Building digital capacity for the arts

Programme Manager

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Last Thursday, 10 March, saw the launch of the Building digital capacity for the arts project, something I've been working on since the end of last year and which has felt a bit like organising a wedding - who should be invited, will they get on, who's going to make the speeches and how long should they be speaking for, who sits where... You get the idea. In the event, everyone was both well behaved and inspiring - you can catch some quick off-the-cuff comments from some of the participants in the video or you can watch the whole thing here.

And what a marriage (though up on stage, there was a debate between the partners about whether in fact it was more of a civil partnership)! The BBC Academy College of Production has joined forces with Arts Council England to offer a programme of seminars and masterclasses to support arts organisations create and distribute digital content.

The seminars will aim to tease out some key issues - for example, we know that rights can be a huge challenge and we'll be focusing on this as well as exploring the opportunities - what's involved in the much talked about IPTV (or "connected" internet television) and how do you create an app? Are there any business models that work? How likely is it that the discussions around philanthropy (and the recently launched WeDidThis) will deliver anything concrete? In the nature of seminars, they'll be aimed at relatively small groups - 50 or 60 - so we'll be filming them and streaming the content through the Arts Council's website.

Later in the year we'll start a programme of masterclasses, which will be more tightly focused around core skills. These could be how to make a short film or a podcast but what's important is for the programme to reflect the needs of arts organisations and so we'll keep this open and flexible until we've heard the key issues emerging from the seminars around skills and capacity building.

You'll be able to follow the progress of the project - which runs for the next 18 months - through the Arts Council's dedicated page where you can also feedback thoughts and ideas. We hope you'll be watching!

Kim Peat is Programme Manager, Building digital capacity for the arts
An Arts Council England and BBC Academy Partnership

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