Creative network to boost growth in South London

27 Sep 2022

A new network for creative businesses in South London has launched to boost growth and innovation in the area.

The Creative Industries Network is a partnership between Kingston University and Business, Innovation and Growth South London.

It will offer a range of services to businesses, including mentoring, peer-to-peer learning and access to creative business opportunities.

A workshop series will tackle topics such as digital transformation, business resilience, bid writing, and skills and talent development.

The new initiative is led by Professor Maria Chatzichristodoulou, Associate Dean of Research, Business & Innovation at Kingston University.

She said: “We are building a dynamic network of businesses, practitioners and researchers from across the creative sector in South London.

“We aim to bring the sector together to address common challenges, and share opportunities and best practice.”

The network, which covers Croydon, Kingston, Merton, Richmond and Sutton, is open to organisations operating within the performing arts, visual arts, music, museums and heritage, crafts, design, literature, film, TV and arts and culture management.

An online launch event is planned for 3 October.

No return to normal

an audience member records a performance
21 Sep 2022

The way arts organisations responded to the pandemic offered a glimpse of how they could evolve. But a rush to any ‘return to normal’ risks squandering these lessons, says Ash Mann.

AHRC to invest £100m in future technologies drive

20 Sep 2022

Funding will be used to establish a national studio for advanced technologies to drive developments in live theatre, music and visual art.

Arts Council Wales seeks views on future of arts

08 Sep 2022

Arts Council Wales is calling on audiences and people involved with arts and culture to help it shape the future of the arts in the country.

The organisation says it wants to start conversations on issues such as the climate emergency, a bilingual arts sector, equality and diversity, and transformation of the arts in the face of increasing global challenges.

It will be holding a free online festival over three days later this month to gather views. 

The festival, named Imagining our Future: Conversations on the Arts in Wales, will run from September 20 to 22.

Online registration is now open and participants can select the events they want to attend.

Ordering off-menu: skills to serve omnivorous audiences

Photo of people eating at restaurant
08 Sep 2022

We need to hone our skills in human-centred design, over and above those in tech or data, to make the most of post-pandemic digital/live appetites, argues Anne Torreggiani.

New digital fund for artists in Northern Ireland

31 Aug 2022

The Arts Council of Northern Ireland (ACNI) has launched a £40,000 fund to support artists working with digital technology.

The Individual Artists Digital Evolution Awards are open to artists who are making digital art for the first time, or are working with digital or immersive technology they have not previously used. 

The scheme will fund a range of digital practices, including work that involves the creation of a virtual or augmented reality environment; the use of 3D rendering and printing technology; the translation of data into artistic works; and app development for the delivery of artistic content. Individuals can apply for grants up to £10,000. 

Karly Greene, ACNI Director of Strategic Development, said: “The programme will support artists in the creation of art using digital and immersive technologies, and will also help artists develop skills in the use of these technologies.
“This programme reflects the Arts Council’s commitment to encouraging innovative practices that cross art form boundaries and build digital capabilities within the Northern Ireland arts sector.”
The programme opened for online applications on 30 August and will close on Friday 30 September.

Public support payment initiatives for artists

24 Aug 2022

Poll suggests the majority of the public want government and technology companies to support initiatives to remunerate artists whose work is downloaded digitally.

Repatriation: Museums must be 'transparent' about collections

A room at the British Museum
11 Aug 2022

Fresh guidance on repatriation calls for museums to tell the full stories behind their collections, including items that may have a controversial past.

ICO 'taking no action' on arts data breach

outside of the Royal Academy of Arts
04 Aug 2022

Data watchdog decides regulatory action not required after arts organisations notify it of ransomware attack that resulted in customer's names and email addresses being stolen.

Extended reality arts venue to open in Wales

03 Aug 2022

Wales Millennium Centre has released details of its purpose-built extended reality arts venue, which is scheduled to open on 27 August.

Bocs, which is Welsh for box, is the first space of its kind in a Welsh arts centre. It will present a programme of 360° films and projections as well as extended reality (XR) experiences, including augmented reality, mixed reality and virtual reality.

Alongside an event programme, a series of talks and workshops will be hosted in a new XR studio, providing opportunities for artists, educators and young creators to gain hands-on experience and explore ways to make an impact through immersive media.

David Massey, Senior Producer (Digital Experiences) at Wales Millennium Centre, said Bocs will “showcase and celebrate the best of immersive storytelling in Wales and across the world, intersecting technology, visual art, theatre and music”.

“Immersive experiences are a great way to bring audiences together, challenge ideas and transport you to new worlds.”

“We hope Bocs will inspire new audiences and intrigue the next generation of story makers, introducing more people to the immense possibilities of this exciting medium.”

Concerns data mining exemption will impact artists

02 Aug 2022

Plans to introduce a new text and data mining exception to copyright laws are “deeply concerning” the Design and Artist Copyright Society (DACS) has said.

Data and text mining, the process of extracting useful information and knowledge from data or images, is already exempt from copyright laws if it is done on a non-commercial basis. But an exception proposed by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy will extend to commercial activities.

DACS said the move would drastically weaken copyright protections for copyright holders in the UK. The society said that is it supportive of the aim to develop AI-technologies, but added that it is vital that "our copyright framework is upheld in doing so”.

DACS provided evidence to the UK Intellectual Property Office consultation on Artificial Intelligence and Intellectual Property in January this year, which the society said clearly demonstrated the value of copyright licensing to visual artists, as well as a willingness to collaborate on developing new business models that support AI and machine learning.

It said that licensing copyright-protected works is “a vital revenue source for visual artists at all stages of their careers”.

The new development, which would apply to both commercial and non-commercial uses, “would set a concerning precedent for how copyright policy is developed, undermining not only the UK’s ‘gold standard’ copyright framework but many viable and valuable existing business models”, it added.

The CEO of DACS, Gilane Tawadros, said the rationale behind this change was to support the development of AI-driven technologies, however the reality is that it will have far-reaching detrimental consequences to UK creative workers and visual artists.

“We hope that the Department and the Intellectual Property Office will listen to our concerns and evidence and look again at how the policy objectives can be better met without undermining creators’ rights.”

CMA nixes full investigation of music streaming market

27 Jul 2022

The Competition & Markets Authority (CMA) has proposed not to refer the music streaming market to full investigation after a market study found that it is working well for consumers.

The office launched its study into the streaming market and the power of labels six months ago, following a DCMS Committee report that called for fundamental reforms.

The study aimed to investigate the streaming market “from creator to consumer” and to consider whether the dominance of major labels is stifling competition or leading to instances of “excessive power”.

“Our initial analysis shows that the outcomes for artists are not driven by issues to do with competition, such as sustained excessive profits,” said Sarah Cardell, Interim Chief Executive of the CMA. 

“We are now keen to hear views on our initial findings which will help guide our thinking and inform our final report.”

The Musicians' Union and The Ivors Academy have expressed disappointment at the CMA's decision. They say major labels' dominace, the supression of the value of music publishing and stagnant pricing remain issues in music streaming.

“The CMA's release highlights what it sees as positive impacts of music streaming, but we feel they have failed to recognise the very serious problems posed to creators," MU General Secretary Naomi Pohl added.

“In the long term, this could diminish the diversity of British music available to consumers as musicians are forced to seek other ways to make a living.”

“We had particularly hoped that the CMA would deliver for songwriters who are currently receiving a small share of streaming revenue.”

The CMA will share its findings with DCMS, the IPO and the Centre for Data Ethics and Innovation to help support their research into whether artists’ rights can be strengthened in the music streaming market.

A final decision is due to be taken by the CMA early next year.

Arts programmes should offer a range of creative activities

25 Jul 2022

A study on the impacts of a remote arts programme for older adults during the transition out of lockdown offers three key recommendations for other arts organisations.

Exclusive: Major arts organisations affected by ransomware data breach

19 Jul 2022

Southbank Centre, Royal Shakespeare Company, Royal Opera House and The Old Vic among many UK arts organisations affected by huge data breach.

DCMS offers performers assurances over AI protections

11 Jul 2022

Minister defends provisions within Online Safety Bill amid concerns that advances in deepfake technology and plans to remove copyright restrictions on data harvesting will impact performers and musicians.

Tackling digital inequality

11 Jul 2022

After creating a device loan system to support young people in digital poverty through the pandemic, Richard Clegg shares a five-point plan to address the inequality.

How can we future proof digital skills?

29 Jun 2022

When it comes to maximising digital activity, the two most common challenges organisations face are budget and skills, says Katie Moffat.

British Council and Ukrainian Institute launch joint season

27 Jun 2022

The British Council and the Ukrainian Institute have launched the UK/Ukraine Season of Culture, a new programme designed to support the Ukrainian arts sector.

The season, which has been planned since 2019, marks 30 years of diplomatic relations between the two countries. Amid the ongoing war in Ukraine, its theme is “Future Re-Imagined”. 

It will focus on the changing needs and priorities of the Ukrainian arts sector and aim to provide new opportunities for Ukrainian artists. A programme of activities, events, grant-funded projects, residences, talks, films and lectures will take place in the UK, online and in satellite locations.

The season will also support future Ukrainian artistic collaboration through a series of grants worth up to £30,000, based on the results of an open call launched last October.

They will include the development of residencies for Ukrainian musicians and dancers; theatre pieces that examine Ukrainian political and cultural history; professional development opportunities for Ukrainian journalists and collaborations with Ukrainian designers, photographers and digital artists for London Fashion Week.

The season launched last week at Sheffield DocFest with a display of artworks and screenings of Ukrainian documentaries. 

Upcoming highlights include Cheltenham Book Festival and the Kyiv Book Arsenal partnering for a special Ukraine Day event celebrating emerging voices in Ukrainian literature; a Ukrainian to English Literary Translation Summer School at the University of East Anglia, bringing together translators and authors; and a programme at the 2022 Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival focusing on contemporary Ukrainian opera and chamber music.

“While the whole of Ukrainian society is affected by the Russian aggression, artists and creatives are among the most vulnerable groups,” said Volodymyr Sheiko, Director General of the Ukrainian Institute. 

“Ukrainian culture is a major target in this war, so it is particularly important to continue building networks and supporting the creative sector.”

Accessible arts at risk of post-pandemic decline

Performance in theatre being recorded
21 Jun 2022

Following a significant improvement in accessibility to arts and culture during the pandemic, organisations are now pulling back from online offerings.

Social media success relies on one thing: telling stories

15 Jun 2022

Engagement with longform online content may be on a downward trend but, as Adam Koszary writes, expectations for creative storytelling on social media is picking up apace. 


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