This new medium has been criticised for the impact it could have on venues in the future, but equally it has been lauded for unlocking unique opportunities for more diverse audiences to engage with new experiences.
Now, a new project by Loughborough University will provide arts and culture organisations with urgently needed knowledge about the challenges and benefits of embedding streaming video within their programming strategies.
Dr Adrian Leguina, of the School of Social Sciences and Humanities, said: “Since the global spread of COVID-19, video streaming has emerged as perhaps the most popular and effective tool for maintaining access to arts and culture.
“From live-streamed performances, through online film festivals, to guided tours of galleries, online video has helped physically sited arts and culture institutions stay ‘open’ and provided locked-down audiences with desperately needed opportunities for cultural engagement and shared experience.
“The recent outpouring of creative alternatives to physically-sited performance and exhibition has also lifted former geographic and economic constraints on who can access arts and culture.
“The lessons being learnt through current crisis-driven innovations in digital delivery could – if gathered, consolidated, and channelled into sector-wide discussion and action – help ensure the survival of arts and culture organisations struggling to adapt their business models to a post-COVID landscape.
“They also present a unique opportunity for them to engage with new and more diverse audiences.
“The project will gather and compile a repository of ‘best practice’ case studies of streaming projects; analyse how socially distanced audiences engage with streamed content; and research how digital programming can widen access to arts and culture and increase the diversity of its audiences.”
The initiative, Digital Access to Arts and Culture Beyond Covid-19, is being developed in collaboration with the University of Kent, Arts Council England (ACE) and digital support agency, The Space.