Culture and democracy: indicators framework and platform on digitisation


The nature of cultural policy is changing, with a greater focus on citizen involvement and bottom-up approaches, backed by the profound premise of culture’s role in democracy. There is, however, a scarcity of sound empirical evidence, proven measurement tools and applied policy analysis in this field, despite the increased demand for evidence-based policy-making. Furthermore, digitisation is profoundly changing our cultural experience, not only in terms of new technology-based access, production and dissemination, but also in terms of participation and creation, and learning and partaking in a knowledge society. Following the decisions of European Ministers of Culture at their Conference in Moscow in April 2013, the Council of Europe is carrying out two innovative activities to provide European Governments with effective tools for policy making.


Action 1 - Building an Indicator Framework on Culture and Democracy

with the support of the European Cultural Foundation since 2015


The Council of Europe, in partnership with its member States and leading research institutes is currently developing a set of indicators for assessing culture’s contribution to democracy. The indicator framework will demonstrate the links between culture and democracy, using conventional and cutting-edge statistical methods. It will help map European trends in access to and participation in culture and generate comparable national and European survey data. It will enhance existing information systems on culture and will benefit related statistical projects. A software application will support compilation and follow-up of the indicators and will be made available to member States and interested partners. The indicator framework shall also enable a more targeted allocation of resources to the cultural sector and a resulting effective reshaping of cultural policy. Finally, the indicator framework will enable a strong statement on culture's value for democracy – to be disseminated in the form of a guidebook proposing a set of principles for cultural policy-making to promote democracy and active citizenship.



Action 2 - Understanding the Impact of Digitisation on Culture

Digitisation must be accompanied by enlightened cultural policies, if opportunities for access and participation, individual and collective creativity are to be fully used. The 2013 Ministerial Conference highlighted the importance of users’ individual and collective needs vis-à-vis digital media. It hinted at risks for European cultural diversity and the need for adequate conditions for cultural content production and creativity in the digital age. The Council of Europe, in partnership with its member States and leading researchers is dedicating itself to developing such policies by offering a platform for the exchange of experience and good practice to policy makers, practitioners and civil society. The platform will produce policy orientation papers and Council of Europe guidelines as well as a toolkit for creating an enabling environment for digital culture and for empowering citizens. Future transversal Council of Europe activities including on media literacy may follow.



Tallinn Conference - 3rd Council of Europe Platform Exchange on Culture and Digitisation "Culture 4D: Digitisation, Data, Disruptions, Diversity", 29-30 September 2016, Tallinn, Estonia

Linz Conference – 2nd Council of Europe Platform Exchange on Culture and Digitisation "Smart Creativity, Smart Democracy" 4-5 September 2015, Linz, Austria

Baku Conference – First Platform Exchange on Culture and Digitisation "Creating an enabling environment for digital culture and for empowering citizens" 4-5 July 2014, Baku, Azerbaijan


Main documents

Brochure on  Platform Exchanges on Culture and Digitisation

Recommendation CM/Rec(2016)2 on the Internet of citizens [10/02/2016]



 Meetings and events

Indicator framework on culture and democracy



Moscow follow-up


IFCD, Project achievements and next steps: Add.1 | Add.2 | Add.3

Moscow Conference (April 2013) special file


Special feature on culture from Moscow (at 8mn30)

CoE journal

Press release



Kathrin Merkle
+33 388 41 28 84

Siobhan Montgomery
+33 388 41 24 14