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The Digital Culture Award’s Digital Inclusion category celebrates innovative use of digital technology to improve access to creativity and culture for diverse and representative audiences.

The 2022 Judge in this category was Andrew Miller MBE, Cultural Consultant, Broadcaster and Disability Champion, and the Winner was chosen by public vote.

2022 Winner

Open Sky Theatre for ‘MicroPlays’

Open Sky Theatre was also chosen by Kanya King CBE to be this year’s Winners Winner.

In 2020, between lockdowns, Open Sky produced five short plays – ‘Microplays’ – written by diverse female playwrights, filmed to be shared digitally and aimed at audiences who are traditionally disengaged with theatre. But rather than relying on their audiences to visit them (not least because of the pandemic, but also because of traditional geographical and socio-economic barriers to attending theatrical performances), Open Sky shared these performances on the platforms most used by 18-25 year olds.

Open Sky’s ‘Stile’ Microplay

Inclusion was at the heart of their artistic strategy, and Open Sky put their performances directly in their audiences’ pockets by distributing them for free via social media. Crucially, this was not a case of simply filming performances and sharing them on social media channels: every performance was optimised and created especially for the relevant platform. This meant creating shorter content to fit in with the typical content and attention span, and making sure the size and crop of each piece of content was right for Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or YouTube.

The Digital Culture Awards gave us the credibility and the confidence to move in new exciting directions.

Open Sky, 2022 Digital Inclusion Winner

Open Sky also made sure their diverse audiences were represented by the creatives they were watching on screen, and made a conscious effort to employ a truly diverse cast and crew, across gender, sexuality, socio-economic background and ethnicity.

How to ensure you have inclusion at the heart of your work like Open Sky:

  • Think about your cast and crew as well as your audiences. Diversity and inclusion best practice needs to be modelled from within. Which groups of people are not represented in your creative teams and how can you remedy this? Can you increase representation among marginalised or underrepresented groups in your in-house team and freelance workforce?
  • Match the content to the platform and look at how your audiences are consuming that content. If you know your audiences are only watching the first three seconds of your videos, how can you make them continue watching for the rest of the video?
  • If your content is designed to be consumed on a mobile phone screen, are you maximising the space? For example, sharing a YouTube video natively on Facebook does not take up as much space on the screen as if the video is square. Whereas sharing a square video on Instagram stories could take up more of the screen if it were shared in 1080×1920 ratio.

2022 Shortlist

2022 Longlist

  • Cornwall Museums Partnership – Audio Archives
  • DanceEast – DanceEast’s Digital DanceHouse: widening access to high-quality dance for all
  • Furtherfield – The People’s Park Plinth
  • Music Masters – Friday Live! – A creative response to lockdown from Music Masters
  • Scenesaver – Scenesaver
  • Surface Area Dance Theatre – SUBPAC, Choreographic Explorations and the Feeling of Sound

Want to learn how your organisation can champion digital inclusivity?

Our network of Tech Champions can help.

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Andrew Miller MBE
Cultural Consultant, Broadcaster and Disability Champion

Transforming perceptions throughout his 35 year career in the creative industries, Andrew is recognised as one of the UK’s most influential disability advocates with extensive experience of the arts, film and broadcast sectors.

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