Working with a terrific research assistant Dr Ross Cole I did a small project during lockdown in collaboration with Britten Pears Arts looking at the creative use of digital technologies in performance and in the archiving of performance.We shaped the project with the aim of helping Britten Pears Arts work out some practical issues around digital creativity for their ambitious future plans for a Creative Campus on the east Suffolk coast at Snape Maltings. We worked with a small team from Snape, in particular Shoël Stadlen and Patrick Young.
It was supported by a small grant (£25k) from a Research England regional funding programme called Enabling Innovation: Research to Application (EIRA). The report, Living Archives and Creative Engagement Online, is now available, open access, free. It includes material from a set of original interviews with a set of UK digital artists and archivists made by Patrick, as well as a short set of recommendations for those in the field.
The project felt particularly timely of course with the enforced online cultural turn of the COVID-19 pandemic. As EIRA explains it, in its case study of the project:
Every arts organisation founded in the analogue era has to find its digital purpose, making the most of the opportunities to increase reach and depth of engagement. This has come most clearly into focus in 2020 as a consequence of the Covid-19 pandemic, but the tipping point for digital as an essential medium rather than an optional extra has already passed. Before seeking further funding for the development stage, Snape Maltings wanted to understand more about how artists will engage with the interface, which technologies could be implicated, and how they could engage with their audience…. The report generated from this project will be used to guide the next phase of development by making clear the areas on which to focus, particularly on how artists from across the globe could engage with their work.
The report is available here. We hope you will find it useful. Indeed, as Shoël of Britten Pears Arts puts it,
we want to learn from what other organisations are doing and ensure that our future plans are rooted in best practice recommendations [in digital and online infrastructure]. We also, in collaboration with the University of East Anglia, want to share our findings with the sector as a whole.