Digital technologies are omnipresent, whether in science, business, politics or even in the most private spheres. It was though the COVID-19 pandemic that accelerated the pace, making clear that the future will require the workforce to adapt and learn new skills in a fast-moving technological landscape, the cultural sector included. To remain competitive, the cultural domains need to apply the technology-intense-experience to innovate along with an entrepreneurial mindset besides recruiting and retaining talents. Research undertaken however by the Partnership in 2020 has revealed:
1.- CULTURAL CAPITAL DEFICIT: 90% of the EU citizens declare culture as important for everyday life (EUROSTAT:2018). The high demand for new contents online is an identified opportunity. However, cognitive-emotional accessibility to cultural content is alarmingly low, especially among the digitally innate youth. Thus, the digital transformation entails a fundamental questioning of central foundations of the cultural sphere and the digital (re- )production of culture. It is imperative to combat this gap with a new cultural pattern, that raise the awareness of the audience for semiotic codes and fosters critical thinking.
2.- 4th INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION: e.g., the fusion of advances in artificial intelligence (AI), robotics, the Internet of Things (IoT), 3D printing, genetic engineering, quantum/cloud computing, and other technologies. Still, the cultural supply stagnates in front of fossil professions with outdated skills languages/technologies, which result in the loss of this market (COUNCIL OF EUROPE, 2016: Culture 4D: Digitization, Data, Disruptions, Diversity; 2017: Empowering Democracy through Culture – Digital Tools for Culturally Competent Citizens). In this vein, Pact4Skills helps establish a new paradigm for upskilled pathways in the production of digital culture by addressing the changing nature of ICT, with multiple users interacting with multiple technologies
3.- SUPPLY- DEMAND DIVERGENGE: Despite the fact that access to culture is a universal right, empowering personal/collective identities and critical thinking, in the PP 2007-2013 out of 47 billion EU Structural Funds, only 6 billion (1.7%) were allocated to culture; the reason is that its outputs are considered only of intellectual nature and are not appreciated as wealth generators. Along the lines, cultural and educational values were not recorded with dedicated indicators in the PP 2014-2020 (European Court of Auditors:2020). It is evident that the traditional generation of culture does not put cultural values in the heart of cultural planning and that public institutions have not yet developed feasible value propositions to adapting to the rising demands of experience seekers. To address this challenge, Pact4Skills shall employ a skills-shared reference code towards the generation of digital culture and open up new learning opportunities through the practical application of digital competences and entrepreneurial creativity.
4.- VIOLENCE CONTAMINATION IN THE DIGITAL SPHERE: Audiences are exposed to fraud, hate speech and fake news in an internet world that is projecting violence as a means for settling disputes (Stanford University 2018; Council of Europe Internet Recommendations 2016). Hollywood, Bollywood, disputable social contents in game alternate realities, discrimination and horror, invade the screens and the minds, without possibility for critical reflection and resistance. As the digital shell alone does not promote neither cultural values, nor the quality the cultural experience, or shared European identity, Pact4Skills proposes a CONTEXTUAL (R)EVOLUTION that can link cultural skills supply and demand with new fields of applications following the European Audiovisual and Media Services Directive/2018, which is providing rules to shape technological developments, disrupt violence contaminated content and preserve cultural diversity.
Cultural heritage is consumed for very different and sometimes conflicting reasons. Still cultural institutions have not yet exploited the potential of digital culture to communicate their treasures, with many sites, museums and collections offering but silent objects to the audience. Pact4Skills empowers HED students in the generation of digital culture that can become a bridge between digital industries and cultural institutions by introducing validated skills and open new fields of applications. • GLOBAL OBJECTIVE to reconcile educational curricula/non-formal training and market demands for a competitive cultural sector. Sites such as EUROPEANA, the European Film Gateway or EU Screen now allow to access picture and sound recordings and videos, but technology alone does not solve all problems. Το boost innovation an integrative approach is adopted to address the unexploited potential of digital culture, replace obsolete skills and achieve a diversity of higher skills and competences as required by the EU Digital Education Action Plan 2021-2027 and promote entrepreneurship education as a transversal key competence in the cultural domains. Thus, 4 sub-objectives are set:
SO1: Research the needs of cultural agencies to develop domain specific innovation liaising results with the workforce. Pact4Skills identifies experienced based products and services and helps thus connect new skills and new jobs better matching job seekers’ and labor markets’ needs in the cultural sector: the digital narrative, offers more than any other medium an interactive experience and incorporates the most advanced technologies available while it becomes a stimulus for future creations. The Partnership is committed to promote the quality of the digital narrative, to improve standards in the design and production of digital artworks and encourage the inclusion of cultural education in the leisure time of the different audiences, thus gaining a new market to accommodate better paid jobs.
SO2: Stimulate entrepreneurial mind-sets by involving HED students into a cognitive-inquiry learning utilizing pervasive media/digital literacies hand-in-hand with rich contents and critical thinking. The heritage sector stagnates in front of the fossilization of professions with outdated skills and the use of outdated technologies that cause loss of audiences. Pact4Skills tackles this challenge with multiple pedagogies and comprehensive training schemes and tools, which provide evidence of interdisciplinary achievements, improve standards for cultural production and exploit technologies that facilitate the inclusion of higher skilled workers in the heritage sector.
SO3: Improve the transparency/recognition of qualifications/competences in the cultural domains. Pact4Skills shall investigates the production mechanisms in digital culture to formulate remedies for the quality of contents and define new paradigms of research and representation, to employ and replicate a market- shared reference code to meaning making. Pact4Skills improves sector alignment and employability at scale – such as portfolios of demonstrable evidence of applied and social skills, micro-credentials, and methods of accreditation which encourage constructive, creative, and passionate self-expression within any community of practice.
SO4: Reconcile the world of education and training and the world of work by embracing novel training practices and competences in the generation of cultural services and replicate the innovation across the EU and the cooperating countries. Pact4Skills investigates entrepreneurial and skill needs in the heritage sphere to assist actors become responsive to demand and labor market needs and identify a new generation of culture-driven products. Training of work forces and creating new products that bring the work to follow the development and meet market demands is the main educational task.