Time to raise the curtain on the Culture Data Space
Berlin, 17 January 2023
The Culture Data Space has been given the green light: Minister of State for Culture Claudia Roth, the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media, is funding the first phase of the project to the tune of 2.6 million euros. acatech – National Academy of Science and Engineering –, the Ministry of Culture and Media of the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg as well as the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Information Technology FIT have been entrusted with its establishment; further partner organisations will be involved in specific use cases. The data space is one of 18 flagship projects in the federal government’s digital strategy. Its purpose is to facilitate the creation of a digital network of cultural institutions and the sharing of cultural data with data sovereignty being ensured. The end result will be a standalone platform for digital cultural products and offerings.
The Covid-19 pandemic also gave the cultural sector the impetus to digitalise. This process made it clear that the challenges facing the digital transformation in the cultural sector are different to those in industry and administration. This is where the Culture Data Space will come in, and create further digital potential. The data space will also make culture more accessible, especially in a networked and digital society.
Minister of State for Culture Claudia Roth said, „Cultural institutions – being places of learning, meeting and community – are essential in democratic societies, especially in times of crisis. We are funding the development of the Culture Data Space so that cultural institutions and their visitors and users can benefit from digitalisation to an even greater extent. The aim is to merge virtual and real offerings as well as to make networking easier. What’s important is for data sovereignty to remain with the creative artists and culture professionals, for the proceeds to go back to them and their intellectual property to be respected.“
Dr. Carsten Brosda, Senator of Culture and Media and President of the Deutscher Bühnenverein said, „Hamburg’s cultural institutions have for years been pursuing new avenues to make culture accessible, online as well, to a wide audience. Federal funding means that this work can now be stepped up and set an example throughout the country. We are pleased to be able to have an instrumental role in designing and supporting the establishment of a nationwide infrastructure. It means the Hamburger Konservatorium can enhance its expertise in providing digital lessons and further expand its international network. As part of its commemoration of the 250th birthday of Caspar David Friedrich, the Hamburger Kunsthalle will show how digitalisation is creating brand new ways to access art. I am also particularly pleased that the Deutscher Bühnenverein can help to improve the network of more than 1000 privately and publicly funded theatres, orchestras, festivals and venues, and together create new digital access points.“
The Culture Data Space will open up new possibilities: four use cases demonstrate benefit
Having digital calendars of cultural events and event-streaming have long been common practice in the cultural arena. However, varying degrees of digitalisation are still hampering the development of innovative products and services. The data space will give rise to new and attractive digital offerings, which will enable various stakeholder groups – including from the cultural and creative industry – to network to a greater extent. The spectrum of participants ranges from publicly funded institutions such as museums and theatres, to the freelance cultural scene, users, and on to the market-economy-led cultural and creative industry.
In the start-up phase, the plan is to demonstrate the feasibility, economic relevance and benefit of the Culture Data Space for culture and the creative industry based on four use cases at first, each of which will be jointly realised in conjunction with further partners:
- Playing with other musicians – at any time, anywhere in Germany. Under the baton of the Hamburger Konservatorium a digital marketplace is being developed that will create completely new ways for everyone to make music. At first, music teachers will be able to connect with students to hold digital music lessons in real time. Later, various features will be added to the platform, developing it into a music community at national and international level.
- It can often be difficult to choose the right cultural event from the wide range on offer. Networked culture platforms can help with this: they provide cross-border personalised information tailored to the situation. For cultural professionals, the network reduces their promotional workload and provides visibility beyond the local level. The Software Innovation Campus Paderborn of Paderborn University and OstWestfalenLippe GmbH, for example, will link the new cultural platform OWL live with other regional cultural platforms, leveraging the possibilities of sharing and linking data and sources of data to create added value for users.
- In Germany there are more than 1000 privately and publicly funded theatres, orchestras, festivals and venues, so there is a commensurately large volume of programmes, scheduling data and venue-specific information (such as on accessibility). However, the data are not in a standardised form, which narrows the possibilities for research and evaluation. In collaboration with the Deutschen Bühnenverein, the Akademie für Theater und Digitalität Dortmund and the Staatstheater Augsburg standards are to be drawn up for machine-readable theatre programmes. This will lead to more effective work processes in the theatres and create tailored offerings for the public. In addition, this will make it easier to process and share cultural data.
- Like no other painter, Caspar David Friedrich represents romanticism, and his works are icons of their time. To commemorate the 250th birthday of the artist in 2024, the Hamburger Kunsthalle in cooperation with the Alten Nationalgalerie of the Staatlichen Museen zu Berlin and the Staatlichen Kunstsammlungen Dresden is launching a digital platform with multimedia offerings, based on decentralised sources. The portal will allow the public to view a cleverly curated and varied collection of Friedrich’s oeuvre, from multimedia to gigapixel, open access to pay-per-view. The platform is being developed against the backdrop of the joint Caspar David Friedrich Festival involving commemorative exhibitions and events.
It is envisaged that these projects will demonstrate as early as mid-2023 that a Culture Data Space will enhance the digital experience of art and culture. Building on this experience, the operation of the Culture Data Space digital infrastructure will then be widely available for culture and the creative industry at the beginning of 2025. Existing structures will provide the basis for the next phase, and synergies will be utilised.
About the Culture Data Space
The Culture Data Space is a joint project of acatech – National Academy of Science and Engineering –, the Ministry of Culture and Media of the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg, the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Information Technology FIT as well as further partner organisations on a case-by-case basis. The Culture Data Space is one of 18 flagship projects in the federal government’s digital strategy and is all about facilitating accessibility and the reuse of data. A key principle is to protect the data sovereignty of data owners, copyright holders and service providers. The data will not be stored in a central location, but shared directly from person to person. acatech will apply to this project its experience from the successful establishment of the Mobility Data Space. The Fraunhofer FIT will determine the core requirements and expected utility and develop the technical support for the institutions involved based on the delivery of those requirements and expectations.