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Saturday 19 Apr 2014

Press Release

Arts Council England and BBC Academy launch programme to build digital capacity for the Arts

This is a joint BBC and Arts Council England press release

Mark Thompson, Director-General, BBC, Alan Davey, Chief Executive, Arts Council England, and Ed Vaizey MP, Minister for Culture, will be among the key speakers at the launch of Arts Council England and BBC Academy's building Digital capacity for the arts programme.

The building digital capacity for the arts programme, announced in September 2010, will support the development of the arts sector's media production skills by bringing together the BBC Academy's media and digital experience with the Arts Council's extensive knowledge of the arts sector.

Details of the programme will be discussed at a launch event in March, at which Alan Davey, Mark Thompson and Ed Vaizey will address an invited audience of influential cultural figures. It is hoped the event will inspire arts leaders to encourage others in their sector to get involved and harness their digital potential.

The programme represents a key element of the Arts Council and BBC's commitment to increasing public value, and their shared ambition to build digital innovation in the arts, making our world class arts available to new and bigger audiences.

The initial programme will run from March 2011 through to August 2012. It will help arts organisations create compelling and high quality arts content and make sure arts leaders of the future can use web and broadcast technologies, such as internet protocol TV, to the fullest extent possible.

Details of the programme, which will offer training and guidance for the arts sector, have been revealed today and include a series of practical seminars and workshops, a BBC online guide to commissioning audio visual content, 12 facilitated masterclasses and an online resource of filmed and streamed content.

Six seminars will take place throughout England, covering a variety of themes including commissioning and producing film and web content, mobile platforms and apps, rights issues, digital approaches to raising revenue and archive material.

A series of 12 more practically-focused masterclasses will run from autumn 2011 until August 2012 across the country and will focus on building skills around digital content and platforms. These masterclasses will be filmed and made available as an online resource.

The Building digital capacity for the arts programme will also develop an online guide to commissioning audio-visual content and an online resource of filmed and streamed material captured from the seminars.

The Arts Council's commitment to digital innovation was also boosted by Culture Minister Ed Vaizey's recent announcement at the Culture Change conference at the National Theatre. In his keynote speech, Vaizey announced that NESTA will be working with Arts Council England on a new £1million lottery fund for seed funding small digital projects. The Arts Council is also finalising plans for its digital innovation fund which will be launched in the spring.

Alan Davey, Chief Executive, Arts Council England, said: "Together, the Arts Council and the BBC can equip more arts organisations with the skills necessary to harness the potential of digital technology and bring about a new era of public engagement in the arts.

"We believe this partnership will be a launch pad for digital innovation in our world class arts, generating ideas that our new lottery funded initiatives can turn into a reality."

Mark Thompson, Director-General, BBC, said: "Britain produces some of the best art in the world and we want it to reach new and bigger audiences. The BBC is delighted to be involved – through the Academy – in helping to build the necessary digital skills within arts organisations."

Ed Vaizey, Culture Minister, said: "Britain's arts organisations thrive on creativity and the scope for innovation using digital technology is enormous. The pace of technological change today offers great opportunity to the arts world, to create and share work in previously unimagined ways, as well as to draw in new audiences. It is exciting to see the BBC and The Arts Council working together to inspire our future arts leaders to focus their imagination and talent on harnessing this digital potential."

The Building digital capacity for the arts programme is part of the wider BBC and Arts Council England partnership which aims to increase the value, reach and impact of public investment between the Arts Council-funded arts and the BBC's investment in arts and broadcasting across a range of live and digital platforms.

Further details of the programme and how to get involved will be announced at the launch event in March and through regular updates via the Arts Council website.

Notes to Editors

Arts Council England: Digital Opportunity is one of the Arts Council's key priorities, with the aim of increasing the public value of, and access to, the arts through innovative partnerships with broadcasters and arts organisations. The Arts Council has had long term partnerships with the BBC, Channel 4, Sky and Channel 5 that have resulted in a range of popular arts programming such as BalletHoo, Big Art and Our Boyz In Havana. The partnership with Channel 4 encompasses reality series on 4, arts documentaries on More4 and cross platform digital innovation initiatives. Arts Council is also a partner in NT Live, which sees National Theatre productions broadcast to cinemas world-wide. A three year partnership with Tate Modern has produced broadcast content for ITV and Channel 4 as well as online content for the Tate.

BBC: In March 2010, the BBC outlined its Strategy Review which placed quality at the forefront of the corporation. One of the five key editorial priorities outlined in this review is: "Inspiring knowledge, music and culture: Enriching people's lives—bringing knowledge, music and culture to new minds, eyes and ears". Defining cultural output on the BBC will result in a stronger, combined contribution to arts, music, culture and knowledge.

The Strategy Review encourages partnerships with those arts organisations that have both complementary content and a shared set of public purposes – opening up the riches of their archives and highlighting opportunities for the public to discover and learn. It says: "Working with the rest of the industry to provide training is a key partnership role for the BBC and part of its mission to act as a catalyst within public space".

Currently the BBC has partnerships with organisations that include The Arts Council, the UK Public Library Sector, the National Theatre, the Royal Opera House, the Manchester International Festival, and the Public Catalogue Foundation. In Scotland, the BBC is in partnership with the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama and is working with the newly formed Creative Scotland (which brings together the Scottish Arts Council and Scottish Screen) to drive the development of the creative industries across the country.

The BBC has a long history of working with partners, collaborating with many organisations on TV and radio programme projects, promoting education and developing industry technologies and standards. Combining our expertise and resources with those of external partners allows us to support the wider creative industry and to deliver greater value to audiences.

JIW

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