The UK lockdown on March 23 saw the most seismic shift in cultural activity since World War II. As we begin to ease our way out of lockdown it is also clear that this is not business as usual and that the cultural experience has now been transformed and disrupted beyond recognition.
As the “live” experience in terms of live music and performance is currently on hold and the other cultural experiences such as museums and galleries are transformed due to social distancing the future of experience will be different, distant and digital. The future is hybrid and will mean that digital is here to stay and an augmented and enhanced experience will be expected even once we have moved beyond social distancing.
Equally shielding for the clinically vulnerable means many 1000s of people will also be in an extended period of lockdown. Indigo’s After the Interval report found that 82% of audiences had watched a full online production, and 83% were interested in further online cultural experiences. Whilst it is accepted that it is not an alternative or substitute for the physical experience, the lockdown has created a digitally confident audience with 48% of those surveyed trying online for the first-time during lockdown But what happens next and how does the sector navigate an oversaturated digital marketplace, engage with new and diverse audiences as well as converting its physical existing audiences. In a recent New York Times article Frank Rose, author of “The Art of Immersion” talked of a much bigger shift in favour of immersive experiences and against consumerism in general. For well over a decade, trend-watchers have noted a growing preference for experiences over things. “ Hello Culture Remix: Are You Experienced will explore how during lockdown artists and audiences have created and engaged with culture in different ways when the physical has been lost to us. The programme highlighted the many different types of digital engagement, experiences and creation that emerged during lockdown and took the best examples to demonstrate and debate the potential of future digital experiences.
Working across the Digital Cities Calendar Hello Culture Are You Experienced took place with a keynote and a panel on September 23 2020
Brunch with Hello Culture: 11:00-12:00 Wednesday 23 September Keynote: BBC Director of Arts Jonty Claypole hosted by Helga Henry.
Lunch with Hello Culture Panel 13:00-14:00 Wednesday 23 September 2020 Are You Experienced: Audiences and Digital Chair: Katy Raines Partner Indigo.
Produced After the Interval & Act 2: Audience views on missing cultural events, booking tickets during lockdown, returning to live cultural events with social distancing, and experiencing culture in different formats.
Are we starting at the wrong end of the telescope? Are we as a sector trying to put ‘our work’ online because ‘we can’t’ perform live – rather than thinking about what people are looking to experience or gain from a cultural experience, and thinking about how we create something digital that achieves that?
Abby Corfan Director of Marketing, Donmar Warehouse
Linda Spurdle Head of Digital, Birmingham Museums
Gabrielle Jenks Digital Director Manchester International Festival