Publication: February 2021
Short link to this post: https://bit.ly/3jzUNgA
At a glance note: English
Authors: IDEA Consult: Isabelle De Voldere, Martina Fraioli
Goethe-Institut: Antonia Blau, Sina Lebert
Inforelais: Sylvia Amann
Values of Culture&Creativity: Joost Heinsius
Pre-COVID-19, the Cultural and Creative Sectors (CCS) were already characterised by fragile organisational structures and working practices. The fragmented organisation of value chains, the project-based working and the (not well-protected) IP-based revenue models are only a few elements contributing to this.
Large parts of the CCS are hard-hit by the COVID-19 crisis
Since the COVID-19 pandemic hit Europe in spring 2020, the CCS have been among the most negatively affected sectors. The containment measures that have been put in place throughout the EU have led to a chain of effects, severely impacting the economic and social situation in the CCS (see Figure 1). Especially the venue- and visitor-based sub-sectors such as the performing arts and heritage were most severely hit. Furthermore, the crisis has highlighted the very vulnerable position of many non-standard workers in the CCS, such as artists, freelancers or temporary workers.
Policy support focuses on emergency measures, not (yet) on relaunch and innovation
Policy makers in Europe have taken considerable and unprecedented measures to support the CCS during the crisis. Until autumn 2020, public measures primarily focused on short-term emergency support. Non-public supporters such as collecting organisations and foundations were more inclined to support the CCS by providing innovation-related support. Nevertheless, the expected losses of income for the CCS by far outweighs the support measures in place. Moreover, innovation topics highlighted in emergency and relaunch support measures lacked a broad perspective – addressing beyond the digital opportunities (current) major crises affecting the CCS and their role in society at large (in relation to e.g., health, environmental, social cohesion, international solidarity and economy).
The CCS are an integral part of the EU’s way out of the crisis, if built on more sustainable systems
While the COVID-19 crisis continues to heavily impact the CCS in 2021, it also provides momentum to further accelerate a number of trajectories towards more sustainability that emerged prior to or during the crisis. Given the multilevel vulnerabilities that characterised the sectors already pre-COVID-19, a return to the ‘old normal’ after the crisis is not considered as a viable option. A more systemic transition is needed in which unsustainable practices (related to, e.g., vulnerable working situations, fragile remuneration structures) are replaced by more sustainable alternatives. The alternatives that emerged during the crisis provide a strong foundation upon which to further develop.
During the crisis many CCS workers and organisations have shown their innovative power to experiment with possible alternatives, often in collaboration with new partners. When the containment measures forced CCS organisations and freelancers to halt their normal activities, many promptly adapted to new digital distribution formats – with interesting lessons learnt to further build upon. The CCS witnessed an increased sectoral unity through numerous joint actions and movements. But the most striking opportunities that the crisis has accelerated relate to the great contribution of CCS organisations and professionals to the well-being of citizens, social innovation and social cohesion.
To accelerate these opportunities, support for innovation and experiments will be crucial. The 2030 Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations can serve as a powerful compass for steering (support for) the transition process as they set clear and internationally approved ambitions and mobilise every citizen, organisation, sector or institution to contribute. The crisis has illustrated the power of the CCS to be(come) a substantial partner in the EU’s commitment to implement the United Nations’ 2030 Agenda.
Reinforcing the CCS requires substantial public commitment and investment
It is now of critical importance to capitalise on the most forward-looking new approaches and to further develop them into sustainable policies and practices. Policy makers have an important role to play in accelerating the upscaling and consolidation of those new approaches, while at the same time ensuring the phasing out of unsustainable structures and practices in the CCS. To this end, we have clustered our recommendations for policy action into three Flagship Initiatives for a long-lasting and sustainable recovery of the CCS. Each Flagship consists of several crucial pillars that require policy action.
In addition to the Flagship Initiatives, we also recommend that policy makers address a number of transversal issues. These include among others, ecological sustainability, skills development, access to R&D and innovation systems, and a re-establishment of the EU freedom of movement and common market.
 The analysis of the effects in this study primarily relates to the period March-September 2020.
 The analysis of policy support measures in this study covers the period of March to September 2020
Link to the full study: https://bit.ly/652-242
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