Digital Culture Awards promotional images in pink with pale blue detail.

About Tech Champions’ Choice

The Tech Champions’ Choice award recognises outstanding commitment to digital skills development or implementation of digital technology to drive change within an organisation or by an individual.

This Digital Culture Awards category allows us to celebrate organisations and individuals who’ve approached the Digital Culture Network for support and who ware committed to harnessing the power of digital technology and utilising it to better engage with and understand their audiences, streamline their processes and find opportunities for growth. We want to share their stories so they can inspire and facilitate others on their digital journeys.

Each candidate is nominated by one – or more – of our Tech Champions, for their commitment to digital growth.

The Winner

LeftCoast – Nominated for their agile approach to utilising digital technology to share their mission

An ariel view of hundreds of festival goers lining a street. They watch a parade of performers, led by a red van and white vehicle which has been altered to resemble a spaceship.
Credit: Garry Cook

LeftCoast delivers highly engaging and socially useful arts and cultural projects in Blackpool, co-producing with artists and neighbourhood communities across the town. They’ve engaged with the Digital Culture Network across several areas, including SEO, their website and most notably to develop their digital content skills. In the past 18 months, LeftCoast have invested in their digital development by creating a new Digital Communications and Data Coordinator role. Since being in the role, Abigail has led an overhaul of their social media output, executed the launch of a new brand, and launched a new website to showcase their projects, displaying the growth of their digital storytelling skills. The small team is impressively agile, unified in their decision making, and showed great commitment to embracing digital for innovation well before their interactions with the Digital Culture Network team.

The Shortlist

Blast Theory

Nominated for their bold approach to organisation-wide digital development

Credit: A Cluster Of 17 Cases (2018) by Blast Theory

Blast Theory make interactive art to explore social and political questions. Led by Matt Adams, Ju Row Farr and Nick Tandavanitj, the group draw on popular culture and new technologies to make performances, games, films, apps and installations. Blast Theory have always embedded cutting-edge technology in their work, but they came to the DCN for support with their communication strategy – with a focus on strengthening data and insights in order to reach and connect with their global audience. They recognise the importance of a holistic view of audience and engagement data for building new campaigns and have worked to bring together data from their website, socials and digital campaigns using a new data visualisation platform. Jonny Goode, Communications Manager, and the team show great ambition for digital growth and aren’t afraid to make bold decisions as a part of their journey. Learn more about Blast Theory.

Josie Whitehead

Nominated for her commitment to digital skills development to preserve her legacy and connect with her target audience

A screenshot of a zoom call between Josie Whitehead and students in Buenos Aires.
Credit: Josie Whitehead

Following a long career as a teacher, Josie discovered her love for writing poetry well into retirement, after a group of young students from a school she was volunteering at encouraged her to write them something. She approached the Digital Culture Network for support to understand how to track the most popular content on her website and where her audiences were, so she could use that information to inform future decisions and see which countries use her resources to learn English (there are over 1,000 poems on her website and every single one has been added herself with audio recordings!). What is remarkable about Josie is that she’s acutely aware of her legacy and how digital tools and channels can help, and every decision she makes about her website is driven by an understanding of her international audience. Learn more about Josie.

The Longlist

Aakash Odedra Company

Nominated for their ongoing dedication to organisational digital development

A woman is swirling with her arms outstretched. She is dancing amongst a swirl of papers.
Credit: Angela Grabowska

Aakash Odedra Company is an international touring dance company based in Leicester, who are committed to improving the local environment by removing barriers to dance education opportunities. They began their journey with the Digital Culture Network through a website audit, with follow-up support for developing a digital strategy and running social media ads. They are taking a holistic approach to utilising digital tools across their organisation, developing their online presence and using data to increase ticket bookings, and are committed to trying new things and learning from their experience. Learn more about Aakash Odedra Company.

Bristol Old Vic

Nominated for their commitment to digital investment and innovation

We are in a cinema, seated behind two people eating popcorn. On screen is a woman with long hair singing, flanked by 2 dancers in wild costumes.
Credit: Bristol Old Vic

Bristol Old Vic is the oldest continuously working theatre in the English-speaking world, with a mission to create pioneering theatre in partnership with its local community. They came to the DCN for support as they developed their ‘live to digital’ film offering, and were specifically looking to deepen audience engagement, improve the quality of filmed theatre productions and discover new online audiences by building their brand. In recent years Bristol Old Vic has made a considerable investment in digital innovation, creating a new digital team within the producing department whilst strengthening the infrastructure across the rest of the organisation. This has allowed them to scale up their direct-to-consumer live broadcast and on demand offer, as well as build a network of global partnerships that have seen films from Bristol Old Vic On Screen premiere on mainstream TV, on subscription platforms and into the international education market. Not only is this activity now informing programming decisions and helping them predict future audience behavior, but it’s information which they are making publicly available to help serve others across the sector. Learn more about Bristol Old Vic.


Nominated for their data and mission-led approach to an innovative new ticketing scheme

The home of Contact in Manchester. A large red brick building, with four looming towers which resemble turrets. The building looks like a mix between an old factory and a castle.
Credit: Drew Forsyth

Contact is a national theatre and arts venue in Manchester which places young people at the decision-making heart of everything they do. They approached the Digital Culture Network for support integrating a CRM with their new website. The project focused on improving user experience across their website and booking paths and developing a greater understanding of their user base. This led to a data-driven decision to launch a new ticketing scheme called ‘The Pinch’ ticket – a concession ticket available to anyone who is feeling ‘the pinch’, without proof of concession. It’s an innovative take on the ‘pay what you feel model’ – still placing value on the work they produce whilst listening to the needs of their audience – and required an organisational commitment to digital technology and data-led thinking to be realised. Learn more about Contact.

Coldharbour Mill

Nominated for their dedication to embracing technology to develop a relevant and sustainable future

A wool production factory. Large metal machines dominate the background. In the forefront, hundreds of colour wool scraps and hung over a thin pipe creating a rainbow of wool.
Credit: Coldharbour Mill

Coldharbour Mill is a visitor attraction in Devon producing pure woollen yarn and cloth using traditional methods and who strive for innovation in their approach to developing a relevant and sustainable future. They approached the Digital Culture Network for support as they launched their new retail website to market these products to an online audience. They strive to present their products in an attractive but practical way, whilst also putting the heritage story behind their product at the forefront. Their website is still in its early days but it – and the team behind it – displays fantastic ambition to use best-in-class technology platforms to deliver a compelling eCommerce experience. Learn more about Coldharbour Mill.

The Customs House

Nominated for their future-focused approach to growing their website audience through PPC advertising

We are behind the sound desk in the wings of a theatre. One stage a break dancing performance is taking place.
Credit: The Customs House

The Customs House venue serves the residents of South Tyneside and beyond with a varied programme of live performance, cinema, visual arts and projects for children and young people. They approached the Digital Culture Network for support to reinstate their deactivated Google Ads account – a complex issue, but one which was resolved within a few weeks. Following that, they have demonstrated a real commitment to implementing advice for utilising Google Ads to increase the reach of their website – showing huge growth over just a few months. Search engine marketing work requires a dedication to reviewing performance and adjusting tactics regularly, and Paul and the team didn’t shy away from that commitment. Learn more about The Customs House.

Maddie Spear, the Association of Festival Organisers

Nominated for her consistent commitment to using digital tools to support and engage their members

A screenshot of a virtual conference screen. Maddie, a woman with long dark hair and glasses, is presenting next to the slide showing the conference agenda.
Credit: Maddie Spear.

The Association of Festival Organisers (AFO) is a membership group of festival and event managers which exists to support members and as a voice for the festival and events industry to government, local authorities, and other groups. Maddie Spear – AFO Marketing Manager – has had many touchpoints with the Digital Culture Network team including advice on SEO, digital marketing strategy and most recently discussing their email marketing. Maddie consistently puts advice into action and is always searching for new ways to centre digital tools and platforms in her work to grow, support and engage with the AFO membership base. Maddie is a brilliant representation of a ‘growth mindset’ when it comes to digital. Learn more about the Association of Festival Organisers.

Northern Print

Nominated for their data-minded approach to streamlining their digital processes

A man and women in a printing studio are leaning over a large table. There are printing materials on the table. They are working on a piece together, using blue ink.
Credit: Northern Print

Northern Print is a studio, gallery and education space dedicated to printmaking in the North East of England, supporting people to see, make and enjoy printmaking at every stage of life. Another nominee with repeat interactions across specialisms, they’re committed to capturing useful and relevant data, and using it to revamp their eCommerce pages and social media. They’ve made a particular push to streamline their digital processes and have made great strides with the complex integration of Google Analytics 4 to their Shopify site. They’re always receptive to new ideas and excited to find new ways to speak to their audience. Learn more about Northern Print.

Surrey Libraries

Nominated for their proactive and committed approach to unifying their social media output

A young person in a library. They hold a book up to their face, and the book cover features a half face. The book is positioned over half of their face, giving the illusion that the book and person are one and the same.
Credit: Dorking Library

Surrey Libraries is an umbrella organisation for the 52 libraries managed by Surrey Country Council. They got in touch with the Digital Culture Network to discuss what they could do to unify their social media channels and output and to build a toolkit and strategy for use across all their members. They’ve approached this huge undertaking proactively and with excitement, showing a commitment to growing and reinforcing their digital skills to inform and empower their entire social media workforce. They are at the beginning of this journey but show a huge willingness to learn and try new things. Learn more about Surrey Libraries.

Want to develop your digital ambitions?

The Digital Culture Network can help! Our digital experts can provide free 1-2-1 support to all creative and cultural individuals and organisations who are in receipt of, or eligible for, Arts Council England funding. If you need help with a specific issue or would just like to chat about your digital ambitions, please get in touch.

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Promotional image featuring the Digital Culture Awards, Arts Council and Digital Culture Network logos.