Why do we fail digitally? Developing Solutions for Transforming the Cultural Sector

Seminar at the Munch Museum on November 30, 2018.

Why does the cultural sector lack behind in the global race of digitization? Join our seminar at the Munch Museum to find out. In the process of building a new museum, the Munch Museum has developed new digital production models, and we wish to share our insights and experiences. We have invited inspiring keynote speakers of international format to address pressing challenges for museums, publishers and other cultural actors in the digital world. Chris Michaels (Digital Director at London’s National Gallery), Tonya Nelson (Director of Museums and Cultural Programmes at University College London), and Ugo Bacchella (Director of Fitzcarraldo Foundation and advisor to Frankfurt Book Fair), will share their experiences and answer your questions. Additional speakers from a broad range of institutions will pitch challenges that we will solve together in group work sessions. Let us make the digital transformation of the cultural sector a success story.

Click here to register for the seminar.

Klikk her for informasjon om seminaret på norsk.

Detailed description of the seminar

Digitization continues to affect and reshape every aspect of human (and non-human) existence. This also – and perhaps especially – regards how we consume culture. The disciplines of music, film and TV have already undergone encompassing and, for the most part, successful transformations into digital models of production, distribution and sale. In comparison, classical cultural heritage institutions like museums and galleries as well as the literary sector are lacking behind the technological development. While the young generations in societies consume culture primarily digitally, the offers of museums, heritage sites and book shops remain widely analogue. The reason often named for this discrepancy is the lack of resources for buying costly digital technology, but also missing digital competencies and knowledge among cultural institutions is an important factor.

The goal of this seminar is to address challenges and develop solutions which enable cultural institutions to thrive and compete in the digital world. Our speakers and guests come from the museum sector, cultural network institutions as well as the literary field, and we encourage every attendant to actively contribute to the seminar by sharing their knowledge and experiences. Through keynote presentations, challenge pitches and group work, we will address the following challenges:

  • Which new forms of production, partnership and funding and which internal structures are needed to successfully employ digital technology to mediate cultural content?
  • Which competencies and fields of expertise are required to commission products in cooperation with external digital experts such as tech companies, designers or digital artists?
  • How can digital technology contribute to helping cultural institutions becoming more relevant actors within their local and global communities?
  • How can technologies like AI, AR, VR and video game design change, enrich and intensify the experience of cultural heritage objects? How must digitized content be mediated and curated in order to reach out to larger audiences and potential new target groups; and what happens to the analogue original when being digitally reproduced?


09:45Coffee and registration

10:00 Stein Olav Henrichsen (director, Munch Museum): Welcome speech

10:15 Gerd Elise Mørland (director, dep. Learning and Education, Munch Museum): Seminar Introduction

10:30 Tonya Nelson (UCL Culture): Keynote presentation. Q&A at 11:00. How do we solve the digital challenges of the cultural sector? Tonya will speak about her experience with working on the British strategy paper “Culture is Digital” and map out cultural institutions’ main challenges.

11:15 Coffee break

11:30Challenge Pitches:
- Munch Museum
- Ståle Stenslie (Kulturtanken)

12:00Group work I


13:45Ugo Bacchella (Fitzcarraldo Foundation): Keynote presentation. Q&A at 14:15. We have invited Ugo to share his experience as an advisor to the Frankfurt Book Fair and to talk about innovation barriers on a European level.

14:30Challenge Pitches: - Beatrice Stauffer (TheArtsPlus, Frankfurt Book Fair) - Anders Sundnes Løvlie (GIFT)

15:00Group work II

Chris Michaels (The National Gallery, London): Keynote presentation. Q&A at 16:30. Chris will talk about the process of producing digital strategies for cultural institutions: what should one consider?

16:45Maren Ørstavik (Periskop): Presentation and recap

17:15 Goodbye

About the keynote speakers

Tonya Nelson (UCL Culture)

As Director of Museums and Cultural Programmes, Tonya Nelson am responsible for UCL’s public museums as well as a number of specialist collections used for university teaching and research. It is her job to ensure that UCL’s world class collection of over 300,000 painting, artefacts and specimens are used to advance UCL’s teaching, research and public engagement objectives. She has been working in the museums sector for over 10 years in various leadership roles. She was formerly Manager of the Petrie Museum at UCL where she led a number of projects exploring the use of new digital technologies in museums and the role of museums in cultural diplomacy. Prior to entering the cultural sector, she was a corporate lawyer and management consultant in Washington, DC.

Ugo Bacchella (Fitzcarraldo Foundation)

Ugo Bacchella, Co-founder, President and Head of the Training Department of Fitzcarraldo, an independent foundation active internationally in research, consultancy, training for arts management and cultural policies and economics. Founder of ArtLab – the most inspiring and powerful, cross sectorial, independent platform in Italy, dedicated to innovating practices and policies in and through arts and culture – , has been invited as a trainer and speaker in more than 20 countries. Consultant and advisor for public institutions, national and international foundations and cultural organizations on strategic development, feasibility studies, project development . His main interest is to bridging business world, civil society, artists, public authorities, cultural organizations and industries in order to boost the full potential of art and culture in human development.

Chris Michaels (National Gallery, London)

Chris Michaels is Director of Digital, Communications and Technology at the National Gallery, London where he sits on their Executive Committee. At the Gallery, his Directorate has responsibilities for digital services, membership and ticketing, creative, IT and marketing, press and public affairs. Before he joined the Gallery, he was Head of Digital & Publishing at the British Museum, where he founded their digital department and created their digital strategy. He acts as an advisor to the Humboldt Forum, a new institution being built in Berlin. He has acted as advisor to museums in Qatar and Singapore. Before entering the world of Museums, he was CEO of educational start-up Mindshapes. He has led digital functions in TV, publishing and advertising. He has a PHD from the University of Bristol. Chris lives in North London.