The Space's CEO and Creative Director, Fiona Morris, shares her thoughts on the ways in which digital technologies can help arts organisations create global audiences.
As we approach the end of the first two decades of the 21st Century, it’s impossible to overstate the impact that digital technologies have had on the arts. From the manner in which we make work to the way in which we consume it, the landscape of audience and institution has shifted radically, and at a pace which has often seemed dizzying.
One of the greatest changes - in terms of the opportunities it’s afforded to artists and institutions alike - has been the shift in the relationship with the audience. The shortening of virtual distances and widening of access has been one of the hallmarks of the digital revolution in the arts, with artists and arts organisations now being able to take control of their relationships with the wider public; being able to talk and respond directly to audiences, whether it be those ones living 5 feet from their front door who never walk through it because ‘it’s not for them’, or those audiences on the other side of the world who would like to engage but can’t because of geography.
The power of direct engagement
This direct engagement is hugely powerful - both in terms of building a market for a body of work, and in terms of developing connections between artists and their public. In this collection of essays, we’ve sought to bring a variety of perspectives to bear on this new reality:
- What it means for artists and institutions
- What opportunities, and risks, it has created
- What individuals and organisations can do to harness digital means to deliver deeper, more meaningful relationships with the arts consumer of the future
As we witness the breakdown of traditional media power structures, and the cultural curation model role in mainstream media coverage becomes ever-more marginalised, the opportunity to interact directly with the public will become increasingly ever-more important. It’s part of our role as The Space to help the arts navigate these interactions, and develop the tools and skills to best make use of them; we hope that these essays will go some way towards helping with that.
With contributions from photographer Rankin, who reminds us that trying to talk to everyone can often mean talking to no one, playwright and performer Javaad Alipoor on discussing contemporary themes with an international audience through online channels, David Ripert on what the term ‘audience’ even means in 2019, Sam Shetabi on how the world of ‘influencers’ actually works, and Jay Owens, on how digital tools can create huge opportunities for even the smallest of institutions, we hope that this collection will provide help and inspiration for artists, institutions and organisations as they strive to find their audience - wherever it may be.