Digital content creation, distributing and sharing content barriers, and arts and heritage in community context and internationally.

For 3 years we have planning an exciting digital content project that brings new ideas and scope to galleries worldwide and in our very own communities. It can also be used to create new artistic digital works and provide digital access to new audiences, engage communities through interaction, and help those who produce digital creative content to sell more works, but the barriers to executing this work comes from many areas.

Firstly, we wish to develop a new technology product that enable users in the UK and worldwide to share digital related artistic works and digital collections. However, funding streams do not often unite technology with the arts, with the exception of the Digital R&D Fund by Arts Council, which was only for a handful of organisations. Yes, one may be able to get art related funding for a project that uses digital technology but it’s hard to get funding for technology product that uses art.

We have also worked with many cultural organisations and too often find they are not very effective at utilising and maintaining technology, and that’s because they do not have the digital skills in-house and buying in skills can be expensive. Therefore off-the-shelf products need to be used and created to make their life easier.

Additionally, when we look at sharing digital content from other sources it is hard to get support from those who hold public collections. Our intention is to bring public digital collections to any place in the UK that can house our innovative digital gallery. But the barrier is that many organisations that hold digital content, e.g. a local museum, archive, or national gallery, put up too many barriers and often monopolise digital content for their buildings and projects. Admittedly, these organisations need to cover their costs and there are copyright issues with private owners, but if they have already been paid to digitise collections then it should be shared with venues, galleries, communities, and places at little or no cost, but this is not the case.

Once our digital gallery is up and running; connected through cloud based technology and housed or toured throughout UK; communities can engage in new and exciting ways and tell their stories through digital content, and experience other community cultures too. This can also be exchanged with international partners who use the same technology – exporting cultures around the world and even the selling of UK artistic works. Creating intimate experiences, learning from each other and adding value in education. Culminating in the development of new relationships with groups and individuals in communities.  

What we need in the UK is a small funding programme that supports projects that:

·         Create new technologies or build on existing ones that deliver digital content

·         Have the ability of creating new artistic works in visual arts, heritage and visual performance

·         That has the ability to engage communities in creating digital content for public consumption

·         That could be utilised for education purposes

·         That goes beyond the online experience to physical spaces and places

·         That has the potential for international exchange of digital content

·         That has an online sharing context so others can engage   

·         Has potential for IP

·         That develops culture that can be shared with communities

We also need new policies in place to encourage public collection holders like local museums and national galleries etc. to engage with projects or organisations that wish to share digital collections with communities, whether they be local, national or international, and if that too needs an innovative funding model or shared profit model then this too should be explored.  

Why the contribution is important

This idea is important because it connects everyone. It provides access to unlimited cultural experiences and allows communities to create content and share it with others. It provides a narrative for understanding heritage, arts and communities whether they be UK based or from other countries. It can also provide a mechanism to develop new artistic works and bring digital into the physical landscape as well online.  

It’s an enabler for many and with the ability to adopt any theme it is a tool that engages the passions of people, business, community and culture.  

by adkltd on July 10, 2017 at 10:31AM

Current Rating

Average score : 5.0
Based on : 6 votes


  • Posted by willpsaunders July 10, 2017 at 11:04

    This does sound interesting. If you wanted to send examples of the technology you have been developing and share stories on the experiences you have had feel free to email us at
  • Posted by DianeBurnell July 10, 2017 at 11:46

    Very interesting and certainly a project I would support
  • Posted by GilesAdams July 10, 2017 at 12:47

    A great idea and well worth progressing
  • Posted by CXP891 July 10, 2017 at 17:50

    As a fellow entrepreneur, with a new product that specialises in enhancing and expanding audience engagement, I empathise with these views a lot! I 100% agree that there needs to be greater access to funding and to Arts Organisations (AOs) - but also that there is the facility/pathway to test and develop new ideas rapidly.

    All of the objectives listed above could be met by the creation of a new Arts orientated accelerator. This could act as a go-between AOs, Start-ups, Brands and organisations like Arts Council, to ensure innovation can be at the heart of ensuring AOs maximise the opportunities from digital technology. Indeed, this could be instrumental in developing new funding models and profit-sharing streams that can provide resilience and sustainability for the arts and heritage sector.
  • Posted by willpsaunders July 12, 2017 at 10:50

    You might find this link useful as it details the NESTA/Arts Council Accelerator Programme[…]/digital-arts-and-culture-accelerator

    Would scaling a programme like this be something worth exploring?
  • Posted by kgoslingct July 18, 2017 at 17:48

    Our proposed bit of infrastructure (to replace the existing CultureGrid) would help with this. It would help even small museums and galleries get their digitised collections online in the first place. The front end would let you curate a selection of the museum content you wanted and use the API to integrate it into your own material.

    Your idea is a classic user scenario for the infrastructure we propose. It would help you source museum and gallery collections licensed for you to re-use, and would save you the technical problem of how to bring the content you wanted together in one place and into your own site.

    See https://cultureisdigital.di[…]e-their-collections-online. We'd love to hear your thoughts on it.
  • Posted by adkltd July 25, 2017 at 09:58

    Re: NESTA/Arts Council Accelerator Programme in comments.

    It is clear that one looks at previous programmes such as those above there is very little consideration into the number of users and impact on developing new audiences. Yes, some of the projects funded were interesting and a few innovative, and can be easily defined into three categories. One is new ways to create new cultural experiences, two is to enhance existing cultural experiences, and three is to measure impact or boost sales.

    We all know that apps aren't as successful as they sound in terms of users using an app and we know that the app market is dominated by just a few. Additionally, many cultural experiences are localised and do not include the big names like National Opera or the RA. So big data projects only serve these larger entities so we need to devise better ways of distributing culture at a local level. A fine example of that is the live screening of theatre and opera etc. in cinemas. This created a new product out of an existing one. Ideal for getting culture to a wider audience.

    Therefore, the next round of investment needs to be in creating new cultural experiences, whether that be reinventing new ways from old ways, or creating new from scratch, but more importantly how these are distributed locally throughout the UK, enabling smaller cultural organisations to offer these services, and where possible have an international export perspective.

    Impact from projects need to be more than highlighting a handful of case studies and the development of a new product that cannot be marketed or distributed to a minority e.g. app, just to satisfy the funders. We need to see projects that have a greater shelf life, we need ideas that have true disruption, and we need products that enable cultural providers of all sizes to extend their services and once complete then concentrate on extending the consumer cultural experience.
  • Posted by denzilmonk August 03, 2017 at 15:27

    The Cinegi Arts&Film project is operating in this space, making e.g. NT Live, RSC, ROH titles available to smaller venues across the UK who do not need satellite or even internet connectivity at the venue in order to participate for this content to reach new audiences:
    The research partners are The Audience Agency and NESTA. Findings will be made publically available on completion of this research phase.
  • Posted by TheSpace August 03, 2017 at 17:19

    "The Space has supplemented its three core commissioning strands (Create, Capture, Extend) with Lo-Fi Extend to generate shorter form and more affordable content with much lower average investment. Shorter form content has had a very good response from consumers, making a high impact and representing very good value for the creators.

    Certainly new funding streams are required. We are working to form new funding partnerships that will create more opportunities for artists and arts organisations to create more content and to share it more widely. We are very much aware of the barriers to creating and sharing content, including the issues around IP and rights. The Space is recommending the development of a Digital Rights Framework for the Arts (DRFA), which should help bring down some of the barriers and support arts organisations who want to make and share content on-line and via digital platforms. "
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