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RLUK’s Digital Shift Forum

Geographical origins of delegates registered for the first DSF seminar in October.


Digital creativity and the future of storytelling – Damian Murphy, Professor in Sound and Music Computing at AudioLab, University of York

** At 06:00 Damian is referring to colleagues from the Department of Psychology and not Archaeology as stated.

The increasingly ubiquitous nature of digital technology and data in our society has delivered a transformation in both our understanding and our practice of creativity – and the role that this digital technology holds – in its everyday realisation. We are moving to a point where digital technology integrates with and underpins many aspects of our lives and is no longer a novelty in and of itself. Digital Creativity therefore becomes something that provides a foundation to both support and enhance many forms of research and practice, as well as existing as an area of research in its own right, with no perceived barrier between the two.

This talk considers digital creativity in the context of future storytelling and cases studies that have emerged from the work of the XR Stories creative clusters R&D partnership project. From this we will consider what changes in our research culture might be demanded to ensure the wider benefit from the opportunities that digital creativity brings. How might we build a wider audience of digitally creative natives who are better able to embrace such opportunities? The impact across many aspects of our society, including the creative and cultural sectors, industry and community, has the potential to be significant.

Access the slides to this talk


Data and information for sustainable living and the future – Gobinda Chowdhury, Professor of Information Science, University of Strathclyde

Research shows that creation, management and sharing of relevant data and information form the foundation of success in achieving sustainable development in every field. However, Information Poverty remains a critical issue for societies today. Information poverty can be caused by a number of factors ranging from lack of access to ICTs to lack of basic digital skills, and poor information and data literacy. Over 10% of the UK population don’t have access to internet or ICT; 28% of people aged 65 are offline; 4.3 million people in UK do not have any basic digital skills, and 11.3 million people have very few basic digital skills. Recent reports on data misuse, misinformation and infodemics present clear evidences of potential risks and damages to individuals and society.

This talk touches upon some of these key points highlighting the challenges posed by data and information poverty in everyday life and society. While pointing towards some potential solutions for improving data and information access and use, the speaker will argue that such solutions can only be achieved through concerted efforts of multiple stakeholders, researchers and professionals in different domains.

Access the slides from this talk 


Managing digital in a time of accelerating change – John Stack, Digital Director, Science Museum Group

Museums, galleries, libraries and archives operate at their touch points with their audiences. Historically, the museum experience has begun and ended with the entry and exit of a physical visit. In the digital age, digital channels are a component of all visits, and increasingly visits are digital-only experiences.

Digital provides galleries, libraries, archives and museums, new ways to fulfil their missions through increased reach, enhanced experiences and deeper engagement. However, the digital landscape and audience behaviour continues to evolve rapidly presenting the challenge of how to keep up with ever-changing digital technologies and audience expectations. This talk will explore the ways in which digital might be deployed to achieve the right mix of sustainable long-term solutions, and experiments and exploration of emerging technologies.


Building digital skills and appetite for now and the future – Tiina Hill, Senior Manager, and James Akers, Tech Champion for Data Analytics and Insight, Digital Culture Network, Arts Council England

The pandemic as a catalyst for change or a temporary digital fix? Tiina and James offer an overview of emerging trends before and after lockdown in how the arts cultural sector is shifting to working more digitally and challenges around digital integration and transformation. They provide an outline of the Digital Culture Network, where it started from, and the work of its team of 9 specialist “on the ground” Tech Champions in building digital skills and capacity across the sector. They reflect on the demand for its support offer, provide insights and examples from working with people across the sector, and outline of Arts Council England’s 10 Year Strategy in supporting sector survival and resilience.


Managing the digital dystopia – Claire Warwick, Professor of Digital Humanities, Durham University

Digital is in danger of acquiring a bad rep. Over the last few months unprecedented numbers of people have become accustomed to living and working online, and not all of them enjoy it. They have found during the pandemic, the experience of interaction online, whether with other people, or with information is very different from what we do in person. And this experience is seldom compared favourably to physical, ‘real’ interaction. Thanks to the A level algorithm, all algorithms have come to be regarded with massive scepticism, to the extent that some local authorities have abandoned their use in welfare management. Social media is increasingly associated with deadly misinformation and hate speech, leading to boycotts by users, advertisers and even celebrities, bloggers and YouTubers. Yet, as librarians and information professionals know very well, digital delivery is ideal for certain types of information, such as journal articles or digital images of rare manuscripts. Digital allows us to interact with such materials in new and exciting ways. But how should we proceed, in an environment where our users may increasingly regard digital interaction and computational techniques with scepticism or even hostility? Claire explores some of these questions, based on the research she has done on the way that we interact with digital and physical information environments, especially in terms of emotion and affect.


Pandemic effects and collection directions – Lorcan Dempsey, Vice President and Chief Strategist, OCLC

Beyond the scramble of the current situation, universities will be looking at long term pandemic effects. This clearly has implications for libraries, as they cleave more closely to university strategies. This presentation  looks at some pandemic effects, and considers how it will likely accelerate some collection directions already evident. It also emphasised two important collection imperatives – for optimisation and for pluralisation. In this talk Lorcan explores how different national systemic characteristics play into developments, sketching differences between UKI and the US.