Interview with Holger Volland, Vice President Business Development at Frankfurter Buchmesse and founder of THE ARTS+

Last year, THE ARTS+ was launched as a new meeting place for the cultural and creative industries. This year it is back – and will run parallel to Frankfurt Book Fair from 11 till 15 October. In the run up to the big event BookMachine and THE ARTS+ are organising an event in London. In our third interview with the team, we speak to the founder, Holger Volland.

1) THE ARTS+ was launched at last year’s Frankfurter Buchmesse. Why did you think that a new meeting place for the cultural and creative industries like this was needed?

THE ARTS+ is a place for all pioneers in the field of digital culture.  Whether you are an architect, a designer, a game developer, a film director, head of an art collection or a publisher – you all have one thing in common: you create or curate cultural content. Now, thanks to digitalisation, any cultural asset can also become digital content, and as a result this creates a new ecosystem within the creative industries, with new structures, processes and possibilities of collaboration across borders.  We thought it was important to create a space at Frankfurter Buchmesse where we could give all these entrepreneurs, from across the cultural and creative industries, a stage to showcase what they do and to create an environment where exciting business conversations could take place.

2) Technology is playing an increasingly important role in the future of cultural content. How can publishers make use of an initiative like THE ARTS+, what business opportunities will they find there, and what is your goal for this year’s programme at the Book Fair?

The aim of THE ARTS+ is to offer a creative hub for pioneers of the creative industries, as well as for policy makers, research and intermediaries such as cluster organisations or trade associations. The goal is to bring together all the creative industries on one platform. At the heart of THE ARTS+ are the content-focussed creative sectors such as design, art, architecture and cultural heritage, as well as publishing, games and film. THE ARTS+ will show how digitalisation and new technologies like Virtual Reality (VR), 3-D printing or Artificial Intelligence (AI) affect these industries, and how to strengthen the new emerging ecosystems.  The programme that we are creating for Frankfurter Buchmesse this year will be very hands-on, practical and highly engaging, with a mixture of showcasing, discussions and networking formats.  We want to encourage as many attendees as possible to come and find us in Hall 4.1!

3) THE ARTS+ will attract representatives from across the creative industries, startups, museums, galleries, technology companies and big brands. If you were able to invite just one cultural icon from one of these industries as your ‘fantasy’ dinner guest, who would that be, and why?

That’s a tough question. Obviously, the creative sector is so crowded with inspiring people that it would be hard to decide on just one person. But if you forced me to decide, i’d invite the late Zaha Hadid. During her life she was constantly seeking new ways to express abstract ideas with architecture. She was obsessed that we need to overcome traditional understanding of statics and material physicality. But most important she said that only collaboration with other creative industries can provide her with the opportunity to express her ideas through different scales and in many diverse media. That way of thinking interdisciplinary was also one of the drivers for me when we founded THE ARTS+.

To find out more about ARTS+ and meeting industry professionals who might be attending this creative hub, join BookMachine and the Frankfurt Book Fair team in London on Wednesday 5th July. Grab a ticket here.