[Editors note: this post was written by Helen Williams and Kate McGavin, who are the new Deputy Directors (jobshare) for Arts, Libraries and Digital Culture. They also lead the #cultureisdigital project]
The Culture White Paper (CWP), published in March 2016, set out the government’s ambition and strategy for the cultural sectors. As part of this it announced a review of culture and digital - the Culture is Digital Project #cultureisdigital.
We are leading the project within DCMS, supported by a team of secondees from the Arts Council, BBC, Liverpool University, UCL and Culture24.
At ministerial level it’s being championed by our newly appointed Minister for the Arts, Heritage and Tourism, John Glen MP, with Matt Hancock MP, the Minister for Digital, in support. Please watch this video to hear about John Glen's hopes for the project and for more details about how you can engage with our online conversation.
What is the project aiming to do?
#CultureisDigital is a conversation between Government, tech companies and the cultural sector, led by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport. The project will consider how culture and technology can work together to drive audience engagement, unleash the creative potential of technology and boost the capability of cultural organisations.
By focusing on the synergies between the cultural and tech sectors – where the UK has a dual competitive advantage – we aim to support both our future economy and the wellbeing of the nation.
The project takes a broad definition of the cultural sector; including libraries, arts, museums, heritage, film, theatre, and making connections to the wider creative industries. Digital Culture means different things to different people. For this project we see digital culture as having three core elements:
- Content: ranging from the digitisation of existing content and collections, to new ‘born digital’ content (ie use of digital technology to create new art and culture)
- Audience participation: audience engagement and interaction with culture through digital platforms and distribution
- Organisations: cultural organisations using digital technologies to enhance and improve their operations
How can you get involved?
The project was launched in April 2017, but our external stakeholder engagement was paused during the pre-election period. Now that’s over we are pleased to announce that the project has re-commenced. As part of this we’ve launched an online discussion portal and we’d like as many of you as possible from the public libraries sector to engage with this.
The platform will be open for the next five weeks (until approximately the middle of August) for you to share your ideas, and examples of exciting work and developments that you’ve been taking forward linked to work on digital culture projects. To get things moving we’ve set-up a number of challenges and questions to stimulate debate - so please do get online and respond to these, and posting your own ideas to help us develop and grow this online conversation.
Some particular areas of focus are:
- How can digital content and distribution support new forms of engagement, to attract more diverse audiences?
- How can we position the UK as a world leader in digitised collections and cultural content ?
- How can we encourage and support innovation between content and technology?
- How can we support cultural organisations to build the digital skills and capability needed to foster innovation and achieve financial resilience?
Responses through this engagement channel will be really valuable for us, as we work towards developing policy ideas and recommendations in the lead up to the Autumn.
We’d also be grateful if you could re-tweet, share, and comment on this online engagement and the subsequent updates we’ll be issuing via #cultureisdigital. We look forward to hearing your thoughts, questions and ideas!