Cultural Competence.
New Technologies, Culture and Employment
International Conference, Design Centre Linz, Upper Austria

Thursday 1 October to Saturday 3 October, 1998

An event organised by the Department for the Arts, Federal Chancellery, as part of Austria's EU Presidency of the European Union

The rapid developments in electronic communications and IT have had a far-reaching impact on all fields of social endeavour, from business and education to culture and the arts. New technologies and media require a cultural context for users and for their own further development. This "creative potential" of culture has an everyday importance that goes beyond social innovation. By creating new professions and types of work, it is also becoming increasingly significant for society as a whole. On technology-driven markets, producers of culture are always in demand as "content suppliers".

During Austria's Presidency of the European Union, a conference entitled "Cultural Competence: New Technologies, Culture and Employment" will focus on repositioning culture in relation to the new media. This "digital revolution" is changing the structure of the entire cultural environment of our society. It brings with it opportunities as well as risks. Both can be favourably influenced if culture and the arts take an active role in shaping the world-wide data networks and develop a general competency in these new media.

Social scientists, politicians, and administrators from around Europe will gather for this conference to discuss the current meaning of the terms "culture" and "employment." Other topics will be the new work cultures now emerging and the end to mono-sequential (earnings-oriented) careers. The contents of the new Information Society must be conveyed by entirely different means requiring, above all, new and innovative educational strategies. In socio-political scenarios of the future, culture and the arts is a field increasingly touted as a potential new "job machine". The type of work and employment situations envisioned and the changes that have taken place in the role of culture within ICT (information and communication technology) will be discussed using European "best practice" models as examples. The conference will also delve into the effects of the changes in distribution structures that have been brought about by these new technologies and explore the general question of forward-looking forms of work in the cultural sector.

Technology policy needs cultural policy

This conference is intended to help bring about a permanent integration of culture and the arts in a European context, in European politics in all its various guises, and in the conceptual framework of the Information Society. In the process, potential conflicts, both current and emerging, will be illuminated and critically analysed.

Above all, we will seek to free the term "culture" from the prejudices and supposed arbitrariness surrounding it and to clarify new opportunities, and new limits, of labour market prospects and practices in culture and the arts, particularly with regard to the new position of "creativity" in the context of European employment.

Culture and the arts are tradition builders to be sure, but they also hold relevant potential for changing society. The object of this conference is to arrive at a more precise understanding of the term culture and to show how differently cultural policy makers, administrative institutions and the arts community itself utilise the term, at times against each other, at other times seemingly oblivious of each other. Cultural competence refers to the ability to perceive, as creative participants, the generalistic aspects of our complex society.

Our political goal is to integrate culture in the employment policy guidelines of the European Union as an operative agenda.

Subject to change Conference languages: German, English, French

Thursday, 1 October, 1998

Afternoon Policy scenarios and perspectives

Plenary contributions:

  • Transformation of work culture
  • Infrastructural developments and technical innovations from a societal perspective / civil rights and ICT
  • Copyright & culture: description of current policy stands
  • Siting and culture: fact and fiction - investment in culture in view of employment policies
  • ”Economy of attention”
  • New technologies and the media changing the conception of public space: what does ”access to culture” mean today?
  • Possibilities for culture/art organisations, artists and culture researchers to participate in European programmes
  • Media competence in connection with culture, education, science, economy, administration and politics - a new and broader definition of culture
Friday, 2 October, 1998
All day, working groups

Panel 1 Content and distribution: the electronic challenge (music, literature)

  • cultural production - cyberspace
  • copyright regimes - new technology, new policy
  • distribution and digital revolution
  • siting and employment
Panel 2 Cultural practice in electronic networks (network culture/art)
  • practice to policy
  • networking the future of digital culture
  • public sphere and the electronic arts
Panel 3 Repositioning culture in employment policies

New position of culture in employment context

  • transformation of work culture: new work/new culture
  • cultural worker - who are you?
  • best practice models - culture and employment
Saturday, 3 October, 1998
Morning, open to the public 
  • Technology policy needs cultural policy 
  • Rapporteurs report from working groups 
  • Discussion by EU politicians and experts 
  • Drafting of conclusions 
Conception - Organisation - Information

Federal Chancellery, Department for the Arts
A-1010 Vienna, Ballhausplatz 1

Conception and planning
c/o Österreichische Kulturdokumentation - Internationales Archiv für Kulturanalysen, Vienna
Andrea Ellmeier, Veronika Ratzenböck
A-1010 Vienna, Schultergasse 5/15
Tel. +43 1 535 27 06, Fax +43 1 533 49 89

Österreichische Kulturdokumentation - Internationales Archiv für Kulturanalysen, Vienna
Herbert Lachmayer, Archimedia Institute for Arts and Technology, Hochschule für Gestaltung, Linz
Public Netbase t0 Media~Space!, Vienna, Konrad Becker, Marie Ringler
Hauptverband des Österreichischen Buchhandels, Vienna
mica - music information centre austria, Vienna
Federal Chancellery, Department for EU-Affairs, II/9

Conference management and information
ikp - Institut für Kommunikationsplanung, Vienna
Judith Reikerstorfer, Birgit Brandner
A-1070 Vienna, Siebensterngasse 31
Tel. +43 1 524779037, Fax +43 1 524779039