Promoting access to culture via digital means

Technology is changing faster than ever and impacts not only on what we do but how we think about what we do. This document addresses the fact that institutions and arts organisations (public and private), set up to carry out a public purpose, now find that through the impact of digitisation and internet tools, they are, in many cases, lagging behind. The reason for this is not always obvious – leadership, structures, resources, access to training – and the solution is not always to change leadership, to increase spending or to bring in expertise. There is a growing sense, confirmed through the research carried out for this report, that there needs to be a recalibration within organisations and institutions. Previous assumptions about knowledge, power, trust and authority within our cultural ecosystems need to be rethought; also the repository of these values may no longer be within the traditional hierarchies. In order to deliver the public purpose efficiently and effectively, things need to change. This report looks at these assumptions and offers some ideas for reflection as well as some recommendations for change. It suggests that a wide-ranging approach is needed, going beyond the institutional and encompassing policymaking at both the national and EU levels. It sees new technologies as offering great potential for inclusion of hitherto marginalised groups, as well as greater access to current and potential audiences. It sees new technologies, too, as being able to build stronger, more sustainable communities, and that culture and cultural engagement can play a major role in facilitating this. It also acknowledges that different countries and institutions are at different points of development, particularly as regards the digital infrastructure, but that the concepts behind the recommendations, in general, hold true.

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