“United for a new future” was the central theme of a international conference held on Friday 26 June, which allowed players from the cultural and creative sector to engage in a direct dialogue online with representatives of the European Commission – the Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth, Mariya Gabriel – the European Parliament and the European Council.

It was the first time since the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis that they all met to take stock of the situation in the sector and to project themselves into the future with concrete proposals. “We are not just here to talk, but also to act,” Ms Gabriel recalled, insisting on the need to implement all existing tools to support the whole sector.

“Culture is a part of our soul and the creative industries are an ecosystem that needs to be given full attention. I am glad to see that we not only share the same vision, but have the same desire to move forward,” she concluded after more than two hours of discussions with some 20 representatives of the sector from all over Europe.

At the heart of the Creative FLIP project

This conference was organised by the Creatives Unite platform, which was launched last April. This digital structure allows all European creative industries players to share information and best practice, to communicate references from other websites and existing initiatives and to give the opportunity to co-create or share solutions in response to the COVID-19 crisis.

Online since the 5 May, the platform has registered, in its first month of operation, some 15,000 visits and has received more than 150 contributions from the sector.

Creatives Unite is one of the achievements of the European project Creative FLIP (Finance, Learning, Innovation and Patenting) launched in February 2019 that directly addresses all creative and cultural industries.

This pilot project has two main objectives:

  • – to strengthen the growth and development potential of the cultural and creative industries (CCIs) by improving their access to finance, the recognition of their assets and the players’ ability to benefit from intellectual property;
  • – to foster cross-sectoral benefits between the CCIs and other sectors by supporting skills development and the promotion of creative skills.

Patentability under the IPIL microscope

Led by the Goethe Institute, FLIP brings together five other European partners, including the Institut de la Propriété Intellectuelle Luxembourg (IPIL). “Intellectual property is at the heart of the creative process,” explains Cyrille Dubois, Manager International Cooperation at IPIL. “From the moment there is creation, intellectual property comes into play, among other aspects. It is important to bring all the expertise required in this field to cultural and creative players.”

IPIL is working more specifically on issues related to patentability. This involves the analysis of practices already implemented within the sector, but also field studies and the implementation of specific statistical and bibliometric analyses. “The field of creative and cultural industries is very vast, which makes the task particularly complex,” says Mr Dubois.

“We are specifically working on future recommendations to consider the optimal use of patentable IP assets in the creative and cultural industries sector. This will be part of the set of recommendations to be presented by all Creative FLIP partners to the European Parliament and the European Commission in early 2021. The aim will be to provide the sector with as many concrete tools and solutions as possible for financing, training, innovation and intellectual property in the broadest sense.”

Adapted business models

According to data from the European Commission’s statistical office, Eurostat, the activities of the cultural and creative industries accounted for almost 3.7% of employment in the EU in 2015, or some 8.4 million people. This is more, for example, than the automotive industry. These activities contributed 4.2% to the EU’s GDP.

In Luxembourg, the study “The economic weight of the creative industries” carried out by the statistical consultant Philippe Robin on behalf of the Luxembourg Creative Industries Cluster and published in March 2018, indicated that in 2015, the sector accounted for around 1% of national wealth and employed more than 7,100 people (employees and self-employed), or 1.8% of national domestic employment.

“During the first weeks of the pandemic, we saw that many creative entrepreneurs had to adapt their business models or produce new tools and ideas related to COVID-19,” observed Marc Lis, the manager of the Luxembourg Creative Industries Cluster.

The #CREAction webinar series, organised in April, presented some of these projects, and gave project leaders an opportunity to exchange views. “The opportunity to create a global view of the contribution of the creative and cultural industries via a website like Creatives Unite is absolutely fantastic. It really highlights a sector that has more than ever become an important key factor in finding new innovative solutions in terms of social needs, but more importantly, in bringing new digital responses and becoming increasingly circular.”

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