“The Brazilian cultural sector is committed to technological innovation”


27 May, 2013

“The Brazilian cultural sector is committed to technological innovation”

The cultural boom experienced in Brazil in recent years brought Jose Pajares, researcher and GVAM Product Manager, to Rio de Janeiro. Now he has returned, we asked him to share his experience with the GVAM team. The emerging growth of Brazil, its distinctive social “collage” and its academic tradition in museology – with more than 12 specialized faculties – awakened his curiosity and motivation.

What are the major differences between Brazil and Spain in the museum sector?

Perhaps because Brazil does not have the same volume of historical heritage as Europe, it requires more creativity and sensitivity in identifying and valuing its tangible and intangible heritage. I think that, compared to Spain, there are two measures that have made Brazil a world leader in cultural entrepreneurship. First, a “law of patronage” which dates from 1991 and which Spain has a lot to learn from. It is the “Federal Law for Incentive to Culture”, which allows private companies to fund projects with their own taxes (up to 6% for individuals and up to 6% for companies). Secondly, thekey role played by the Departments of Education in museums. For instance, the educational team of BBCC (Centro Cultural Banco do Brasil) consists of more than twenty people.

Is there such a thing as a “union” betwen the Public and the Private sectors?

I think their model goes beyond a “union”: the Foundations of large Brazilian companies own several museums and theaters. For example, VALE, a mining company, manages the unique Vale Minas Gerais Memorial Museum  and Oi, a phone company, manages the OiFuturo Art and Technology centers. Moreover, most major exhibition projects stem from cultural SMEs, not public institutions. It’s a role reversal which can be viewed from Europe with suspicion but which generates more attendance and has good reviews.

From its position as an emerging power, how does Brazil set about incorporating technology in its museums?

Since its economic boom is quite recent,  generally speaking Brazilian museums do not offer  audio guides or other technological resources. That is why, nowadays, they chose more innovative projects, and in particular, interactive ones. I would even say that they are more interested  than Spain in educational and technological experimentation and that the cultural sector in Brazil is committed to technological innovation. Moreover, even if it’s a country where the percentage of mobile phone usage is really high, the smartphone penetration rate is still very low. In this sense, centers should still provide a loan guide service.

What role does accessibility play in Brazil?

As in the previous case, although accessibility is less developed, the sensitivity in this area is high in relation to their level of development. It shows in the number of seminars celebrated on this subject, in the concern to integrate people with disabilities into the job market and in the interesting projects that are slowly starting to appear. I would like to highlight the experience I had at the Museu de Arte Moderna (MAM), in a group visit in which blind people and people without this disability took part. The latter were blindfolded … We experienced a different way of perceiving art and it was really exciting.

Has GVAM’s accessible character been a key factor in Brazilian companies’ decision to  implement GVAM’s  technology?

The universal nature of GVAM along with Ventour, its multi-language management system, its positioning system, and  the system’s autonomy for publishing apps, are the more generally liked functions. Both for Brazilian museums and our partners in Brazil (like the Virtual Era company), our brand makes the difference in a very competitive market.