Holding image

The Shrinking Gap Between Digital and Physical in Arts and Culture

I recently had a fascinating conversation with a friend in marketing at a contemporary art gallery.

And it got me thinking more broadly about the world of arts and culture…

Now the dust has settled following Covid, emerging from the rubble is a strong desire and excitement for real-life experiences again.

Whether it’s music, art, theatre or heritage – there is a deep yearning to become a part of it, in person, to really feel it.

So what now for digital in this sector?

Will it be shelved and the lessons of the pandemic forgotten?

Is there a digital experience that can challenge the physical? Or at least complement it?

I asked these questions to my LinkedIn network, and the results speak volumes. Whilst the general consensus is that there isn’t a substitute for tangible and visceral real-life experiences, there is a digital pool of opportunity for the arts and culture sector, and now is the time to dive in. 

Digital AND Physical is the way to win 

We refer to this as a hybrid approach, and pre-pandemic those who embraced digital had a distinct advantage going forward. But this shift has been hugely accelerated in the so-called “new normal”. And those who disregard the value of digital now risk becoming almost archaic in comparison. 

The opportunities for a hybrid approach are endless. 

But it requires an openness and willingness to realise digital for what it’s worth, and it’s our job to help educate and inspire by sharing the stories of those who have managed it so successfully. 

Digital can enhance the physical experience

Digital can do what the physical cannot with more ways to participate, both from a user and creator point of view. An example of this would be an augmented virtual tour for an art gallery, which allows users to engage with videos of artists explaining their work – providing more context and creating a stronger connection with the audience; plus this is an experience accessible to a much wider and diverse audience online, regardless of geography or demographics. 

Digital relationships should be maintained 

Whether through Zoom or an online mailing list, webinars or digital exhibitions – the pandemic allowed those in arts and culture to connect with and engage more people online, forging new relationships and extending their brand reach as a result. To shelve the activities which led to these relationships now, would be a step backwards and will undoubtedly lead to those audiences finding competitor brands willing to fulfil their new expectations in 2022. 

What are your thoughts on this? You can tell us on LinkedIn.

Join our community 

We’re building a community within arts and culture, connecting the inspiring minds from the sector to ponder the digital opportunities and challenges upon us and share stories of digital transformation.

Join our newsletter to get involved.

Hero Photo by Josh Liu on Unsplash.