-since 2018

Arts Council to prioritise digital growth and tech use over next decade

The organisation’s ten-year strategy is set to prioritise tech issues such as digital inclusion and helping the public enjoy the arts and culture.

Arts Council England is looking to prioritise improvement of digital access and skills among culture and arts groups, including charities, over the next ten years.

The move is part of the body’s draft strategy for 2020 to 2030 which is open to consultation until 23 September.

The strategy sets out major challenges facing the arts and culture sector over the next decade, which includes concern that the funding of cultural organisations is “often fragile”.

As a result those in the sector “generally lack the flexibility to address emerging challenges and opportunities, especially those relating to operating within the digital economy and in the context of declining public funding”, adds the strategy.

Improving digital inclusion among the public is also vital, says the strategy document, in particular those in rural communities and small towns.

It adds: “We believe members of the public should have access to a full range of cultural opportunities wherever they live – but cultural provision in this country is currently uneven, especially outside larger metropolitan areas.

“We will look for partners to work with us to build cultural capacity, through local programmes, touring (especially into communities with the least access to publicly funded culture), capital investment and distribution models that have been enabled by new technologies.

“We will encourage greater digital access and engagement with our museum collections and the improvement of digital services offered by the library sector.

Call to get ‘ahead of the game’

Last month in its annual accounts, Arts Council England Chief Executive Darren Henley issued a rallying call for arts and culture groups to embrace new technology.

“We need to get ahead of the game and show how technology can be used to thrill and inform audiences,” he said.

New technology unlocks powerful creative tools, offering us fresh opportunities to open up arts and culture to the public, both as audiences and as participants.”

Last month Arts Council England announced £7.1m in funding to help boost diversity and leadership skills in the arts and culture sector. This includes online resources to help recruit leaders in libraries.

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