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ICT for culture: Winners of @diversity Awards announced



logo___diversity_blue3The winners of the first @diversity Awards, which recognise outstanding examples of ICT innovation to promote culture, were announced by Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth Commissioner Androulla Vassiliou at the European Culture Forum in Brussels on 4 November. The Forum, which gathers 1 200 culture practitioners and policymakers, was opened by European Commission President José Manuel Barroso. Lithuanian Minister of Culture Šarūnas Birutis and Czech economist and author Tomáš Sedláček are also participating in the event.

The @diversity Awards cover four categories: 'make culture', 'spread culture', 'access culture', and 'young culture'. The 12 winners (see details in annex) are:

ReWalk Europe



StoryGuides - Europe through Legends

HE/DE la guía a la ciudad amueblada



Deaf Magazine - Access to printable museum collections


Travelling Hospitals

Narrated Film Downloads

“Digitisation has changed the way that cultural goods are created, managed, disseminated and accessed. The @diversity Awards are a laboratory of creative ideas: our aim is to support the talented people behind them from project conception, to the development of business plans and to help turn them into a market reality,” said Commissioner Vassiliou.

The award winners will receive tailored professional coaching on developing business plans, legal issues, access to finance, marketing and networking. The aim is to attract financing and customers for the idea and to transform it into a sustainable project, product or service.


'@diversity: innovative ideas for the cultural and creative sectors in Europe' is a pilot project launched by the European Parliament and organised by the Commission's Directorate General for Education and Culture. The @diversity Idea Competition was launched in May 2013 and inspired more than 660 individuals and institutions from all EU Member States to get involved. More than 250 ideas were proposed for the competition.

The @diversity initiative is run by a consortium composed of peacefulfish (Berlin-based consultancy for financing the creative industries), MFG (a German innovation agency for ICT and media) and Kennisland (a Dutch think-tank focused on social innovation).

The European Culture Forum takes place at the Brussels Palais des Beaux Arts (Bozar) on 4-6 November. The Forum focuses on three main topics: measuring the true value of culture, exploring new funding models for culture, and audience development - making cultural participation a reality.

The @diversity winners

First category: Make Culture

ReWalk Europe will use digital tools to help tourists enjoy an alternative way of visiting an EU city by experiencing walking tours created by artists.

United Kingdom | Tim Jones |

SMartART enables museums and other cultural spaces to provide information to audiences via an image rather than a code. Content is detected by using software available for camera equipped smartphones.

Italy | Paolo Mazzanti, Roberto Caldelli | LCI Images and Communication Lab, University of Florence |

SonicPaintings brings stories in paintings to life by creating interactive soundscapes, which react to the position of the spectator in front of the exhibit. SonicPaintings broadens the way traditional art is perceived by using multi-sensory technologies.

Netherlands | Zbigniew Wolny, Karin Spaink

Second category: Spread Culture

StoryGuides - Europe through Legends is an augmented reality tour guide app, based on interesting anecdotes and historical facts about a city's heritage.

Slovenia | Matjaz Kotnik, Mitja Čander, UroŠ Ahačič |

HE/DE la guía a la ciudad amueblada is a multimedia guide which challenges its users to create culture out of abandoned pieces of furniture. The app also invites people to participate in workshops and training that will help them develop their creativity.

Spain | Luta Valentina Morciano |

WIKI RAIL is the world’s first interactive audiovisual guide for rail travellers. Information about the busiest EU rail routes will be available in real time and will be presented in film, audio-photographic media or augmented reality. Monuments, localities, and historical events can be experienced while travelling by train.

Germany | Achim Michael Hasenberg |

Yugo is an app/widget which proposes to its users one cultural event per day, based on smart usage of user’s personal profile and her/his current location. The app can make these suggestions thanks to a personal profile based on a novel combination of existing data and techniques currently scattered among different Web services.

Slovenia | Zarja Vintar, Ljupco Todorovski, Vlatka Ljubanovic, Jana Jazbec, Aleksander Srdić, Sara Grabnar |

Third category: Access Culture

Deaf Magazine is a lifestyle magazine about the culture of German sign language, linking analogue and digital media and connecting the written word directly with sign language. By combining written language and sign language with visual content, culture helps to overcome communication barriers.

Germany | Alexandros Michalakopoulos Andreas Ruhe, Angela Koser | - Access to printable museum collections will increase the ability of museums to provide access to museum source materials globally by creating a web platform which will facilitate the management of 3D digital files and the distribution of 3D print replicas of museum artefacts.

Greece | Nikolaos Maniatis |


Poetrycloud is a literary 'instagram' which will redefine the concept of an anthology, using digital tools to access European children's poetry favourites across generations.

United Kingdom | Neal Hoskins |


Travelling Hospitals will take hospitalised children on a virtual voyage to discover other countries and cultures.

France | Mariana Santillan, Andrea Fischer, Miguel Conde, Natacha Vicente, Pascale Malinowski

Fourth category: Young Culture (authors <25)

Narrated Film Downloads will make it easier for visually impaired people to enjoy films and increase returns on investment for film distributors. It also aspires to become a mainstream product - a narrated film or audio film, rather than an audio description for the visually impaired'.

United Kingdom| Dean Rhodes-Brandon|


Creative Europe: Over €2 billion to support the recovery, resilience and diversity of cultural and creative sectors



The Commission has launched new actions to support the cultural and creative sectors in Europe and beyond, following the adoption of the first annual work programme of the Creative Europe 2021-2027. In 2021, Creative Europe will allocate an unprecedented budget of around €300 million to help cultural professionals and artists to collaborate across disciplines and borders, in order to find more opportunities and to reach new audiences.

The adoption lays the foundations for the first calls for proposals under the new programme. These calls will be open to all organisations active in the relevant cultural and creative sectors. The total seven-year budget of €2.4 billion has increased by 63% compared to the previous one. Creative Europe also aims to increase the cultural sector competitiveness, while supporting their efforts to become greener, more digital and more inclusive. Special attention is given to reinforcing the resilience and recovery of the cultural and creative sectors in light of the pandemic.

Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth Commissioner Mariya Gabriel, said: “Over 8 million people across the EU work in a cultural activity. Culture knows no borders and no nationalities. Art represents a window to the world and contributes to building bridges among all of us. At a time when museums, cinemas, cultural heritage sites, theatres, all start to reopen, I want to reiterate the Commission's support for the cultural and creative sectors. With an increased budget, Creative Europe will strive to reinforce the recovery of the sectors while promoting the immense diversity and creativity that they offer us.”

Internal Market Commissioner Thierry Breton said: "Artistic and creative expression is at the heart of the cultural and creative industries and of our European identity. The reinvigorated Creative Europe programme will give a boost to European stories that resonate globally, and nurture Europe's creators, producers, distributors and exhibitors, so badly hit by the pandemic. By supporting collaboration across the value chain and linguistic borders, as well as new innovative business models, MEDIA will bolster a vibrant and culturally diverse audiovisual ecosystem. For the first time, and at a time of growing threats to media pluralism, Creative Europe will also promote a healthy and sustainable news media sector across the Union.”

A press release is available online.

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EU boost for culture



MEPs have approved the biggest ever budget for the EU's culture and creative sectors - €2.5 billion for 2021-2027. Society 

Creative Europe is the only EU programme that exclusively supports the culture and audiovisual sectors. After a rough period for artists and the whole sector because of restrictions linked to the COVID-19 pandemic, Parliament and the Council agreed on a €2.5bn budget for 2021-2027 in December 2020. MEPs approved the agreement during the plenary session in May 2021.

Better response to different sectors and their needs

To be able to respect the specific nature of different sectors and respond better to their needs, Creative Europe is divided into three different strands:

Culture focuses on networking, transnational and multi-disciplinary collaboration in cultural and creative sectors and fostering a stronger European identity and values with special attention for the music sector, as negotiated by MEPs.

Media is dedicated to stimulating cross-border cooperation, mobility and innovation; increasing the visibility of European audiovisual works in the new environment; and making it attractive to different audiences, especially young people.

Cross-sectoral aims to encourage innovation, support cross-sectoral projects, the exchange of the best practices and address common challenges. Creative Europe also supports: 

  • European Heritage Label 
  • European Heritage Days 
  • European prizes for music, literature, heritage and architecture  
  • European Capitals of Culture  
Support for activities with EU added value

Creative Europe will support activities that promote common EU roots, cultural diversity and cross-border co-operation.

Promoting inclusion and gender equality

MEPs ensured a focus on inclusion and gender equality, promoting the participation of people living with disabilities, minorities and those from disadvantaged backgrounds, as well as supporting female talent.

Creative Europe 

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10 cities competing for the 2020 #EuropeanCapitalOfSmartTourism title



Ten European cities have been shortlisted for the 2020 European Capital of Smart Tourism competition (presented in alphabetical order): Bratislava (Slovakia), Breda (The Netherlands), Bremerhaven (Germany), Gothenburg (Sweden), Karlsruhe (Germany), Ljubljana (Slovenia), Málaga (Spain), Nice (France), Ravenna (Italy) and Torino (Italy). The finalist cities were selected from a total of 35 applications from across 17 EU Member States.

The European Capital of Smart Tourism was proposed as a preparatory action by the European Parliament and is implemented by the European Commission. It aims to promote smart tourism in the EU, foster innovative, sustainable and inclusive tourism development, as well as spread and facilitate the exchange of best practices. This EU initiative recognises outstanding achievements by European cities as tourism destinations in four categories: Accessibility, Sustainability, Digitalisation as well as Cultural Heritage and Creativity.

Last year, Helsinki and Lyon won the inaugural competition and the two cities jointly hold the titles of European Capitals of Smart Tourism in 2019.

This is the second edition of the competition to award two cities as the European Capitals of Smart Tourism in 2020. The two winning cities will benefit from communication and branding support for a year. This will include; a promotional video, a purpose-built sculpture for their city centres, as well as bespoke promotional actions.

Moreover, four awards will also be handed out in recognition of achievements in the individual categories of the competition (Accessibility, Sustainability, Digitalisation and Cultural Heritage and Creativity).

All winning cities will be announced and awarded at an Awards Ceremony, which is taking place as part of the European Tourism Forum in Helsinki on 9-10 October 2019.


In the first stage of the competition, an independent panel of experts evaluated the applications. All finalist cities demonstrated excellence across the four competition categories combined.

In the second stage, representatives of the 10 finalist cities will travel to Helsinki to present their candidatures and the programme of activities planned for 2020 in front of the European Jury. The European Jury will meet on 8 October 2019 and select two cities to become European Capitals of Smart Tourism in 2020.

The selection of the most innovative projects, ideas and initiatives, submitted by cities to the last year’s competition can be found in the Compendium of Best Practices, the go-to guide to smart tourism in the EU. For all the latest news on the European Capital of Smart Tourism, sign up to the newsletter, or follow on Facebook or Twitter.

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