The gap in museum digital literacy


The One by One project aims to address the lack of digital literacy and skills within museums and other arts and heritage organisations, highlighted in numerous recent studies and reports as a key major obstacle towards arts and heritage organisations achieving their digital ambitions. For example:

‘Respondents to our consultation highlighted that digital skills are a key area of weakness for many cultural organisations.’ – (Culture is Digital Report 2018, DCMS, p.32.)

Despite continued increases in how important and impactful digital is becoming for business models, this is still an area where the majority of organisations feel that they only have basic skills compared to their peers (55 percent claiming basic skills).’ –  (Digital Culture Survey 2017, Nesta and Arts Council England, p.6.)

‘Building digital skills has been identified by Arts Council England as a priority, with 37% of its sectors’ organisations saying that a lack of capability and knowledge was a major barrier to achieving their digital aspirations.‘ – (Tailored Review of Arts Council England 2017, UK Government, p.33, April 2017).

‘Significant Challenges Impeding Technology Adoption in Museums: Improving Digital Literacy of Museum Professionals.’ – (NMC Horizon Report 2015 Museum Edition, p.24)

‘Digital literacy needs to be achieved across the board, especially in the context of museum leadership.’ – (NMC Horizon Report 2015 Museum Edition, p.24)

‘Skills gaps are holding some organisations back…what is more, almost a quarter feel hindered by a lack of understanding of what digital technologies can do for their organisation.’ – (Enriching Britain: Culture, Creativity and Growth, The 2015 Report by the Warwick Commission on the Future of Cultural Value, p.59)

However whilst these and other studies/reports identify the digital skills and literacy gap, none of them go onto define neither what these skills are nor what the most effective and sustainable interventions to realise these could be. This represents an important additional ‘capacity gap’ that the One by One project aims to fill. We explain more in our article about the thinking behind the project.