NSDF is delighted to announce it has been recognised at the first ever Digital Culture Awards, run by Arts Council England’s Digital Culture Network in the Digital Trailblazer category.
Long before most of the world had experienced their first 'Zoom', we launched our annual festival, pivoting to host it entirely online within a number of weeks.
But this was a festival with a difference: an online room can be a ‘bigger room’,and this meant more than 10,000 people attended free online masterclasses from world leaders in the arts. After all, with a pandemic cancelling work across the world, a remarkable number of voices were free and keen to take part.
Now, NSDF is an entirely repurposed organisation, using digital technology to become a producer of digital works and using partnerships to ensure anyone traditionally excluded from the arts can be at the heart of their new works.
‘Innovation culture isn’t about the technology: it’s about embedding a mindset and behaviours across an organisation, it’s about thinking about the customer- inside and out. It’s about unleashing the problem-solving of people. It’s about changing the way we work, communicate, interact and about nurturing a culture that incentivises innovation.
Every single submission in this category was brilliant: Covid has driven this big, real, speedy innovation. All of the organisations who submitted a project demonstrated so much commitment to harness the full breadth of digital. Arts and cultural organisations have the added gem: they have a creative product that audiences and customers love. It brings joy, it entertains, it inspires! AND the kind of people who choose to work in the arts are the innovators and the problem solvers, if you let them.
We are all part of shaping the future of digital. The shortlist have adopted a ‘digital by default’ position and unlocked the position of digital, as well as unlocking a mindset and culture that drives that positive change. All the shortlistees have expanded their reach to engage people who would never normally be able to engage.
The National Student Drama Festival should be recognised not only for the sheer speed in which they embraced digital but also the way in which they empowered and inspired young talent and put them at the centre of their work.’ Katz Kiely, Digital Trailblazer Judge
The Digital Culture Awards recognise the best digital content, distribution and strategies in the arts, and received more than 400 entries from 279 arts organisations from all disciplines, from the world of creative arts, culture, opera, music, theatre and dance. The winners have each shown themselves to be trailblazers in the digital space, creating and sharing content which engages new audiences, increases organisational revenue, uses data to improve audience insights, or showcasing best practice in digital leadership.
'The last few years have been challenging, and due to these challenges posed by the pandemic we’ve all had to adapt the way we work, learn and socialise, including how we consume culture.
We received hundreds of submissions and thousands of votes in this year’s Digital Culture Awards, demonstrating the need to acknowledge and celebrate the creativity of our sector. Arts and cultural organisations across the country have innovated how they connect and engage audiences in-person and online, whilst also embracing digital to adapt their ways of working and find new ways of generating income.
We were delighted to see the sheer number of brilliant projects submitted, showing the incredible diversity of talent across the country’s cultural organisations, especially when so many organisations threw themselves into creating art, content and communities using digital technology they had never considered before the pandemic struck. The breadth, depth and number of projects submitted show how creativity and digital innovation so beautifully marry.' Tiina Hill, Senior Manager, Digital Culture Network
To see a full list of winners in all categories, visit the DCN website: