UKRI AHRC and DCMS announce joint research project into impact of COVID-19 on culture sector

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THE UKRI Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) today announced a Joint Research Project with the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

This new research will help provide insight to further drive innovation, develop new ways to reach audiences and grow the sector

Oliver Dowden CBE

The Project will look to provide an evidence base to inform cultural recovery, renewal and future growth.

More specifically, the Joint Research Project will: 

●        Provide new data and real-time intelligence on the differential impact of Covid-19 across the UK’s cultural and creative sectors, positive and negative – the opportunities as well as the disruption and threats;

●        Advise on measures that may be required to restore public confidence in cultural participation and the return to venues;

●        Explore the impact of Covid-19 on new technology-enabled distribution platforms and on-line cultural participation / consumption, and on user preferences across a range of audience groups;

●        Make recommendations that will allow the sector to maximise the potential of new digital and immersive technologies in engaging and diversifying audiences;

●        Provide insights into how the cultural sector may need to innovate through both their content and business models to recover, build resilience against future shocks, and emerge from the period of lockdown in a different form.

The Joint Research Project will see the creation of an Expert Advisory Panel co-chaired by Professor Andrew Thompson, Executive Chair of Arts and Humanities Research Council, and Neil Mendoza, Commissioner for Cultural Recovery and Renewal and Provost of Oriel College, Oxford University.

The project is set to Explore the impact of Covid-19 on new technology-enabled distribution platforms

This panel will bring together leaders from across the arts, cultural, creative and HEI sectors, to guide, review and report on the subsequent findings to provide an evidence base that informs cultural recovery, renewal and future growth, and make recommendations for future actions.

The Chairs will announce the Expert Advisory Panel by the end of July.

The Expert Advisory Panel will run from July 2020 to July 2021.

Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, The Rt Hon Oliver Dowden CBE MP, says: “Throughout the coronavirus pandemic, our creative industries have come up with innovative digital projects and concepts so a global audience can enjoy world-class culture from home. This new research will help provide insight to further drive innovation, develop new ways to reach audiences and grow the sector.”

Professor Andrew Thompson, Executive Chair of Arts and Humanities Research Council, says: “Culture and creativity are powerful forces that together help to shape our rich shared national heritage.

“Both are increasingly entwined with the digital technological revolution of our times. Boundless Creativity is designed to explore the interactions between the cultural and the digital, and between the physical and the online. It is vital we do all we can to bring the resulting insights to bear on the recovery of our arts, cultural and creative sectors.

“This joint research project will put the expertise of arts and humanities researchers at the heart of Whitehall, forging a strong knowledge partnership between the AHRC and DCMS.”

Commissioner for Cultural Recovery and Renewal, Neil Mendoza says: “Our culture holds us together.

Protecting the future and navigating a clear way forward is crucial

“From heritage sites to immersive theatre culture in all its forms is a vital part of people’s lives up and down the country.

“As well as creating some exceptional new and innovative experiences, Boundless Creativity presents a unique and immediate opportunity to explore the impact of the pandemic on culture and creativity and how digital innovation can support the sector’s ultimate recovery and renewal.”  


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