When Digital meets the Creative and Cultural Sector 

Unlike many other sectors, art and cultural organisations appear to have remained fundamentally unchanged with the onset of new technologies. Many venues have been in operation for decades, with unchanged business models and activities, yet with the continued growth of digital, these venues face both challenge and opportunity. Emerging technologies have the potential to create new operational procedures, increase experimentation and encourage shared practice across disciplines.

Collaborations

Collaborations between the cultural heritage and tech sector offer mutual benefits: for cultural heritage organisations tech companies offer technical expertise, hardware knowledge and innovative ways to bring archives and exhibits to life. For tech companies, museums and galleries provide access to fascinating collections and diverse audiences, some of whom would otherwise not have experienced their content or applications.

The digitisation of artifacts also supports collaborations across cultural venues, digitally captured exhibits can be enjoyed by audiences simultaneously and irrelevant of geography, creating new shared experiences which are less dependent on place. Such partnerships, which move beyond the cultural sector, allow for more experimental work that challenges convention and in doing so, appeal to more diverse or harder to reach audiences.

Changing audiences 

We live and learn in an increasingly connected world and for many, there is an expectation that this level of digital interaction should weave its way into art and cultural experiences. Arguably the venues who engage more in digital, are more likely to be forging meaningful engagements with not only changing, existing audiences, but entirely new ones.

What this shouldn’t mean however, is a move towards mobile or screen only exhibits or replacing volunteers with robots. Rather organisations should consider leveraging new technologies to complement more traditional experiences. From augmented reality apps which provide greater insight into artefacts or the use of artificial intelligence to provide accurate visitor information, technology can help to educate and inform audiences using previously unimagined approaches.

Accessibility 

Emerging technologies enable the possibility of reaching audiences way beyond the confines of a museum or visitor centre, instead, exhibits can be shared and enjoyed across the globe. Artwork can be shared virtually across continents and otherwise hidden collections can be safely shared and viewed digitally, utilising mobile devises or tablets, as well as the latest augmented or virtual reality headsets.

Utilising digital data tools to collect and analyse audience data allows organisations to improve their relationships and communication with their audiences. Such technologies have the potential to engage with audiences across demographics and socio-economics, including those who may have been previously disengaged or uninterested in visiting art or cultural heritage venues.

New revenue steams

New technologies have the scope to provide organisations with the opportunity to generate future revenue streams and return on investment. In the case of fundraising, the application of digital allows organisations to accept online donations or raise funding through online campaigns and crowdfunding.

Leveraging technology allows for better understanding and engagement with audiences. Tailoring marketing and communications for example, can lead to increased visitor numbers. Furthermore, emerging technologies can allow for new digital products and services, such as paid-for mobile apps, live streamed games or the sale of 3D printed objects.