Supporting Culture in the Digital Age

IFACCA - International Federation of Arts Councils and Culture Agencies,
23 April 2020, International

Versión en español

Written by Octavio Kulesz
Edited by Meredith Okell

Prepared between November 2019 and March 2020, Supporting Culture in the Digital Age explores how the digital age has changed the cultural value chain; and draws on existing literature and insights provided by National Members of the Federation, as well as a range of actors from across the cultural ecosystem.

Elements of the narrative have progressed significantly in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, and we are aware that many in the sector – including the public agencies that support arts and culture through policy, promotion and investment –  have new insights, as many have leveraged new and existing digital opportunities in response to the current crisis. However, as the report demonstrates, the opportunities that come with the digital age bring challenges, too: from disparate access to infrastructure and replication of existing barriers; to protecting intellectual property, ensuring diversity of cultural expressions and understanding digital audiences. This makes it vitally important – now more than ever as we seek and adopt digital answers to our current crisis – to understand the effects of the digital age on the sector, and develop well-calibrated strategies and policies that consider the whole cultural ecosystem, to ensure that it is sustainable, diverse, equitable, and accessible.

In light of this urgency, we have released Supporting Culture in the Digital Age as prepared in early March: while it may not include the most recent measures taken, we believe the contents may prove useful to those working in the sector and members of the Federation, as they develop medium- to long-term plans, policies and programmes, particularly in the context of the COVID-19 crisis and its aftermath.


About the author

Octavio Kulesz (Argentina) is a digital publisher, entrepreneur and director of Teseo, one of the first academic e-publishing houses in Latin America. Octavio’s work focusses on issues related to cultural industries in the digital age; he authored the chapter ‘Cultural policies in the age of platforms’ for the UNESCO report Re|shaping cultural policies: advancing creativity for development (2018); and has written several other reports that have contributed to deeper understanding of digital trends in emerging regions, such as Digital Publishing in Developing Countries (2011). Since 2012, he has been a coordinator for the Digital Laboratory of the International Alliance of Independent Publishers; and in 2019 he was selected as a member of the 2019-2022 EU/UNESCO Expert Facility, aimed at supporting initiatives for the implementation of the 2005 Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions. In 2020, Octavio was appointed to UNESCO’s Ad Hoc Expert Group (AHEG) for the Recommendation on the Ethics of Artificial Intelligence, which will produce a draft of the first global standard-setting instrument on the ethics of artificial intelligence. 


Read the public report

Read the extended version of the report for National Members