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The Digital Culture Awards Emerging Digital Leader category celebrates an individual at any point in their career or of any skill levels, who is using digital technology or tools to drive meaningful and long-term change, either on their own projects or within an organisation. The 2022 Judge for this category was Clore Leadership Executive Director, Hilary Carty.

2022 Winner

Michael Hardy – Digital Engagement Curator, Barnsley Museums

By embedding digital processes across the Barnsley Museums team, the museums’ first ‘Digital Engagement Curator’, Michael Hardy, encouraged experimentation with playful content and tone of voice across their social media channels. By fitting content into people’s daily routines and listening and responding to what the audience are saying, Barnsley Museums’ content has reached nearly 17million people over the past 18 months.

Barnsley Museums go digital with online content video

Michael’s experiments with content and tone have marked a shift in the way the museums use their social channels, with a more conversational output ensuring more people get involved in sharing and interacting.

What can you learn from Michael’s digital journey at Barnsley Museums?

  • “It’s more than okay to be fun and informative at the same time”, says Michael. This is a great starting point for organisations who feel trapped by the prestige of their brand or artform. There’s nothing wrong with playing playful, while maintaining good standards of historical accuracy, or posting something factual.
  • Think about who your audience is and what you want them to do. It’s likely only a tiny percentage of these people will be physical audience members or in-person attendees. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t invest in high quality, engaging content to entice people to engage with your digital platforms.
  • If you want to experiment with your tone of voice on your social channels, try building up gradually. There will be things your audience love about your channels (which is why they follow you!), so make sure you look at what’s working well before sharing something a bit different from time to time to see how it performs. You might need to persist over a few months to see how your audiences’ behaviours shift and adapt, and see which new followers you pick up along the way!

Winning an award at the first ever Digital Culture Awards highlighted the digital content that we have been making at Barnsley Museums, and how it has resonated with our audiences and across the sector.

Michael Hardy, 2022 Digital Ambassador Winner

2022 Shortlist

2022 Longlist

  • Daniel Alicandro – Head of Digital, English National Ballet
  • Simon Baker – Technical Director and Digital Producer, Wise Children
  • Joanne Karcheva – Communications Director, Manchester Collective
  • Richard Loftus – Director of Sales and Marketing, B:Music Ltd
  • Hayley Pepler – Head of Content and Digital Broadcast, Coventry City of Culture Trust
  • Maxime Pons Webster – Live Screening Producer, The Living Knowledge Network, the British Library
  • Kenneth Tindall – Artistic Director of Digital, Northern Ballet

Want to power up your digital leadership? Our network of Tech Champions can help.

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