"Culture 4D: Digitisation, Data, Disruptions, Diversity" 


Tallinn (Estonia), 29-30 September 2016

The 3rd Council of Europe Platform Exchange on Culture and Digitisation will be held in Tallinn on 29-30 September 2016, in the framework of the Estonian Presidency of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe (May-November 2016). Hosted by the Estonian Government, its title is “Culture 4D: Digitisation, Data, Disruptions, Diversity”.


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The event is timely for the Organisation, since the Council of Europe is much concerned with issues of equal access to, participation in and creation of culture, with a view to, among others, promoting and protecting the common good and mindful of commercialisation or privatisation effects. The phenomenon of “big data”, understood as the constant collection and storage of immense amounts of data from various sources and then subjecting it to predictive analyses through algorithms enables unprecedented efficiency but may also threaten such equality of access, participation and creation. This is mainly due to the fact that these processes are managed by corporations with commercial interests. The personalised profile of users based on the analyses of data submitted with or without their explicit consent from interconnected devices such as smartphones, digital tv’s or credit cards is used not only to target, but also to influence these users by adjusting their options.

Convinced that the opportunities arising from the new digital environment should be used to reinforce access to and participation in open culture, thereby strengthening democracy, the Platform exchange will examine in detail some of the challenges and the potential contributions of big data in the cultural field under two main headings.



A) Issues raised by “big data” in the cultural field vis-à-vis the common good

Accompanied and complemented by concurrent trends like automation and cloud computing, big data leads to the concentration of data processing in the hands of a few powerful global corporations. The session of the meeting will look into such questions as: public-private co-operation in cultural digitisation projects, power and control over cultural data, representation of cultural diversity and a diverse cultural memory as well as exploring innovative applications of “big data” to democratic ends and through democratic means.

B) Means to empowerment and participation in the digital era

In order to ensure that all are aware of their rights and responsibilities so as to benefit from the digital technology, the second session will explore ways for overcoming cultural barriers and closing digital gaps within a global society, as well as between different social groups with a view to enhancing cultural access, participation, production, acquisition and intercultural relations. Another question to be investigated by this session will be how can we contribute to societal inclusion through digital culture?



A multi-stakeholder event, the 3rd Platform Exchange on Culture and Digitisation will bring together policy makers, media practitioners, cultural/arts specialists, artists, researchers and civil society bodies. Experience shows that the diversity of participants leads to fruitful exchanges and helps identify the various dimensions of digital challenges and opportunities for culture, which the Council of Europe will subsequently address through its policy-orienting work.



It is envisaged that the Platform Exchange will provide ample insights on practices, experiences, disruptions, concerns and solutions related to the above main themes. A Council of Europe working group will subsequently prepare a set of Council of Europe policy guidelines.