‘Culture is Digital’ report to unleash creative potential of technology for cultural organisations

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Museums, galleries, theatres and heritage organisations are to be given access to technology and digital skills training to help them reach new and diverse audiences.

Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), Matt Hancock, announced the move as part of the Culture is Digital report which sets out a framework for how culture and technology can work together to increase participation and boost the capability of cultural organisations.

The report makes a number of commitments, including the following:

  • Arts Council England and the Heritage Lottery Fund will invest more than £2 million to build the digital capacity of their sectors
  • The Royal Opera House will create an Audience Lab which will work with diverse talent to create content using emerging technologies and develop cross-sector collaborations
  • The National Gallery will create an Innovation Lab to examine how museums and cultural organisations can use immersive media, such as virtual and augmented reality, to enhance visitors’ experiences

Borne out of the Government’s Culture White Paper commitment to review the digitisation of public collections and enhance the online cultural experience, the #CultureisDigital project builds upon the Government’s UK Digital Strategy commitment to increase digital skills, digital participation and unlock the power of data.

Matt Hancock said:

‘Our cultural output has always been our unique calling card to the rest of the world and, when combined with the latest digital developments, there is no limit to our creativity. We want the UK to be the best place in the world to trial pioneering technology while also maintaining our world-leading status as a centre of artistic and cultural excellence. Our Culture Is Digital report sets out how culture and technology can collaborate, learn from one another and keep innovating. By embracing new technologies and attracting more diverse audiences, we will continue to cement our status as a creative powerhouse in the digital age.’

Arts Council England Chief Executive, Darren Henley, said:

‘Every day across England, artists, performers, museums, libraries and arts organisations create brilliant new content. We want to make sure they have the skills to use the best technology to enable more people in more places to connect directly to this deep well of creativity.’

Royal Opera House Chief Executive, Alex Bear, said:

‘When culture and technology come together, great things can happen. The Royal Opera House is exploring immersive technology to open up a suite of new experiences, sharing the extraordinary qualities of ballet and opera with audiences old and new in our digital age. This report acts as a useful framework for all in our sectors to explore this territory.’

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