Arts Alive Cymru
Arts Alive Cymru is an educational arts charity based in Crickhowell Powys.
Working with professional artists, it uses art to engage, inspire and enhance quality of life for the people of its local rural communities – particularly young people and vulnerable adults – through participation in the arts.
They’ll be exploring how technology can be used to enable artists to create and present work to audiences digitally in remote locations with little or no connectivity.
Rebecca Spooner talked us through the project in a bit more detail:
Here in the Black Mountains and Beacons National Park, we work with a lot of talented artists creating site-specific work in beautiful, remote places. The mountains – although a real source of inspiration for our artists – provide a challenge for us. In rural areas, it’s harder to get the work seen by a wider audience, and online solutions are made trickier by a lack of broadband or WiFi connectivity. So, we’re setting out to explore the possibility of live-streaming to ticket-based venues, festivals or online audiences using satellite broadband technology to get round the problem.
We’re working in a delicate ecological situation here at the National Park, and so our solution needs as little impact on the local environment as possible. Rather than looking at satellite technology delivered on the back of a truck, we’re exploring how we can adapt subtle, compact, backpack-sized equipment to deliver what we need, and make sure we’re offering a consistent, quality audience experience.
exploring technology in remote locations
Has this process shaped or changed your relationship with digital technology?
The process has certainly made us think more creatively about digital than we ever have before. It’s also made us much more aware of what’s possible. Our research has really opened our eyes to the fact that artists in the area are already working with digital technology in a really broad and interesting variety of ways; adapting it to their own uses. It’s opened up a lot of ideas for future long-term digital projects.
What impact do you think this project could have on your organisation?
This project will really change how we communicate with our audiences, but the real impact will be the way it will move us forward to a point where digital sits at the core of what we do; integrated in every project and every programme. A key part of this project is the potential to employ a freelancer digital manager, which will make a huge contribution to embedding digital as a way of thinking into our organisation.
Has the innovation process shaped or changed your understanding of the problem?
Very much so. We set out with an assumption that the project was about bringing audiences to remote locations to see the work, but as the project has moved forward we’ve realised that this isn’t what we need. Working in such an ecologically sensitive area means accommodating large numbers of visitors just isn’t feasible. The real question has developed around how we get the work out to those audiences – and how we make that a high quality, meaningful and exclusive experience for people viewing it online. The process has allowed us to research how we do that, and talking to creative digital producers has really helped us to shape what we’re trying to achieve.