The first phase of the One by One project mapped the ways digital skills are currently supplied, developed and deployed in the UK museum sector and pinpointed current changes in the demand around these skills. The findings from this phase are documented in a recently published downloadable report.
The key findings are as follows:
- There are different practices in how digital responsibilities and skills are distributed, managed and shared across UK museums. Three models were found that exemplify the patterns of digital engagement, how organisational structures and digital responsibilities are evolving and what this means in practice for digital skills
- Digital is increasingly seen as part of everyone’s skill set and all roles have some kind of digital element. Digital skills are not in ready supply throughout the workforce. Using, translating and developing in-house skills is a dominant approach to supplying digital skills. This is being achieved through internal recruitment, informal development and, to a limited extent, formal training
- Digital is becoming professionalised in the museum as digital roles and responsibilities become standard practice. This denotes a shift from responsibility to digital as an ‘add-on’ to people’s roles towards dedicated digital roles and the democratisation of digital
- As digital becomes institutionalised, museums are restructuring and evolving. We have seen the introduction of new roles and departments, as well as changes to existing roles and a greater demand for digital skills. The distinction between specialist digital roles and other roles is becoming blurred
- Museums are exploring, learning and demanding new digital skills as they innovate and create with digital
- There is a deeper understanding by museums of the digital skills, knowledge and expertise needed as they reflect on the current and potential future of the museum
- Museums are engaging increasingly in evidence-based digital practice as data from web analytics and social media accounts are being reflected upon and used in decision-making processes
- Currently there is little evidence that museums are systematically assessing and identifying digital skills needs. The need and strategic importance of doing some kind of skills needs assessment or analysis to identify in-house digital skills was recognised, but the challenge has been finding the time
- There is little evidence of in-house formal and planned training around digital skills or digital literacy. However, informal and ad-hoc training to upskill and reskill staff and volunteers is being provided. Much development activity around digital is informal, with staff supporting each other and sharing skills
- There is evidence of an assumption in museums that ‘digital skills’ relate to a specific set of technical competencies. This can create a relationship with digital that is reactive, resulting in low digital literacy across the museum. However, importantly, there is also evidence showing that the museum sector has the potential and intention to adapt.