Researchers explore ways to maximise arts and culture online

Coronavirus has forced the arts online with video streaming now one of the most popular and effective tools for allowing people access to culture.

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.


Notes for editors

Press release reference number: 21/22

Loughborough is one of the country’s leading universities, with an international reputation for research that matters, excellence in teaching, strong links with industry, and unrivalled achievement in sport and its underpinning academic disciplines.

It has been awarded five stars in the independent QS Stars university rating scheme, named the best university in the world for sports-related subjects in the 2020 QS World University Rankings and University of the Year by The Times and Sunday Times University Guide 2019.

Loughborough is in the top 10 of every national league table, being ranked 7th in the Guardian University League Table 2021, 5th in the Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2020 and 6th in The UK Complete University Guide 2021.

Loughborough is consistently ranked in the top twenty of UK universities in the Times Higher Education’s ‘table of tables’ and is in the top 10 in England for research intensity. In recognition of its contribution to the sector, Loughborough has been awarded seven Queen's Anniversary Prizes.

The Loughborough University London campus is based on the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and offers postgraduate and executive-level education, as well as research and enterprise opportunities. It is home to influential thought leaders, pioneering researchers and creative innovators who provide students with the highest quality of teaching and the very latest in modern thinking.