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Arts Council England funds innovative Culture Kent digital project to promote cultural tourism

  • Date: 12 February 2013
  • Area: South East
The refurbished People and Places Gallery, formerly the 1934 Slater Gallery. The Beany, 2012.

The refurbished People and Places Gallery, formerly the 1934 Slater Gallery. The Beany, 2012.. Credit: Tim Stubbings

A new digital culture and tourism project showcasing Kent's cultural events for residents and visitors is set to be launched this spring.

Culture Kent is a pilot project that gathers together cultural event information,  news and features and publishes it onto a mobile-enabled web site, also offering the information out to other publishers, bloggers or web users as so-called 'open data.'

The database that drives the new site will automatically retrieve stories from cultural partners across Kent, so local listings and event information will reach many more people without duplication and without the need for any extra work for organisations that wish to be included.

'Kent has so much to offer in terms of culture and the aim of this new site is to showcase that to as wide an audience as possible," said Sandra Matthews-Marsh, Chief Executive of project partner Visit Kent.

Culture Kent initial 'pathfinder' partners are Kent County Council, Canterbury City Council, Canterbury Christ Church University, the Marlowe Theatre, Maidstone Borough Council and Visit Kent. Visit Kent, the county's official tourist agency, is co-coordinating development of the site.

The Culture Kent pathfinder group has received a £25,000 Arts Council England grant to research and develop the idea, and it is hoped the pilot project will establish best practice for culture organisations who want to work with tourism promoters to reach people digitally across the UK and beyond. The website is due to launch in March 2013.

As well as the pathfinder partner sites, other venues in Kent will also be publicised, with editorial features, highlighted events and recommended events. The aim of the site is to point those who already enjoy Kent's events in the direction of some they may not be aware of, as well as attract new audiences.

Jon Pratty, Digital and Creative Economy Relationship Manager, South Eastm Arts Council England said: 'Kent is experiencing really exciting growth in arts, culture, regeneration and tourism, and we hope this new site will be useful for residents, visitors, as well as arts and cultural organisations. It has the potential to be a sustainable new digital model for other regions, in joining up tourism and cultural opportunities.'

Sandra Matthews-Marsh added: 'We are looking to promote the county as a cultural destination for residents and national and international visitors and encourage them to stay longer. By doing that, we hope to be able to attract greater investment in tourism in the county.'