Fund to boost heritage volunteers' digital skills

29 Nov 2021

Seventeen heritage projects across the UK will share £1m to improve volunteers' digital skills.

The money comes from the National Lottery Heritage Fund's Digital Skills for Heritage initiative.

The fund aims to break down barriers and inspire the sector to get more people involved in heritage, according to National Lottery Heritage Fund CEO Ros Kerslake.

Charity for the blind and partially sighted Vocal Eyes received the largest grant (£99,814) for its Museums and Heritage Access 2022 programme, which primarily recruits digital volunteers from Deaf, disabled and neurodivergent communities.

Digital staff undervalued amid pandemic pressures

17 Nov 2021

Research into the effect of the digital pivot on workers has coincided with calls for better pay for social media and marketing staff.

We need more content specialists in the arts

04 Nov 2021

The pandemic has forced cultural organisations to develop their digital infrastructure and programming. But, as Zosia Poulter argues, the role of content is still not sufficiently recognised. 

Online opera course to take students 'behind the scenes'

03 Nov 2021

A new online initiative for opera lovers from the Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama (RWCMD) aims to shed light on the complex workings of the opera and musical theatre industry.

Opera 360 will include short courses led by RWCMD tutors, offering "behind the scenes" knowledge of working in the industry.

The college is also offering a full Opera 360 Masters degree, which can be applied for through UCAS.

James Lea, course leader of Opera 360, said: “We wanted to offer a course that allows people to see how opera is brought to the stage.

“The myriad formats in which opera is produced, and its ability to reach diverse audiences, are subjects worthy of serious study.”

Opera 360 will launch in September 2022.

Glyndebourne to launch on-demand streaming service

02 Nov 2021

Opera house Glyndebourne is set to launch an on-demand streaming service, Glyndebourne Encore, next month.

The service will offer access to Glyndebourne’s back-catalogue and future filmed productions, alongside additional insights and interviews about a chosen opera each month.

Artistic Director Stephen Langridge says Glyndebourne Encore is a response to audience demand realised after its digital festival, hosted last year due to Covid-19 restrictions.

The company says it will continue offering regular, limited-period, free streams alongside the service.

Glyndebourne Encore will launch with 15 filmed titles available from 1 December. An annual subscription will cost £79.99, or £59.99 for Glyndebourne members.

UNBOXED 2022 offers innovation - and employment

21 Oct 2021

Once derided as the Festival of Brexit, the eight-month mega event will "prove the naysayers wrong".

Digital pivot reverses as theatres struggle to monetise online shows

14 Oct 2021

The trend has raised fears about diminishing access for disabled audiences - but research suggests they too are starting to switch off.

Art Fund awards £650k in new grants scheme

11 Oct 2021

Art Fund has announced the first wave of winners for its £2m Reimagine grants programme.

Twenty-two museums, galleries, historic houses and trusts have been awarded a share of £658,331.

Nine organisations have been awarded grants between £5,000 and £15,000, with a further 13 receiving funding up to £50,000.

The programme, which helps projects and networks "navigate their way to recovery" from the pandemic, prioritised applications focused on collections, digital work, audience engagement and the workforce.

Winning bids included a transatlantic slavery project led by National Museums Liverpool, a captioning project by Nottingham Contemporary, and 'Minecraft Museum', a project marrying gaming and curation at The Story Museum.

Visual arts nework CVAN will received funding to strengthen its advocacy and professional development work.

"Museums often produce what seem like miracles on a shoestring, but they need enhanced resources – such as in digital, specialist support and staffing – to truly build for the future," Art Fund Director Jenny Waldman said.

Grant winners for the second wave of funding will be announced in November, with the final round scheduled for December.

Tech enabling creativity

06 Oct 2021

One of the most powerful things to emerge during the pandemic is the importance of the arts to our wellbeing. Gilane Tawadros says the visual arts – and artists in particular - can play a critical role in post-pandemic recovery.

Aberdeen commits to digital music teaching

04 Oct 2021

Aberdeen City Council has approved plans to provide online instrumental lessons for pupils.

It first introduced digital music lessons during the pandemic, when Aberdeen City Music Service began uploading instructor videos for pupils to access between classes.

The provider says students have made "good progress" during digital lessons, prompting council officers to consult with pupils, parents and instructors to determine the scope of the offer.

The initiative will support an expected increase in the number of pupils taking lessons as Scotland becomes the first UK nation to mandate free instrumental music tuition.

"Our council has been pioneering in its use of digital technology - and there is a great opportunity to harness its power in delivering content to support those who engage with the music service," Councillor M Taqueer Malik commented.

ACE launches Digital Culture Awards

01 Oct 2021

The first ever Digital Culture Awards will celebrate and showcase digital innovation over the course of the pandemic.

Arts Council England has launched the awards, and is seeking applications for "the best in digital transformation, digital engagement and use of technology".

There are eight categories: social media, content production, content distribution, income generation, digital inclusion, use of data, organisational digital transformation, and emerging digital leader.  

Entries close at 10am November 8, with a shortlist decided thereafter.

Public voting to decide the winners will open mid-December before a virtual awards ceremony on January 20, 2022.

Only 720 UK artists make a living from music streaming

30 Sep 2021

A long-awaited report into music creators' earnings estimates they receive a fifth of a penny per stream, but avoids wading into the debate about whether that's fair.

Theatres split over return of digital pantos

actor performing on stage
30 Sep 2021

Research suggests audiences enjoyed watching Christmas performances online last year, but few may return as theatres focus on drawing crowds for in-person shows.

Collective creativity can address global challenges

photo of Hatchling exhibition
28 Sep 2021

When the best of technology meets the spark of creativity, incredible things can happen regardless of what century - or millennium - you happen to be in, says Hayaatun Sillem.

British Museum ventures into NFT sales

27 Sep 2021

The British Museum is dipping its toe into non-fungible tokens (NFTs) by selling more than 200 digital postcards depicting the work of Japanese printmaker Hokusai.

The museum has partnered with French start-up LaCollection to deliver the initiative on a platform dedicated to digitalising museum and institutional collections. will launch on September 30 to coincide with the museum’s new exhibition Hokusai: The Great Picture of Everything.

Produced by the British Museum, common NFTs will be priced around £365, with rare and unique NFTs expected to go up for auction.

If an NFT is resold at a secondary market, British Museum will be entitled to 10% and LaCollection to 3%.

“It is so important that as a museum we continually adapt to new markets and find new ways of reaching people that we may not reach through traditional channels,” the museum's Licensing Manager Craig Bendle said.

Watchdog called to probe music labels' market dominance

22 Sep 2021

The Government has responded to a critical inquiry on streaming with a 12-month schedule of research and working groups to challenge industry practices.

Win-win for disabled arts-lovers and the sector

22 Sep 2021

While anxiety about attending events remains high amongst disabled people, Anne Torregiani says the Covid online content boom has seen revolutionary opportunities that could improve access for good.

£14.5m for AI to curate national heritage collection

Woman looking at artefacts in the British Museum
21 Sep 2021

AHRC’s investment will support artificially intelligent programmes to create unified virtual collections of the UK’s museums, archives, libraries, and galleries.

Being at home in Manchester

landscape image of Manchester's HOME venue
14 Sep 2021

A group of artists from Deaf, disabled and neurodiverse communities have been working on a project to transform accessibility. Nickie Miles-Wildin reports on its successes.

Teen curates catalogue of MPs' favourite artworks

14 Sep 2021

A catalogue featuring the favourite artworks of 101 Members of Parliament is now available online.

John Lilbourne, 18, curated the online exhibition after writing to all 650 MPs during lockdown, asking: "What is your favourite owned artwork?".

Dear John features his favourite responses from cross party MPs, including cabinet ministers Oliver Dowden and Priti Patel.

Works on display range from portraits of the Queen and Margaret Thatcher to art created by MPs' children. 

Dowden sent a photograph of the Queen from Twitter and Matt Hancock has a Damien Hirst portrait of the monarch.

Jacob Rees-Mogg highlighted a 15th Century statue from the studio of Italian sculptor Della Robia.

When asked why he undertook the project, Lilbourne said:

"These are people who make the decisions that govern our lives, but they feel so unreachable. By writing to them with this question I was trying to find a human connection.”


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