New research project explores access to arts and culture through streaming

February 9, 2021

A new project which will explore widening access to arts and culture through streaming video has been launched.

Developed by Dr Richard Misek from University of Kent’s School of Arts’ Film department in collaboration with Arts Council England (ACE), digital analytics and user research agency One Further and The Space, the project will examine approaches to digital programming, distribution models and the ways in whiich successful initiatives can be further developed.

Since the global pandemic, streaming of arts content has emerged as a popular and effective tool for maintaining access to arts and culture.

Live streamed concerts, online film festivals, virtual gallery tours, Zoom-based performances and workshops, and countless other innovations in digital programming have helped physically-sited arts and culture institutions stay ‘open’, and provided locked-down audiences with much needed opportunities for cultural engagement and shared experience.

The recent outpouring of creative alternatives to physically-sited events has also lifted former geographic, physical and economic constraints on who can access arts and culture.

The project will focus on providing arts and cultural organisations of all sizes and from across the UK with specific, practical knowledge about how to manage their digital programming.

Key research questions include:

  • What forms of, and approaches to, digital programming have proven most effective during physical shutdown, and may best complement physically-sited post-lockdown programming?     
  • Which digital distribution models developed in response to COVID-19 are most replicable across organisations and sectors?      
  • How can successful digital initiatives from the last year be incorporated into organisations’ core work, without sacrificing their pre-existing activities?  
  • What opportunities does digital programming provide for increasing equality of access to arts and culture – both during and beyond the current crisis?

The project’s longer-term aim is to establish a rigorous, statistically-based foundation of knowledge about how digital programming can be used to widen access to arts and culture, and increase the diversity of its audiences.

Full details of the project can be found on University of Kent’s Institute of Culture and Creative Industries Projects page.