4.2.11 New technologies and digitalisation in the arts and culture
In order to deal with the Spanish economic crisis, the Socialist government implemented the National Reform Programme2011 as part of the EU's new growth strategy Europe 2020. The government's reform agenda for 2011 included, inter alia, advancing the Strategy 2011-2015 of the Plan Avanza 2, adopted in July 2010, and in a new Telecommunications Act. The new government that emerged from the 2011 elections, as a strategy to get out of the crisis, has continued with the Plan Avanza 2 (that seeks to place Spain in a position of leadership in the development and use of advanced ICT products and also services). It has also passed the new 9/2014 Act on Telecommunications (aimed at strengthening coordination between different levels of government, encouraging a more efficient and flexible use of the radio spectrum and improving the protection of users).
With a greater impact on the cultural field, and within the framework of the 2011-2015 Strategy of the Plan Avanza 2, as well as of the Digital Agenda for Europe, in 2011, the government launched the Plan for the Promotion of the Digital Content Industry. With the aim of benefiting from the creative potential of the sector and promoting innovation in all areas, the plan covers six areas of action: the growth of the sector; the impulse for the creation of new companies and businesses; education and training in digital content; the dissemination of the digital content industry; the protection of intellectual property and the internationalisation of the digital content industry. The Digital Agenda for Spain 2013-2015 is the umbrella of all the government's actions in terms of telecommunications and the information society.
Regarding the use of technologies in Spain, according to the Survey on Equipment and Use of Information and Communication Technologies in Households 2014, 74.4% of Spanish households have access to the Internet, nearly five percentage points more than in 2013. 11.9 million households have access to the Internet. Broadband Internet connections are available in 73% of households (nearly 11.7 million households), which represents an increase of approximately 800 000 households over the previous year. Madrid (83.1%) and The Balearics (78.4%) have the highest percentage of households with access to the Internet. Frequent users (those who connect to the network at least once a week) account for approximately 71.2% of the population, which means an increase of more than five percentage points compared to the previous year.
Despite all the progress made in recent years, some challenges remain to be addressed:
In the strictly cultural field, the General Strategic Plan 2012-2015 of the State Secretary for Culture includes as one of its main objectives to facilitate creation, innovation and knowledge production, as well as to promote culture on the Internet, safeguarding the rights derived from intellectual property. With this aim, the government designed eighteen strategies aimed at promoting the digitisation of cultural content and the legal supply of cultural content on the Internet. In the assessment of the Working Plan 2013, presented in April 2014, the government reported an achievement of 45%.
Within the framework of the Plan for the Promotion of the Cultural and Creative Industries, the government continues with a system of capital grants to increase the legal supply of cultural content on the Internet. In June 2011, with the aim of supporting the legal supply of cultural content on the internet, the Ministry of Culture presented the Label Cultura en Positivo / Culture in Positive, which aims to identify companies and institutions in the fields of music, films, books, visual arts and video games that provide digital content, either paid or free, that respect intellectual property rights. This initiative is part of an awareness campaign, which includes a micro-site with a series of online advertising spots aiming to reduce the high levels of piracy in Spain. In the cinematography sector, with the aim of supporting the process of digitisation of cinemas, at the end of 2012, Film and Audiovisual Arts Institute(ICAA), in collaboration with the Official Credit Institute (ICO), launched a new line of funding through which companies can access credit with a subsidised interest rate, which is assumed by the ICAA. More recently, the government has launched a new version of the portal Filmotech.com, as a new model for commercialising cultural products. With this initiative the government seeks to take full advantage of digital realities in creating new economic and social models and disseminating cultural products.
Important public and private initiatives for artists working with new technologies are:
There are two outstanding initiatives to support creators and artists working with new technologies. On the one hand, Hangar is a centre for arts production and research, set up by the Association of Visual Arts of Catalonia (AAVC) in 1997. It provides support facilities for artists and designers and offers services adapted to production needs associated with the arts world. The centre is subsidised mainly by the Catalan government and Barcelona City Council, and is managed by the AAVC Foundation. On the other hand, LABoral, Centre for Art and Industrial Creation, opened in 2007 in Gijón (Asturias) as an exhibition centre for art, science, technology and advanced visual industries. But it is also a venue for artistic and technological production, research investigation and training; and for the dissemination of new forms of art and industrial creation.
In the last years, new creative centres have opened their doors to the participation of social communities and citizen initiatives. For example, Medialab Prado in Madrid is conceived as a citizen lab for production, research and dissemination of cultural projects that explores new forms of experimentation and collaborative learning in digital networks. Hirikalabs in Donostia / San Sebastián (Basque Country) create activities that combine the digital world with citizen empowerment.
The Spanish Public Agency for Cultural Action (AC/E) publishes an Annual Report on Digital Culture. The first issue (2014) collects the influence of digitisation on performing arts and the second, to be published in 2015, will refer to the impact on museums.