Prior to commissioning any research, the Arts Council undertook a brief review that examined existing evidence on levels of access to and patterns of use of digital technologies among the public:
Two pieces of research examined the current provision of digital content held by the Arts Council and our funded organisations. They looked at web content and archives. The first report was written by MTM London and assessed the current online presence of the Arts Council's regularly funded portfolio:
Making archives public
A key objective of the Public Value Partnership between Arts Council England and the BBC is to use digital technologies to better connect publicly funded arts content with audiences through digital services and platforms.
The partnership has a strong focus on opening arts archives to the public. As part of this work, and in order to assess the potential, the Arts Council and the BBC agreed to undertake a research project.
This report looks at the extent and type of content held by selected Arts Council England regularly funded organisations and looks at the level of interest in making content available via online platforms.
In addition to researching the existing digital content held by the Arts Council and our funded organisations, the digital opportunities work sought to understand how the public digitally engage with the arts. The Arts Council commissioned in-depth qualitative research conducted by Synovate, examining current public attitudes to and experience of arts content online:
The Arts Council also commissioned a substantial survey of how people engage with arts and culture online, and their attitudes towards this. The research was co-commissioned by the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council, and Arts & Business.
The report by MTM London also identifies five distinct audience groups and looks at how the cultural sector can use these groupings, and better knowledge about people's online arts and cultural activities, to expand and deepen their relationships with the public: