Arts content for the digital era strategy executive summary
The Australia Council for the Arts has adopted six strategic priorities to help focus its efforts on critical areas for the arts into the future. Arts content for the digital era is one of these strategic priorities. This strategy includes information on current and future work in this area and outlines changes in the arts and media landscape and how that will inform future initiatives.
The Australia Council currently:
- Supports digital broadcasts of major performing arts events to regional cinemas and public screens around Australia;
- Supports new work, research and residency projects for artists who are creating content for digital platforms like virtual worlds and video games;
- Conducts research on the impact of digital technology on the arts including book publishing, music and the performing arts;
- Helps build the capacity of the arts community through collaborations with the broader digital content industry.
The Australia Council developed this strategy to help our organisation and the arts sector to understand the big picture of the digital environment. It will also ensure we make informed responses to the impact of digital technology on the creation and enjoyment of the arts. A glossary is provided at the end of this document.
The strategy focuses on four subject areas:
New audiences: promoting access to arts content
Access to arts content is changing dramatically due to the proliferation of digital media devices such as mobile phones and portable music players, and improved digital infrastructures such as broadband and wireless technology. Arts content is now just as likely to be enjoyed on the move or at home as it is in a gallery, museum or theatre. As digital infrastructure improves, national broadcasters, telecommunications companies and online publishers will play an increasingly pivotal role in the distribution of arts content.
Our goal is to help the sector better understand audiences and their behaviour in the digital era, and to promote greater access to Australian-sourced arts content across digital platforms locally, regionally and internationally.
New domains: evolving arts content and practice
Artists are employing new technologies that invite audiences to move beyond passively viewing, watching or listening to arts content, instead encouraging them to try wearing, stepping inside and contributing to its creation. Many artists, especially those from more traditional art mediums, are grappling with these new arts practices, content forms and new artist–audience relationships. Because of this, many artists are looking for assistance to navigate these new domains.
Our goal is to raise the profile of emerging artforms and support artists to evolve their arts practice in new domains.
New incomes: linking arts content and commerce
Arts content in digital format can be copied, shared and even repurposed. This makes it difficult to protect and monetise content, turning the traditional business model which is based on one-off pieces and events on its head. Arts content in the digital era also competes in a wider, global marketplace. While audiences go to the theatre primarily because they want to see a live performance, they may turn on their television (TV), computer, mobile phone or gaming device for all sorts of reasons – information, communication, education or entertainment. Now, more than ever, arts content needs to be easy to find and easy to access in this larger playing field.
Our goal is to continue building the capacity of the sector to adopt appropriate business, marketing, copyright and distribution models for the digital era.
New support: producing and preserving arts content
Increasingly, artists are developing work that will end up on a screen of some kind. This may require them to learn new skills and move between new and old publishing and presentation formats – books, web, live performance and mobile phones. Digital technology is also causing us to review how we preserve and extend the life and reach of arts content through promoting access to digital archives. We understand that existing support infrastructure needs to evolve in line with new practice, both to encourage artists to learn from and collaborate with the broader digital content industries, and also to ensure the preservation of arts content in digital form.
Our goal is to offer support that is fitting for a new cross-platform arts landscape and to encourage the creation of and access to arts content through digital archives.
Download the full strategy here