At THE ARTS+, professionals from all four pillars of the creative and cultural industries – technology, culture, business and politics – will come together. They will discuss the challenges of digitalisation for the creative sectors and the chances that arise through new technologies.

Why do we think it is time for THE ARTS+? Because we have identified four challenges facing the creative and cultural sectors (CCS). These challenges, described below, affect the four pillars of the creative sectors – culture, business, technology and politics – in equal measure. Underlying these challenges is one basic problem: the growing gap between technology and culture. Culture, and with it society, are struggling to catch up with the exponential speed of technological innovation.

THE ARTS+ helps to close this innovation gap. Until recently, players in the creative sectors have been trying to cope with the challenges on their own. We believe there are now good reasons to unite and build a new international creative ecosystem together, and to turn common challenges into common opportunities!

By Nina Klein, programme curator of THE ARTS+ Innovation Summit




© Frankfurter Buchmesse

Challenge Chance

Digitalisation and new technologies, such as virtual & augmented reality, artificial intelligence, 3-D printing, the Internet of Things and big data are bringing innovation at an exponential rate. The creative sectors are struggling to keep pace with this technological innovation, while tech companies are perceived as admirable innovators.

 Digitalisation creates intersections between the creative sectors which allow them to share best practices, business models and value networks. THE ARTS+ provides a new, international creative ecosystem and a sounding-board for the cultural aspects of innovation.


© Holger Volland

Challenge Chance

High and low culture; publicly funded or commercial culture: the familiar polarities are disappearing in the face of digitalisation: Where did the cultural canon go, and what will replace it? Will jobs like writer, artist, museum curator and photographer survive? How can we challenge the dominance of technology in the mainstream public discourse and put culture back in its rightful place – back in the driver’s seat?

 Culture is whatever we make of it. It is a performative
act. How we make sense of the new technologies is itself a cultural question, and in answering that question, THE ARTS+ brings together some widely differing viewpoints, crossing sectors, disciplines and borders. 10,000 international journalists attending
the fair help us to build this new public discourse.


© Markus Kirchgessner

Challenge Chance

Business models from the analogue world are not easily transferable to the digital world: A “for free” culture undermines people’s willingness to
pay for content; network effects make big platforms even bigger, leaving others struggling
to get a share of the market; changing funding
frameworks and declining subsidies are having an increasing impact on publicly funded culture.

 What makes the creative sectors special is their penchant for cooperation. THE ARTS+ connects the
creative sectors in their search for new business models and partners. Being at the heart of the Frankfurter Buchmesse, the world’s biggest trade fair for content, with more than 170,000 trade visitors from over 130 countries, is clearly an asset.


© Julia Marie Werner

Challenge Chance

Taken together, the creative sectors represent a key global industry. In the European Union alone, where they account for 5.3% of the gross value added, this collective industry is a far bigger employer than the chemicals or automotive sectors, with 7.5% of the EU’s workforce. The potential of the creative sectors for cross-sector innovation is remarkable, as is their social and cultural impact. This is not wishful thinking, this is the European reality, as described in numerous studies. But that huge relevance is (as yet) far from being reflected in the European, national and regional policy agendas.

 Let us use the (considerable!) public sector interest
in the CCS and discuss how a more conducive environment for innovation could help boost the potential of the creative sectors in the digital age. The 200-plus politicians who visit the fair each year help THE ARTS+ and its strategic partners to make a strong political statement.