February 19 2024

Empowering Europe’s Cultural and Creative Industries: Barcelona Statement A Manifesto for Change

By Bodil Malmström

The Barcelona Statement, unveiled by the Spanish government in July 2023, serves as a guiding light for harnessing the potential of CCIs to drive economic growth, foster innovation, and promote sustainability across the continent.

The Barcelona Statement presents a framework rich with big ideas on how to enhance the quality, economy, and innovation power within CCIs. This initiative acknowledges the diverse landscape of CCIs, encompassing sectors ranging from design studios with fewer than ten employees to media giants employing hundreds. It acknowledges that each sector has its own unique challenges and opportunities.

“It’s a heterogeneous big sector. For example, in design, there are small studios. But then we have media, visual and digital arts, which have big companies and we have to take into account, that there are really big differences”, Isabel Roig explains.

All voices heard

One of the key strengths of the Barcelona Statement is its inclusivity. It invites not only formal institutions but also smaller cities and regions to join the movement. This inclusivity fosters collaboration and ensures that the voices of all stakeholders, regardless of size or status, are heard. As such, it provides an ideal platform for initiatives like ekip, which seeks to drive innovation and research within CCIs with policy recommendations.

But how can ekip align and use the Barcelona Statement for its purpose? The answer lies in emphasizing the collective strength of a unified European movement. By positioning itself as part of a larger vision for the continent, ekip can attract support and participation from cities and regions that may not have developed their own strategies for CCIs. This approach not only amplifies the impact of ekip initiatives but also fosters a sense of belonging and shared purpose among its members.

“Projects like ekip exemplify the practical application of the statement’s principles. By leveraging the Barcelona Statement as a guiding framework, ekip seeks to enhance collaboration between cultural and creative industries, driving ecosystem-level policies that promote open innovation and transformation”, says Isabel Roig.

And Charlotte Lorentz Hjorth, coordinator for ekip from Lund University and Future by Lund in Sweden strongly agrees: “In ekip we need the argumentation from Barcelona that is a very strong CCI city. It´s setting the standard for the rest of us. We welcome this statement so cities throughout Europe can sign up for something bigger, a bigger plan, a bigger movement and use the joint energy”.

CCI the frontrunner

Central to the Barcelona Statement is the vision of a greener, more digitalized Europe, driven by the creative energies of its people. CCIs play a major role in this transformation, with sectors like design leading the way in sustainable practices and innovation. From zero-meter gastronomy to the adoption of biomaterials in product design, CCIs showcase the potential for sustainable and socially conscious business practices.

“I think these sectors really are frontrunners when it comes to adopting new things, being the leaders in testing the new and changing things. The cultural creatives can pull other sectors, including them and showing them new ways”, says Charlotte Lorentz Hjorth.

There is a social link between the CCI and our society which makes the message to change into a greener world easier for people.

“Take for example gastronomy. The chefs in Nordic countries have started a great movement with going back to small production and very local products. The transformation to a greener more sustainable Europe it’s a mixture between cultural heritage of what is in this region”, says Isabel Roig that firmly beliefs that people from the gastronomic area, designers, artists, musicians, actors from theater can make business within not zero kilometers but zero meters.

Societal change

Moreover, CCIs serve as connectors between industries, bridging gaps and fostering cross-disciplinary collaboration. Their ability to adapt, innovate, and communicate makes them invaluable allies in driving societal change. By leveraging their creativity and influence, CCIs can inspire shifts in behavior and attitudes towards sustainability and digitalization.

In the quest to make Europe a hub of creativity, innovation, and sustainability, the Barcelona Statement call to action for policymakers, industry leaders, and creative minds alike to unite in pursuit of a common goal.

“I think that ekip can bring to the table quite feasible recommendations that really can make a difference”, says Isabel Roig.

Learn more about the Barcelona Statement

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