Alec Ward, Issue 118/05, p14, 01.05.2018
Skills gap needs delivery, not commitments
The Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport recently published the #CultureisDigital report, with the aim of “unleashing the creative potential of technology for cultural organisations”.

It was based on last year’s #CultureisDigital project, which called for contributions from the sector – so the report is hopefully representative of the digital needs of many cultural organisations, big and small.

The report leaves questions unanswered, but has positive aspects. For example, to address many smaller museums’ lack of digital skills or confidence in their digital literacy, it has highlighted encouraging policy commitments from the Heritage Lottery Fund and Arts Council England, particularly around digital skills development.

But a key concern is scalability. While the planned initiatives have potential, it is important that opportunities are accessible to all museums. These resources could make a meaningful impact, but they need to be developed with museums of all sizes in mind. If they lack significant input from smaller museums from the outset, it will only widen the digital skills gap in the sector.

The report makes several forward-thinking suggestions, but lacks detail when it comes to their delivery. While many of the policy commitments are encouraging, we will have to wait and see how they are put into practice. Hopefully, as a sector, we can build on the report’s foundations and make positive strides in addressing the digital skills gap.

Alec Ward is the Museum of London’s museum development officer, digital and communications