Institute for Digital Culture

About the Institute

We are focused

Our research sees ‘digital’ within the culture sector as:

  • something used (digital as a technology, a tool)
  • something managed (digital as a process, a policy)
  • something created (digital as a piece of content, a collection)
  • and something understood (digital as a context, a culture).

We are purposeful

At the heart of our Institute is a commitment to a values-driven approach to supporting, and working with the cultural sector.

Key to this is the Institute’s support of the Digital Culture Charter’s core principles.

The Charter was developed through a process of collaboration and co-creation by a wide group of cultural sector experts, leaders and practitioners. It was commissioned by Arts Council England and the National Lottery Heritage Fund as one of twelve policy commitments set out in the UK Government’s Culture is Digital policy and launched in 2020.

The Charter is designed so organisations’ leaders – directors, trustees or senior managers – can make and communicate a commitment to approaching all digital activities (wherever digital content, services and experiences, data, systems or technologies are part of their work) in ways that are led by core values, centred on people’s needs and responsive to change.

We are open

Our opportunity is to model a different way of being a ‘Research Institute’ in the 21st century - more accessible, more transparent, more playful.

At the heart of the campus, and of our Institute, is our Digital Culture Studio – prominent, active and useful. A curated place to showcase and share, articulate and advocate, demonstrate and design together. A safe place for us as a new Institute to ‘grow up’ in public. An accessible place to show everyone how research works.

Cherishing all that is special about a university campus (curious, busy and diverse), our approach is not to shy away from trying things out in view.

We are creative

Working across the sciences, social sciences, arts and humanities, the Institute’s work wilfully mixes the experimental with the creative, the empirical with the conceptual.

Each year our Creative in Residence programme will resource on-campus an individual or group whose practice can act as a catalyst for purposeful transdisciplinary research in the area of digital culture.

The work of the Creative inspires new ways of thinking about research with/about digital technology for the culture sector. The Institute in turn offers the Creative a university’s infrastructure and community as a platform for new ways of working.

We are grounded

Our Institute values iterative, needs-driven, experimental working at a fundamental level – reflected in the way we design our projects, services and resources.

We balance the interests of academic researchers for formal research outcomes, with the many and varied needs from individual cultural sector people and organisations. We work hard to get best value at both ends.

Our annual Digital Culture Residentials will provide subsidised opportunities each year for practitioners from the culture sector to come together to engage with the collaborative and inter-disciplinary work of the Institute – a chance to root this research into everyday practice, and at the same time to shape and signal the research that needs to follow.

We see the potential for supporting the community of people and organisations who already work in this domain in this way, by bridging the gap between formal and informal research, connecting cultural leaders and practitioners with academics, and disseminating insights across everyone’s work.

  • See the way we have already built open resources for platforms such as Digital Pathways.

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