Improve your digital skills, Arts Council England chief urges culture charities

In his introduction to ACE's latest accounts, Darren Henley says the sector must 'get ahead of the game'

The chief executive of Arts Council England has called on culture organisations to improve their digital skills.

In his introduction to the grant-maker’s latest set of accounts, Darren Henley says the sector needs to "get ahead of the game".

He says: "In general the sector still needs better digital skills, along with access to resources, so that we can free the talent we have.

"We need to get ahead of the game and show how technology can be used to thrill and inform audiences."

Henley gives some examples of how the Arts Council is boosting technology in the culture sector, including by forming three innovation teams covering enterprise and innovation, audience insight and innovation, and arts, technology and innovation.

The grant-maker has also set up a Digital Culture Network with a team of nine new "tech champions" in each of its offices across England, says Henley.

They will encourage and assist the arts and culture sector to become better equipped to embrace the benefits of technology so they can achieve their digital ambitions, he says.

"They will broker partnerships and opportunities with the tech sector, share best practice and provide signposting and practical on-the-ground support with digital expertise," Henley adds.

Sir Nicholas Serota, chair of Arts Council England, also warns in the accounts that "the continuing debate about our relationship with Europe and our place in the world has inevitable implications for the international activity and profile of our arts and cultural organisations".

The accounts show that Arts Council England handed out £600m in grants to arts and culture organisations last year.

This included £467m that was handed out as part of grant-in-aid funding, with 1,477 projects benefiting.

Lottery money given out by the organisation was worth roughly £133m and went to 4,423 organisations.

This means that a total of £600m was given by the Arts Council to 5,900 organisations, with an average of £9.8m per project.

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