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The City of Oulu grasped the challenges within the cultural and creative industries brought about by the coronavirus pandemic with two new projects. These projects, TechArt and DigiCult, started at the beginning of the year to create new operating models that combine art, culture and technology. The first open call for swift experiments already starts in February.

The TechArt project utilises innovation in creating new business and employment opportunities for companies and those operating in the cultural industry, while developing new and interesting ways to share cultural content.

”The events and cultural industries have suffered deeply due to the pandemic restrictions. They have developed new ways to share content, but those have not really created any income for their creators. The new ways of operating developed during the pandemic will continue to improve the accessibility of culture and art in the future. Still, new income models need to be developed for the cultural and creative industries”, says the project manager of TechArt project, Olli Rantala.

TechArt Ecosystem Gathers Experts Together

TechArt’s ecosystem will be assembled in Oulu where local and international technology and content creators come together to solve common challenges. It is looking for involvement from companies, operators in the cultural industry, citizens, students, researchers, and representatives of municipalities. The goal is to search for solutions that combine technology and culture in a new and innovative way.

“Oulu is bidding to become the European Capital of Culture for the year 2026 so we already want to begin the interaction and common development between the tech industry and the cultural industries. We are building a lasting operating model, so that the ecosystem will be able to continue functioning after the project finishes.”

Open Call for Swift Experiments Already in February

TechArt’s kick-off event will take place on Thursday 25th February 2021 at 14:00-15:00 (EET). During the event, the first open call for swift experiments, piloting technology and content that will be implemented during the spring, will begin. The kick-off event will be held on Microsoft Teams and will be open for anyone to attend.

“TechArt and DigiCult rely heavily on outsourced services, which means there are real opportunities for the region’s operators to develop and implement new things”, promises Rantala.

Geographic Information Services as Guides for People Hungry for Culture

The DigiCult project will develop a digital service entity that utilises geographic information. Specifically, cultural services and the city’s leisure activities will be available on the service.

“Over the years, digital servicing platforms have been built in the music industry. There are also several services that allow for livestreaming and recording, but they are not versatile and interactive enough, nor do they support business and revenue models so that they could fill the void created by the cancellation of live concerts and theatre performances.”

In addition to the city of Oulu, the cities of Espoo and Kuusamo are involved in the DigiCult project as development partners, while the municipalities of Siikalatva, Taivalkoski, Paltamo and Hailuoto are involved as monitoring partners.

The DigiCult project has received financing from the Ministry of Finance, Finland since the beginning of this year, continuing until October 2022. The TechArt project received financing from the European Regional Development Fund from the Council of Oulu Region for the years 2021 and 2022. The City of Oulu will provide the results of the project as open data to companies and to those operating in the cultural industry.

Participation link for the kick-off event on 25th February: https://bit.ly/3pRf044