This month’s IPR visit to Bookmachine’s joint event with Frankfurt Book Fair’s ArtsPlus was written almost like a Christmas list of all of my favourite things: technology, the creative sector, and museums! As IPR License’s resident techie and museum nerd, I felt this event was custom made for me.
Back at the charming Library on St Martin’s Lane, we settled in to hear a great panel including Alex Flowers from the V&A, Fiona Romeo from Art UK, and Frankfurt’s own Holger Volland. The main theme of the event looked at how the museum industry has digitised with the help of digital pioneers such as Alex and Fiona, and how publishers, as well as other creative sectors, can incorporate technology for creativity. Parts of the discussion struck a chord with the audience – especially Alex’s observation that the digital sector is seen as a place to troubleshoot your printer problems, instead of as a thriving creative sector!
Numerous digital teams co-existed at the V&A for years, with Alex uniting them together. Initial technological innovation focused on the digitisation of museum archives and databases, but Alex found platform maintenance far outweighed the returns on investment from rights deals. Fiona echoed this, and felt that museum digitisation should start first and foremost within processes, using third party platforms for ticketing and other time-consuming tasks.
Fiona’s background expanded beyond museums and in to other creative sectors. Theatre and dance have some of the most exciting digital innovation, but funding bodies and processes are too fractured to allow better cross-pollination of the arts and tech. Perhaps the Government’s announcement this week to merge Digital with the Department of Culture, Media, and Sport, may mean better integration of technology and the creative sector.
The Digital/Creative intersection has always been perceived as costly and something to fear with job automation and AI. Within the museum sector, they realised that digital opened the museum up to more diverse audiences than those who have visited the museum. This converted the museum industry to take a more digital-first approach.
By the end of the event I was bursting to spread the gospel of IPR. The points around platform maintenance outweighing the cost of rights deals seems like a huge bottleneck for the Rights industry, and one that IPR completely removes. We maintain the platform, we do all of the rights and title hosting. The gap between between technology and the arts is increasingly closing and for me, it’s exciting to be at the heart of it.
Kavya Kaushik is the Digital Operations Executive at IPR