Digital Leap – Staying one step ahead of digitalisation

NEWS
24.11.2021

Dance Info Finland’s international Erasmus+ project Digital Leap strives to build up the digital competence of dance and circus artists. The objective is to inspire and increase understanding of the creative opportunities enabled by digitalisation.

Project participants will familiarise themselves with the planning and implementation of content intended for digital dissemination. © Arina Nagimova

Project participants will familiarise themselves with the planning and implementation of content intended for digital dissemination. © Arina Nagimova

There is a shift happening towards a digital and virtual presence. The interactions of daily life have become digital, homes are smart and there has been an increasing number of cultural and entertainment products available online. This transition has been accelerated by the increasing awareness of the climate emergency as well as the dramatic impact on the performing arts caused by the COVID-19 crisis. There is an urgent need to diversify the international operating models in performing arts.

In order to keep up with – or rather stay one step ahead of – digitalisation, artists need to be equipped for new ways of creating. Also programmers and presenters have to keep up with the development in order to support the artists in their work.

“We would like to see a general improvement in competence levels. It is in our common interest to help the sector gain a foothold in the larger forum of digital content”, says Katarina Lindholm, manager of international affairs at Dance Info Finland.

Lindholm believes that the project will be useful in many ways. Digitalisation can help reach a wider audience and provide additional means for achieving better competitiveness in the art market. Digital works of art can be appealing even to those who usually are not interested in seeing performances. Additionally, digitalisation can help solve accessibility issues around dance and circus.

Despite all the opportunities, bringing performances to digital platforms is challenging. First of all, choosing the right platform for the work is difficult and working with a new format can also mean compromising on the artistic vision in order to make it work on screen.

“After all, not everything can be posted online or converted into a digital format”, says Lindholm.

Common goal: developing the digital capacity of the arts sector

Is it even possible to connect with the audience by digital means? The project coordinators believe it is. To help artists deal with the challenges, the project organises altogether four international learning modules that approach the topic from different angles. The project invites experts from various fields – such as digital marketing and technology – to work as teachers and facilitators.

The modules will be organised in connection with relevant art festivals in the destination countries, enabling the participants to network and share the learning experiences directly with the target audiences. The idea is to produce learning materials based on the four modules and to disseminate them both nationally and internationally.

“It is important to learn about these things together: between artists and together with experts and facilitators”, Lindholm stresses.

The project is a learning opportunity for the coordinators, too. The project is a collaboration between eight expert organisations from seven countries –  Arts and Theatre Institute (CZ), CircusInfo Finland, Dance Info Finland, ARTCENA (FR), Lithuanian Dance Information Centre, Performing Arts Hub Norway, Institut Ramon Llull (ES) and Danscentrum Sverige.

The Digital Leap coordinators represent various fields of arts, but they all have a common goal: developing the digital capacity of the arts sector.