This article was published in ENCATC Journal of Cultural Management and Policy Vol 2. Issue 2. 2012 and based on a paper that was presented at the ENCACT Annual Conference in Helsinki, 2011.

Digital Futures in Policy and the Cultural Sector in the UK

Ashley Wong

The global economic crisis has had a widespread impact across the cultural sector in Europe and the UK in the past 5 years. We are now witnessing the rise and fall of the ‘Creative Economy’ which has emerged in the past 15 years through neoliberal policies. New hope to revive the economy is envisioned in the ‘Digital Economy’, where policies intend to place digital innovation at the heart of economic growth. In order to participate in the digital economy, arts organizations are pushed to become ‘digital organizations’. The Digital Economy presents a number of opportunities and challenges for the cultural sector including standardizing and professionalizing the digital delivery of cultural content, finding new economic models through digital, monetising digital content and building digital knowledge, skills and resources in the sector. What is lost in the new policies is a value in the creative practice that supports experimentation and risk-taking, which is where true innovation takes place. There is a need to re-think the entire cultural and economic system today in the face of a global economic crisis. Despite depreciating funding for the arts, new possibilities can be found in ideas and practices of digital culture and the digital arts.

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