Researchers help map the route to a highly skilled digital future for museums

Research from Leicester and Warwick will help to transform the ways UK museums use digital technologies to share their collections and engage new audiences with their work.

Effective digital strategies can help museums make their collections more accessible, break down barriers to access, and find innovative ways to engage a wider audience. To do this well requires a high level of digital literacy among staff and volunteers.

A team from CAMEo at Leicester and the Institute for Employment Research at Warwick visited a range of UK museums to find out how staff and volunteers are currently using digital technology, and to investigate how demand for these skills is changing. Their findings are published in a new report today.

Their report concludes the first phase of the One by One project, an interdisciplinary project led by Dr Ross Parry from the School of Museum Studies and funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC).

Dr Parry said: “This is an extremely timely and important piece of live research. The Government has recently challenged museums, within the wider culture sector, to reflect on how they might articulate and measure their levels of digital maturity and – specifically – to consider the digital skills needed for sector transformation. This is exactly what our ‘One by One’ project is charged to do.

“There is an exciting opportunity here to leverage research from the HE sector to make a substantive and poignant contribution to this strategic government priority. Our research can help deliver this change.

“The initial findings of the project, in this first phase, give us a fantastic starting point. We now have a high resolution and evidenced picture of exactly where the skills are in the sector and how they are being used and developed.

“It is this context that will allow us now to begin to develop a new national framework for digitally upskilling the UK museum sector.”