Exploring digital innovation in Wales and beyond


8 March 2017, Sophia Woodley

  • What’s the point of investing in digital technology? 
  • Where can we find inspiration and support?
  • What kinds of digital technology should we be considering? 
  • How can we make new stuff stick?
  • How can digital help our resilience and sustainability? 

Innovation is now more important than ever for the publicly-funded arts sector. This is why we’re delighted to work with the Digital Innovation Fund for the Arts in Wales, helping arts organisations to surmount the obstacles and realise the possibilities of digital.

Our evidence review (just published by Nesta) will help Welsh arts organisations think through the process of adopting and using new digital technologies – and to transform their business models as a result. It answers the questions above in a practical way, bringing together insights from arts organisations across the UK.

Our Chief Executive Patrick Towell will be presenting some of its findings at the DIFAW showcase event in Cardiff on 14 March.

Some of the highlights:

  • Technology is a tool, not an end in itself – digital can’t be separate from your mission and organisational goals.
  • Try looking beyond the arts sector for inspiration – so much relevant work is being done in the wider creative industries 
  • Working together is the way forward – emerging technology tends to be found in ‘clusters’ of practice
  • Organisational readiness is key – digital needs to be integrated across the organisation, rather than siloed in a particular project or department
  • Co-creation and co-design are necessary to make the most of digital

We’ve been putting some of these lessons into practice as the research, business and technology partner for g39’s DIFAW-funded audience engagement project in partnership with Artes Mundi and Oriel Wrecsam. In collaboration with them, we have been prototyping an online tool that enables non-ticketed arts, culture, heritage and entertainment venues and events to capture data about their audiences.

g39’s Chris Brown says: “Until now museums and galleries have had only a limited understanding of their visitors – they need to build better audience relationships than they could achieve with a door counter alone. I’m very excited that iBeholder... offers a plausible solution to that challenge.”

Try out the latest prototype (codenamed ART) of iBeholder here.

We’re now actively looking for interested participants for the second phase of the iBeholder project – and for funders and strategic partners who can support it. And we’re always keen to start a conversation with creative organisations – whether in Wales or elsewhere in the UK – who are as interested in innovation as we are.

If you’re able to join us at the conference, please do come and say hello – we will have our own stand. If you’d prefer to get in touch digitally, that’s great too!

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