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EACEA National Policies Platform


8. Creativity and Culture

8.7 Fostering the creative use of new technologies

Last update: 22 January 2021

LAST MODIFIED ON: 07/12/2020 - 18:26

On this page
  1. New technologies in support of creativity and innovation
  2. Facilitating access to culture through new technologies

New technologies in support of creativity and innovation


A number of publicly funded programmes foster access to and use of new technologies, including the National College for Creative and Cultural Industries, which was established in 2016, offers courses in a range of technical support roles in theatre, concert touring, broadcast, themed attractions, education and trade and corporate events; it aims to provide the creative industries with diverse and highly skilled professionals (although the College offers courses for young people aged 16 years and above, it also welcomes adults).

Facilitating access to culture through new technologies

As highlighted in the Culture White Paper (Department for Culture, Media and Sport, 2016):

Technology is expanding the ways in which we make and experience culture; the digital dimension is becoming a 'place' in itself.

Many local and national organisations are increasingly screening content online and digitising their public collections, giving individuals who cannot physically visit performances or collections the chance to experience them. Although these initiatives are not specifically or solely aimed at attracting young people's interest in culture, they help to counter the economic and geographical barriers to participation in the arts and culture mentioned under the subheading 'Main trends in young people's creativity and cultural participation' in 'General Context'.

Leading examples of digitisation and the innovative use of technology by public organisations include the following:

  • Art UK, which receives funding from Arts Council England and Scottish Government, allows members of the public to view art from every public collection in the UK online.
  • the National Theatre Live, which is part funded by  Arts Council England, broadcasts theatre productions live both from the National Theatre and other theatres across the UK and has a successful Schools programme.
  • the Royal Shakespeare Company which broadcasts performances live to schools across the country.
  • Operation War Diary, a project run by the National Archives (a non-ministerial government department, overseen by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport), uses crowdsourcing to engage people with its First World War collections, allowing 'citizen historians' to tag data contained within the project; this follows the World through a lens initiative, which involved digitising a little seen collection of photographs and making them available through the social media platform Flickr.
  • the Royal Opera House, which receives funding from Arts Council England, organises both live and pre-recorded screenings of their productions to cinemas across the globe.
  • a partnership between the British Museum and the Google Cultural Institute offers online users the chance to view over 4,500 museum objects remotely; the British Museum is sponsored by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

Many museums are offering online virtual tours due to COVID-19. The British Museum offers virtual tours and online galleries. The Natural History Museum offers a guided interactive tour narrated by Sir David Attenborough. Others include the London Transport Museum, The National Gallery and Buckingham Palace State Room tours

Born out of the Culture White Paper, the Digital Culture Project and #CultureIsDigital online consultation was launched in 2017. Their aim has been organised into three policy commitments 1) to explore how culture and technology can work together to drive audience engagement, 2) boost the capability of cultural organisations and 3) unleash the creative potential of technology. The Digital Culture Project highlighted three policy priorities for future strategy - digital infrastructure for culture, innovation and creative risk-taking, and collaboration and partnerships between the UK’s cultural organisations.  With regards to facilitating access to culture through new technologies, the first policy commitment of driving audience engagement outlines some key actions to achieve this:

In order to further broaden cultural engagement and empower communities to share their voices, views and creative content digitally, Arts Council England will ensure that its Creative People and Places programme makes use of digital communications and platforms and that the analysis and learning from the projects are widely shared.