The Alternativas Foundation has just released its annual report on the state of culture in Spain and points out the drop in cultural employment that this newspaper reported months ago: EPA data for the first quarter of 2021 indicate a total of 675,600 jobs for work in the culture sector, that is, more than 35,000 jobs destroyed. Although some sectors have increased their activity in confinement due to changes in habit, “cultural activity has been one of the most affected by confinement,” indicates Inma Ballesteros, the director of the extensive report that covers the particularities of each discipline with special attention in the publishing sector.
The culture sector dresses in mourning in 17 cities in Spain to denounce the abandonment of administrations
Before undertaking any modernization of the sector, Fundación Alternativas indicates the urgency of developing adequate protection measures for workers in the sector. He asks for continuity of the advanced work in the Culture Commission of Congress and to continue carrying out reforms that make it possible to equalize working conditions in culture with the rest of the productive sectors.
“We reiterate the importance of fiscally recognizing the intermittent nature of cultural work and developing mobile measures that allow the fair taxation of irregular income, as well as recognizing the specific needs of creators to guarantee social coverage appropriate to their reality,” says Ballesteros. Miquel Iceta, Minister of Culture and Sports, took the first step before the holidays.
Cultural Artificial Intelligence
While that long-awaited Statute of the Artist arrives, from the Alternativas Foundation they point to the Recovery, Transformation and Resilience Plan as the “opportunity” for culture to leave behind the ravages caused by the coronavirus pandemic. More than a rescue, European money will mean a transformation. “SMEs must strengthen their digital capabilities as soon as possible. It is a priority,” explains Ballesteros to this newspaper.
Digitization is not about diverting cultural consumption to screens. Ballesteros, who has been in contact with the Ministry of Culture in drawing up plans to help the sector, indicates that digitizing means incorporating tools throughout the value chain that help optimize resources, “which are always few” . It is the so-called “data economy”, which is used to manage the organization and the cultural SME and obtain greater guarantees in the production and dissemination process. The data will make possible a sustainable growth of cultural industries because they will be able to identify the basic needs to be covered and where to invest. It is Artificial Intelligence applied to the management of the consumption habits of the public.
“We believe in strengthening digital capabilities to guarantee the sustainability of products and services. The transformation must be done now. It is urgent. It is only a few years to execute that volume of millions,” adds Ballesteros. In total, the sector will receive 525 million euros to spend before the end of 2023. They represent 0.7% of the total investment that Spain will receive from European funds. However, the BOE has not yet seen reflected any call for these aid in the absence of just over three months to 2022.
The pending task
Presenting the report at the Book Fair was the General Director of the Book, María José Gálvez, who has ensured that Culture will allocate 42 million euros of these funds to the publishing sector. As explained, they will spend 10 million euros to buy books for the libraries of all the Autonomous Communities, three million euros for the purchase of digital licenses for eBiblio, another three million euros for the digitization of bibliographic heritage and 26 million to modernize SMEs. Of all the Directorates-General for Culture, that of the book has been the only one that has given concrete data on the objectives of the investment of the funds.
Ballesteros explains that until now the cultural industry had maintained a resistance to change. “It has been delayed due to sheer ignorance and it has been understood as not urgent. The pandemic has caused the acceleration of the process and the recovery is focused on that,” he indicates. It refers to Chapter 24 of the European aid, which clarifies the digitization of the content industries. “It is a clear need that now we cannot miss if we want to be competitive,” adds Ballesteros. The case of museums is a good example, because the information collected from users can adapt the offer to the needs of the audience or to know if the objectives are being achieved. Digitize so as not to improvise.
Source: ElDiario.es – ElDiario.es by www.eldiario.es.
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