Digital Cultures

Produced by Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums and Thinking Digital Arts

Formerly known as Bits2Blogs, Digital Cultures is an annual conference for anyone working in the arts and heritage sectors that is passionate about experimenting with new ideas and new technologies to inspire new audiences.

Digital Cultures will feature a range of thinkers from the sector sharing innovative approaches to public engagement. Talks will explore open data and reuse cultures, co-curation, mobile and gaming technologies, interdisciplinary collaboration, the power of play, and will investigate the impact of creative technologies and the rise of digital industries on arts and heritage.




Welcome and Introduction

John Coburn, Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums



Deconstructing Digital Collections at British Library

Nora McGregor - Digital Curator in the Digital Scholarship Department (British Library)

Libraries and archives have spent the last two decades creating, collecting and curating digital collections, but providing access to them in a way which still largely mimics the print world. We must ensure we use technology now for more than simply pointing our users to discrete digital items via online catalogues and instead exploit the vast opportunities which exploring digital collections at scale affords. In this talk I will share how the British Library is helping to provide access to our digital archives as an infinite pool of loosely held data from which new associations, innovations and creations can be wrung. 



(Title TBC)

John Bowers - Professor Of Creative Digital Practice (Culture Lab, Newcastle University)



Digital as another word for conversation

Annette Mees - Co-Director (Coney)

New digital tools have changed how we communicate with each other and the wider world. It offers new opportunities for cultural spaces and artists to open up conversations with their audiences.
Audience-centric design means we create for long-term relationships; what are the moments audiences first hears about us and how can they keep talking about us?  This kind of creation requires a multi-stage process that not only requires artists and makers to analyse and foresee what audiences are likely to connect to but also to test and develop ideas in dialogue with audiences.



The power of play: how to bring games into your institution and why you should

Martha Henson - (Freelance Digital Producer/Science Museum) 


What can we learn from a game that uses a sleeping bag as a controller? Does clicking a cookie constitute valid engagement, and is Candy Crush Saga evil or brilliant (or both)? Are games only about competition, shooting things in the face, being the fastest, or matching the most jewels? Or can they be all of this, and much much more.


Taking inspiration from the vibrant indie games sector, Martha will explore the potential benefits of more playful thinking in our institutions, whilst also looking at how to overcome some of the challenges that can make this difficult.






Welcome and Introduction

Are collaborations between the arts and digital the way forward, or the beginning of the end?

Suzy O’Hara, Thinking Digital

We have invited five international curators, working within various creative contexts, to open up a critical debate, investigating the current position and impact of creative technologies and digital industries on contemporary curatorial practice and the wider arts, heritage and cultural sectors.

Open to all, this session discusses real-world examples of collaboration between cultural and commercial digital technologies and sectors, beyond the rhetoric of 'convergence' - working practices dealing with both the tensions and the benefits.



Dominic Wilcox – Artist and Designer (Dominic  

James Rutherford – Designer and Web Developer (Creative Nucleus)  



Olga Mink – Director (Baltan Labs)




Alan Smith - Co-founder and Creative Director (Allenheads Contemporary Arts)


Irini Papadimitriou - Digital Programmes Manager (V&A) 


Dr Noel Lobley - Sound Curator and Ethnomusicologist (Pitt Rivers Museum, University of Oxford)


Marialaura Ghidini - Curator and Founder Director(Or-bits) 




Beryl Graham - Professor of New Media Art at the Faculty of Arts, Design and Media, University of Sunderland (CRUMB)


Panel/Open Floor Discussion


Closing Remarks

John Coburn 


Don't miss this excellent opportunity. Book your place now by clicking here.

For queries or further information please contact Cheryl McCarrick on 0191 2772312 or email