By Ana Viñals Blanco and Isabel Verdet Peris
University of Deusto
Use of digital tools by cultural managers and most demanded training topics
ENCATC carried out, between September 2014 and May 2015, a “Survey on digital technology competences and know-how”, with a total of 451 responses collected from people working or somehow linked to the arts and culture sector from all over the world. The survey was designed with Google Forms and spread via ENCATC’s website, blog, social media and newsletters, as well as e-mail to ENCATC members. The main aim of this survey was to provide ENCATC with information about the digital technology know-how used by three core target groups: researchers, academics and cultural managers. Drawing on the main findings of this survey, a Masterclass on Digital Tools for Cultural Managers was organised in December 2015. The speakers at the Masterclass were: Peter Bary, CultuurNet Vlaanderen; Christopher Hogg, Goldmiths, University of London, and Annick Schramme, University of Antwerp/ Antwerp Management School. What follows is a selection of the main points in the survey report, which was presented, as an introduction to the Masterclass, by GiannaLia Cogliandro, ENCATC Secretary General.
An overview of the respondents’ profile
A total of 451 responses to the survey were collected, with a high diversity in terms of occupation (or professional profile), geographical area in which they work, and age group of the respondents.
- Occupation or professional profile: a great majority of the respondents (nearly a 55%) were cultural managers, what means that they identified themselves as cultural managers only and/or cultural managers and something else. The same goes for the categories “researcher” and “academic/lecturer”, with around a 25% of the respondents each (21% for academics/lecturers, and 27% for researchers).
- Geographical area of work of the respondents: the vast majority of respondents work mostly in Europe (78%), followed at a considerable distance by the respondents working mainly in America (6%) and in more than one continent (4%). Among those respondents whose work is based in America, a 41% work in North America (Canada and the United States) and a 59% in Latin America (including Mexico). Figure 3 shows the responses per country for those who work mostly in Europe.
- Respondents by age group: most of them fell within the categories 20-30 (43%) and 31-40 (32%).
The results of the survey might be summarised in 7 points. These 7 conclusions indicate the path to follow in order to improve the work of professionals in the arts and culture, with regard to their use of digital technologies:
- Most of the respondents (62%) declared to use the whole range of digital technologies, a significant percentage (32%), most of them, and only a few of the respondents (6%) use only some of the digital technologies.
- Interconnectivity is widely used by arts and culture people. Full interconnectivity is only expected and used by 47% of the respondents, while almost the same percentage of respondents (49%) use interconnectivity only partly.
- The most common uses of applications of resources, with around a 70% of the respondents having selected them, are: to compose documents (78%); to collect and analyse data and information (75%); to prepare presentations and present (71%); to share (e.g. documents) in a participative way (69%), and to search for literature (66%). At a short distance, about a 60% of respondents chose: to share (e.g. documents) in a passive way (61%), and to communicate with stakeholders (networking) (59%).
- Microsoft products are still the most widely used (75% of the respondents), followed by Apple products (46%) and Open Source SW (with a significant 21%).
- Regarding social media, there is a clearly predominant use of Facebook (71% of the respondents), followed by LinkedIn (59%) and Twitter (34%) and Academia.edu (18%).
- Favourite applications and digital tools are mostly focused on books and documents reading and taking notes (53%) and management of contacts (42%), and, to a lesser extent, on time management (25%).
- Researchers, cultural managers, academics and artists use technologies in quite a superficial way and they demand training on uses basically related to information and communication purposes.
Once analysed and interpreted the survey results, a general reflection is that much remains to be done with regard to the use and the ability to take advantage of the opportunities that digital technologies offer in the field of arts and culture. The responses to the question “I use many applications and resources to…” indicate that there is a general understanding of digital technologies mainly as tools for information and communication. That is to say, researchers, cultural managers, academics and students in the field of arts and culture conceive and use digital technologies, Internet and social media basically to collect and analyse data and information, as well as to communicate with others.
The social psychologist Dolors Reig states that, according to the objective to be achieved, technology can be used in three different ways (see figure below):
- ICT: Information and Communication Technologies
- LKT: Learning and Knowledge Technologies
- EPT: Empowerment and Participation Technologies.
Thus, far from considering digital media as being exclusively Information and Communication Technologies (ICT), contemporary digital networked culture is leading us to understand technologies also as tools for Learning and Knowledge (LKT), and Empowerment and Participation (EPT). According to this, digital tools ultimately enable our enjoyment, involvement and personal development through the Net. According to Reig’s distinction of the different uses of technologies (2012), professionals in the arts and culture sector would still be at the first stage of the scale.
Different uses of digital technologies
So, how can researchers, cultural managers, academics/lecturers, artists, students and other professionals related to arts and culture take advantage of technology to its full potential? The answer might sound simple: offering training in digital competence. But what does it mean being competent? In general, being competent involves “know-how”, i.e. having hands-on knowledge within different social contexts. It also involves being able to integrate knowledge, procedures and attitudes, as well as to renew previously gained knowledge in order to “know how” to get on throughout life. Thus, what does it mean being digitally competent?
To be competent in the digital era means having a combination of knowledge, skills and attitudes appropriate to a digital context:
- Knowledge is required on the nature, function and opportunities of ICT in everyday situations in private, social and professional life. This entails having sufficient hands-on knowledge of the main software applications, such as word processors, spreadsheets, databases, data storage and management, and to understand what are the opportunities and potential risks of the Internet and communication via electronic media (e-mail or net tools) for professional life, leisure, information sharing and collaborative netting, learning and research.
- Skills to search, collect and process information, and to use it in a critical and systematic way, assessing relevance and being able to identify truthful data and distinguish it from what is not.
- Critical and reflective attitudes towards the information available and a responsible use of the interactive media, i.e. an interest in engaging in communities and nets for cultural, social and/or professional purposes.
International surveys and academic literature continue to verify that many people lack digital capabilities; for this reason, the Information Society Unit at the Institute for Prospective Technological Studies (IPTS) launched “DIGCOMP: A Framework for Developing and Understanding Competence in Europe” (EC, 2013), a project with a view to contribute to the better understanding and development of Digital Competence. The report details the various aspects of digital competence by listing 21 competences and describing them in terms of knowledge, skills and attitudes. As it can be observed in the figure below, digital competence is divided into 5 areas (dimension 1) and 21 concrete competences (dimension 2). The areas are the following:
- Information: identify, locate, retrieve, store, organise and analyse digital information, judging its relevance and purpose.
- Communication: communicate in digital environments, share resources through online tools, link with others and collaborate through digital tools, interact with and participate in communities and networks, cross-cultural awareness.
- Content-creation: create and edit new content (from word processing to images and video); integrate and re-elaborate previous knowledge and content; produce creative expressions, media outputs and programming; deal with and apply intellectual property rights and licences.
- Safety: personal protection, data protection, digital identity protection, security measures, safe and sustainable use.
- Problem-solving: identify digital needs and resources, make informed decisions as to which are the most appropriate digital tools according to the purpose or need, solve conceptual problems through digital means, creatively use technologies, solve technical problems, update one’s own and others’ competences.
Overview of Areas and Competences of Digital Competence
In conclusion, training for professionals in the field of arts and culture should be fully adapted to the digital age and designed from a comprehensive understanding of digital technologies as more than mere information and communication technologies. These professionals should know and put into practice the values of a digital culture in which we are immersed, the values of collaborative, participatory and networked culture. Therefore, they must be competent and have digital abilities and digital literacy and skills, in order to be able to fully enjoy the potential of digital technologies. This way, professionals could on their turn contribute to generate proactive, critical and participatory audiences.
The full report elaborated with data from the survey and presented at the Masterclass can be accessed here.
Masterclass: Digital Tools for Cultural Managers
Organizers: European network on Cultural Management and Cultural Policy Education (ENCATC)
Speakers: Peter Bary, CultuurNet Vlaanderen; Christopher Hogg, Goldmiths, University of London; Annick Schramme, University of Antwerp / Antwerp Management School and ENCATC President, and GiannaLia Cogliandro, ENCATC Secretary General.
Event partners: Goldmiths, University of London; University of Antwerp / Antwerp Management School, and Creative Europe Programme of the European Union.
Venue: Europa Nostra – Brussels Office, Belgium.
Main focus of the Masterclass: key values of digital culture; possibilities of some specific digital tools, and good practices.
EC (2013) “DIGCOMP: A Framework for Developing and Understanding Competence in Europe”. http://ipts.jrc.ec.europa.eu/publications/pub.cfm?id=6359
REIG, D. (2012) Socionomía: ¿vas a perderte la revolución social? Barcelona: Deusto.
Ana Viñals Blanco holds a PhD in Leisure and Human Development (Institute of Leisure Studies, University of Deusto). She has a degree in Advertising and Public Relations from the University of the Basque Country and a MA in Organization of Congresses, Events and Fairs by the Institute of Leisure Studies at the University of Deusto. She developed her PhD research thanks to a Research Staff Training scholarship granted by the Basque Government. The title of the thesis, which received the cum laude qualification, is: “Connected Leisure: the experience of e-leisure of youth (16-18 years) in Bizkaia”. At the professional level, she has worked in the field of communication, events production and educational management. Her research interests are related to leisure, digital entertainment and leisure education, youth, digital and social technologies, digital culture and the educational sphere.
Isabel Verdet Peris. Graduated in Journalism and Translation and Interpreting by the University of Valencia (Spain), she holds a joint master degree in Euroculture Erasmus Mundus Master of Arts, by the University of Deusto (Spain) and Georg-August Universität Göttingen (Germany). She is now enrolled in the PhD programme on Leisure, Culture and Communication for Human Development of the Institute of Leisure Studies (University of Deusto, Bilbao), with a research project focused on emerging cultural mapping, developed with a scholarship for Research Staff Training awarded by the University of Deusto.