Sejul Malde, Research Manager, Culture24

Let’s get real

Sejul Malde, 25.01.2019
How can we connect our digital practices with wider societal issues?
The pace of technological change isn’t slowing down and as a mirror to our wider society, the internet reflects the good and the bad that exist in the world. 

Many of the social issues we face in an increasingly networked and connected society don’t exist in a vacuum. They are part of a complex, multi-causal ecosystem that has digital culture woven into its fabric. 

How as cultural organisations can we make connections between wider societal issues and our own digital practices? We worked collaboratively with 18 art and heritage organisations as part of the Let’s Get Real 6 project to explore this question further.

The project demonstrated clear opportunities for our sector to nurture meaningful cultural and social value with individuals or groups, via digital tools and channels. We learnt that doing this successfully is not always about developing new work but rather about looking at our existing digital work in a different way, one that evolves as our own digital understanding grows.

Key challenges lay in better articulating how digital activity might promote the social values that matter most to people, and in exploring whether this work can ripple out to have wider societal benefits. There is also a need to be honest about when our digital work does not generate social value, and knowing how to change this. 

Taking such an open and reflexive approach could help museums to embrace digital technology to not only do more good, but also engage with their audiences in more human ways.

Sejul Malde is the research manager at Culture24. The call for registrations to Let's Get Real 7 is open until 22 February