4.2.11 New technologies and digitalisation in the arts and culture
In the Flemish Community, "e-culture" is described as the phenomenon that information and computer technologies are thoroughly impacting on the way we produce and participate in culture. For a number of years, several institutions, networks and projects in the field of e-culture have been developing their work. A first step in this exercise was to develop a vision for the sector. The outcome is the publication "E-cultuur. Bouwstenen voor praktijk en beleid" [E-culture. Building stones for practice and policy.] (Debbie Esmans & Dirk Dewit, "E-cultuur. Bouwstenen voor praktijk en beleid". Leuven: Acco 2006.). In recent years, a growing number of cultural actors participate in a project of the IBBT (Interdisciplinair Instituut voor BreedBand Technologie, Interdisciplinary Institute for Broadband Technology). Projects such as "BOM-Vlaanderen" (Preservation and Access of Multimedia Data in Flanders) and its successor Archipel brought together a variety of media and cultural partners around the issues of sustainable access and archiving of audiovisual archives.
In a longer term, the "Waalse Krook" project in the Ghent city centre should be mentioned. This will become a new multi-media site includes a new location for the city library, a new Flemish center for digital archiving and retrieval, and a center for new media.
Other recent initiatives in cultural policy include support for the digitisation of public libraries, the issue of digital literacy and the digitisation of archives and heritage collections.
In November 2011 the Flemish support centres for the arts organised an e-culture fair, a showcase of innovative cross-over projects between culture (art, design, heritage), research and creative industries. It was part of the World Creativity Forum organised in Hasselt by Flanders DC.
Every year, an internet festival is organised. The objective of the festival is to assess the insertion of the French Community and, more specifically, of culture in the "knowledge-based society".
The development of new technologies has mainly focused on e-administration: development of websites, portals, on-line counters and services, and on the long-term preservation of the cultural heritage: digitalisation of the heritage in accordance with international standards.
Information and sensitisation days are organised, in particular in the area of public libraries and performing arts: participation to the European net-days on performing arts.
A computerised access programme to the collections of the museum institutions (AICIM) is under development.
The most important project alongside the re-launch of the internet portal of the German-speaking Community is the continual expansion of a virtual library network. This is an electronic network in which the Media Centre, school media libraries and certain public libraries work in cooperation. The items in the German-speaking Community's art collection are being stored digitally and made accessible online in the form of a virtual museum.
Various concrete cooperation projects are aimed at further developing the cultural and media landscape by network-linking the various players and encouraging exchanges of tried and tested practices.
In conjunction with the areas of teaching and youth, the communication of media skills is being furthered by e.g. school classes taking part in the European needy, support of the "Jumix" online youth magazine, offering courses, projects and events via the Media Centre and the Community's educational server (learnbox).