The culture of data and predictive algorithms

Born into the digital revolution, the data have become in a few years a major ethical, political, technical, and economic issue - as much as a central part of culture and creative industries of the 21st century. 

A special focus is given nowadays to personal data - whose impact has been analyzed by the Forum d'Avignon from its creation to the organization of the first event ‘100% Data’ (cf our report ‘Personal data, a cultural issue’). While the matter of Open data takes up the political field, that of ‘big-small-smart and open’ data has invaded – helped by means of numerous predictive algorithms – all the sectors, from marketing to human resources, from research to strategy. Doing so, a true ‘Data Culture’ has appeared ; while its first stakeholders and raw material’s providers – the citizens – are not necessarily aware of it.

In this respect, cultural institutions and industries have to complete a double mission. As the essential vectors of cultural diversity, they must:

  • internally : collect, gather, and use data with transparency in order to optimize their functioning and development ;
  • externally : co-create, relay, and convey this ‘Data culture’ so as to draw awareness to the largest public on the multiple issues of data.

How to mobilize the ecosystem of culture (especially institutions and industries) about the role it could play in the creation and dissemination of a ‘Data Culture’ - useful for its development? Who creates and disseminates data in 2015? How can cultural diversity be strengthened?

So as to offer concrete proposals, in 2015 the Forum d'Avignon leads with its partner Atelier BNP Paribas a study and some working groups on the following topic :

Data Culture : what role for the cultural industries and institutions?’

Works by the Forum d’Avignon on data and algorithms


  • April 1st, 2016 #FAbdx - Account of the session: What are algorithms dreaming of? READ


  • Smart city: how does sharing data contributes to improving the way we experience our day-to-day lives in the city? With L’Atelier BNP Paribas (2014). READ
  • Opening-up cultural data: a driver of growth? With EY (2014). READ
  • Businesses, when data culture becomes a competitive advantage. With EY (2014). READ
  • Cultural behavior and personal data at the heart of the big data industry: finding the right balance between privacy and innovation. With EY (2014). READ
  • Big data: big culture? The growing power of the data and its outlook for the economy of culture. With L’Atelier BNP Paribas (2013). READ


  • Personal data, a cultural issue. By the Forum d’Avignon, updated april 2015. READ


  • Personal data and companies, the urgent need for ethics", Le Quotidien de l'Art, by Laure Kaltenbach, General manager and Olivier Le Guay, September 7, 2015 READ
  • “Answer to Madam Jourová: it is time to act for personal data protection” by Laure Kaltenbach and Olivier Le Guay, Feb 4th, 2015. READ


  • "The pre-digital nostalgia and the Off switch fantasy" by Paul Vacca, 1-13, 2016 READ
  • "From the freedom of speech to data management: use of visitors’ books in cultural spaces" by Laure Pressac, December 23, 2015 READ
  • "Culture, SOS the analogue is back!" by Paul Vacca, December 17, 2015 READ
  • « A quoi rêvent les algorithmes » or the new roads to freedom, by Paul Vacca, november 9, 2015 READ
  • "Digital, the new French-German axis of European development" by Clara-Doïna Schmelck, October 31, 2015 READ
  • « Big data’s greatness and fantasy" by Paul Vacca, September 14, 2015 : READ : 1/32/33/3
  • "Data at the core of cultural innovation" by Marion Rampini, june 24,2015 Lire : 1/3 - 2/33/3