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 -i.e. the Hertie School of Governance- is currently developing has developed a set of indicators for assessing culture’s contribution to democracy. The indicator framework demonstrates the links between culture and democracy, using conventional and cutting-edge statistical methods. It helps mapping European trends in access to and participation in culture and generates 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 from 2017 the compilation and follow-up of the indicators and will be made available to member States, project partners and interested partners and the interested public. 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 enables a strong statement on culture's value for democracy: When citizens have easy access to a wide range of cultural activities, and when participation in these activities is high,societies are likely to be open, trusting and politically engaged, providing citizens with a greater level of life satisfaction. The Indicator Framework on Culture and Democracy and its Guidebook were launched on 14 October in Brussels at an event hosted by the European Union at Hotel Bloom (see programme).


IFCD policy maker's guidebook

IFCD launch: final presentation



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


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