reinterpreting the very essence of creativity as a real social aggregator.

The role of digital technologies in our method

In compliance with the principles that have always characterized us and that are particularly close to our heart, we will put our expertise into play, as always in partnership with the rich panorama of actors who already operate in the creative and cultural sector; trying first of:

  • Apply fluid and interdisciplinary research and experimentation methodologies. Thanks to the progressive digitization of cultural heritage and the use of open data, the methods of access and sharing are facilitated, with positive effects on dialogue and cultural contamination: the use of tools belonging to this sector is constantly growing to encourage the inclusion and integration of migrants and / or sections of the population at risk of social exclusion.
  • Create new spaces (physical and virtual) for the development of creative skills, indispensable in a constantly growing and evolving job market. It is now essential to train new professional figures with transversal skills, capable of thinking of culture as a changing and resilient organism.
  • Support the growth of replicable and easily scalable business projects that can contribute to the dissolution of the dependence of the cultural enterprise sector on public contributions, paving the way towards the economic sustainability of the cultural sector.

Today as never before, cultural innovation cannot live in the shadow of the ongoing digital revolution: it is necessary to find the courage to conduct new experiments (and, if appropriate, to fail), to test new channels for financing creativity and adopt new perspectives that do not fear the classification of culture as industry and legitimate economic activity.