Arts Research Monitor articles, category = Digital technologies & the arts

Summary Report

Based on five research streams (two online public surveys, two sets of focus groups, and key informant interviews), this report summarizes the “current attitudes of English-speaking Canadians about the cultural and economic value of written work”. Many English Canadians spend a significant proportion of their leisure time reading: 80% spend about five to eight hours reading each week, “representing about one-quarter of their overall leisure time”. One-half of respondents indicated that they read books in digital formats. Spending on books is about $300 per purchaser per year, or $250 yearly for each English-Canadian adult, including those who did not buy books during the past year.

Based on a survey of digital marketing in 130 American arts organizations, this report indicates that “organizations invested more in digital [in 2015], but challenges around funding and expertise limited digital effectiveness”. Theatres were the largest group of respondents (34%), followed by presenting organizations (22%) and museums (12%). Previous iterations of the survey covered performing arts organizations only. The survey found that 80% of responding organizations had redesigned their website within the past three years and that 51% of respondents’ tickets were sold online.

An Assessment of Opportunities, Issues and Challenges

In a context where “a sizeable group of Canadians” have “identified mediated performance experiences as equal to attending live performances in person”, this report provides an initial assessment of challenges and opportunities related to digital innovation in the performing arts (and for arts presenters in particular). The report indicates that a key question for performing arts presenters is whether and how they will be able to continue to play a role as intermediaries between artists and audiences in a fully digital realm.

Survey Data Report

Based on a survey completed by 907 arts organizations and 2,680 artists in Canada, this report examines “the impact of digital technologies on the creation, dissemination and business practices of individual artists and arts organizations in Canada”. In general, most respondents self-identified as “comfortable” or “very comfortable” using digital technologies (71% of organizations and 60% of artists). Just over one-third of arts organizations (38%) and one-half of artists (54%) have created “digital-first” works of art.

(Un portrait de la chanson québécoise)

Prepared for a 2013 Forum on Quebec Song, this French-language opinion piece attempts to stimulate reflection on the state of Quebec song and French-language song in particular.  Raising important questions, the article examines topics such as internationalization, technological change, touring, training, and funding. The article argues that “these days, much imagination is required to develop new sources of revenue” for singers, songwriters, and music groups.

This report highlights the result of a survey of the digital marketing practices of 125 performing arts organizations in the United States. Theatres (41%) and presenting organizations (27%) accounted for over two-thirds of the respondents. As noted in the report, “125+ organizations do not make this data statistically significant”. Nevertheless, there are some interesting findings regarding the digital marketing of performing arts organizations.

Measuring Cultural Engagement amid Confounding Variables

In an environment of media convergence and digital multi-tasking (with many people paying only partial attention to multiple concurrent tasks), can arts participation surveys capture an accurate picture of people’s activities? Some participants argued that behaviour is observable without a survey, but attitudes, thoughts, and feelings can best be captured by surveys. Others contended that, without benchmark surveys, our understanding of cultural participation would be significantly lessened.

Measuring Cultural Engagement amid Confounding Variables

The symposium tackled some large and challenging questions, such as “what counts as ‘the arts’? and “what do people consider culture?” In many jurisdictions, there has been a broadening of the types of cultural participation or engagement factors measured via surveys. The complexities of cultural participation in a digital world were discussed at the symposium. The importance of places and spaces to cultural participation was also discussed. The complicated reality of cultural participation is difficult to measure.

Between May and July 2012, the Pew Internet and American Life Project surveyed 1,258 arts organizations that had received funding from the National Endowment for the Arts between 2007 and 2011. The survey results cover the use, benefits, and challenges of digital technologies for American arts organizations.

This survey of 891 English arts and culture organizations, conducted in the summer of 2013, examines the organizations’ digital activities, impacts of digital technologies, and the barriers to further digital utilization. This is the baseline year of a three-year longitudinal study.