With a great impact on the cultural field, in 2013 the government launched the Plan for the Promotion of the Digital Economy and Content Industry. The plan covered three areas of action: the growth of the sector, with education and training initiatives in digital content, funding programmes and the impulse for increasing the dimension of companies and businesses; the protection of intellectual property; and the re-use of public sector information.
Despite all the progress made in recent years, some challenges remain to be addressed:
- achieving a better geographical balance for development by using specialised plans;
- increasing the level of cultural content within the new applications, which will require additional and targeted support; and
- improving coordination between the national strategies designed by the various ministries involved and those drawn up by regional communities and local councils.
Within the framework of the Plan for the Promotion of the Cultural and Creative Industries 2018, the government continues a system of capital grants to increase the legal supply of cultural content on the Internet. Also with the aim of supporting the legal supply of cultural content on the Internet, in June 2011, the Ministry of Culture presented the Label Cultura en Positivo [Culture in Positive], which aims to identify companies and institutions in the fields of music, films, books, visual arts and video games that provide digital content, either paid or free, that respect intellectual property rights.
More recently, with the collaboration of the private sector (such as media and telecommunication companies), the Ministry has launched an awareness campaign in the media titled No piratees tu futuro [Don’t Pirate Your Future], with a series of online advertising spots aiming to reduce the high levels of piracy in Spain. In the library sector, the programme eBiblio provides free loans of e-books and audio-books and in the cinematographic sector, the government launched a new version of the portal Filmotech.com, as a new model for commercialising cultural products.
Important public and private initiatives for artists working with new technologies are:
- ArtFutura, the Festival of Digital Culture and Creativity was founded in 1990. The festival has become a point of reference in Spain for art, technology and digital culture, and offers an extensive programme of activities in museums and cultural centres in more than twelve different Spanish cities. Each year, ArtFutura presents the most outstanding and innovative international projects of the previous twelve months in digital art, interactive design, computer animation and video games;
- OFFF started in Barcelona in 2001 as a festival of post-digital culture, and today combines art, design and technology through different activities such as conferences, workshops and exhibitions;
- Arts Santa Monica Creativity Centre, under the Catalan government’s Department of Culture, is a space for convergence and crossover between the different disciplines of contemporary artistic creation and science aimed at the diffusion of Catalan creativity, innovation, and reflection;
- Meeting-Show Zinc Shower, held for the first time in 2013, is an international meeting point for channelling investment, promotion, training and collaboration among the most innovative companies and projects in the sector.
There are two outstanding initiatives to support creators and artists working with new technologies: Hangar and LABoral. Hangar is a centre for arts production and research, set up in 1997. It provides support facilities for artists and designers and offers services adapted to production needs associated with the arts world. LABoral, Centre for Art and Industrial Creation, opened in 2007 in Gijón (Asturias) as an exhibition centre for art, science, technology and advanced visual industries. But it is also a venue for artistic and technological production, research investigation and training; and for the dissemination of new forms of art and industrial creation.
In recent years, new creative centres have opened their doors to the participation of social communities and citizen initiatives. For example, Medialab Prado in Madrid is conceived as a citizen lab for production, research and dissemination of cultural projects that explores new forms of experimentation and collaborative learning in digital networks. Hirikalabs in Donostia/San Sebastián (Basque Country) creates activities that combine the digital world with citizen empowerment and is now integrated in the wide project of Tabacalera. The Spanish Public Agency for Cultural Action (AC/E) publishes an Annual Report on Digital Culture that analyses the development of digital trends in the world of culture and focuses on a specific sector or discipline each year. The first issue, 2014, collected the influence of digitization on performing arts; the second one, 2015, focused on the impact on museums; the third one, 2016, on cultural festivals and professional meetings; the forth, 2017, on cultural heritage and the last one to date, 2018, on the general trends and readers in the digital world.