How to lead digital strategy in the arts

By Martin Vogel

My friend and former BBC colleague, Jonathan Drori, has produced an interesting paper on how arts organisations can best use digital media.

It was produced for the Department for Culture and, having the misfortune to be published in the midst of the election campaign, will struggle initially to receive the attention it deserves.

One issue Jonathan highlights is the critical need for the leaders of arts organisations to bone up on technology:

“There is a strong perception among the contributors to this paper that the leadership of local authorities and the boards of governors and trustees do not contain enough people who feel confident debating and taking decisions about digital strategy and policy. Trustees, recruited for their seniority and wisdom, are seen as being less likely to be digital natives.

“Having more people with insight into digital opportunities would reduce the risk of boards rejecting worthwhile projects or failing to encourage management to consider new digital methods. It would also reduce the risk of ill-considered digital strategy being adopted.”

He also urges senior managers to recognise that they need collectively to develop some “herd knowledge” of digital strategy and not just leave it to a designated technology expert on the board.

I was struck by a quote in the report from my old boss, Tony Hall, about the reticence of arts organisations to give away cultural assets on the internet:

“People are over-optimistic about future commercial value and not excited enough about present public value.”

Click the image above to see Jon’s top ten tips. Recommended reading for anyone grappling with digital strategy in the cultural sector.


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