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Nesta is an innovation foundation. For us, innovation means turning bold ideas into reality and changing lives for the better. We use our expertise, skills and funding in areas where there are big challenges facing society.

Evidence review: The adoption of digital technology in the arts

A review of the evidence available about how digital technology is being successfully adopted by arts organisations, written by Golant Media Ventures

A review of the evidence available about how digital technology is being successfully adopted by arts organisations.

Key findings

  • Adopting digital technology in the arts is only valuable in that it allows arts organisations to do better what they’ve been doing all along.
  • Publicly-funded arts organisations need to look to the wider creative industries, the charitable sector and beyond for inspiration as to how digital can be used, as well as to other arts organisations.
  • ‘Driver’ technologies are radically changing audience expectations, and they provide the basic context to any adoption of technology by an arts organisation.
  • There are a range of effective strategies for the adoption of digital technology that are common to organisations in the arts and in other areas of the economy.

While the potential for digital technology to generate earned income is clear, the link between digital transformation and business model transformation is complex.

We asked Golant Media Ventures to bring together an evidence base for arts organisations to use to inform their plans to introduce new digital technologies into their work.

As well as bringing together useful online resources, they have gathered helpful advice from interviews with experts and practitioners, including Fiona Morris of The Space, Jane Finnis of Culture 24, and Michelle Carwardine-Palmer of National Theatre Wales.

Some of the conversations that the document can help inform are:

  • What’s the point of investing in digital technology?
  • Where can we find inspiration and support?
  • What kinds of digital technology should we be considering?
  • How can we make new stuff stick?
  • How can digital help our resilience and sustainability?

This report demonstrates ways in which digital technology can enable arts organisations to achieve their goals and mission, as well as achieve sustainability. Beyond this, arts organisations already possess many of the skills necessary to make effective use of them.


Ian Danby

Ian Danby

Ian Danby

Programme Manager

Ian was the Programme Manager for the Digital Innovation Fund for the Arts in Wales, our joint programme with Arts Council of Wales.

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Rob Ashelford

Rob Ashelford

Rob Ashelford

Pennaeth Nesta Cymru / Head of Nesta Cymru

Rob is Head of Nesta Cymru - responsible for the delivery of Nesta's strategy in Wales.

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