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BBC Academy and Arts Council England Announce New Digital Skill Sharing Initiative

09 September 2010

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The BBC and Arts Council England will today (Thursday 9 September) announce plans for an exciting joint initiative that will help develop digital media production skills in the arts sector.

The BBC Academy and Arts Council England partnership will run a series of master classes and workshops for arts organisations interested in developing their digital skills. The classes will cover skills including commissioning and producing film and web content, archiving and rights issues, digital marketing and communications, and internet TV.  The agreement will also provide opportunities for sharing expertise, knowledge, research and ideas.

The announcement will be made by Liz Forgan, Chair of Arts Council England at the Media Festival Arts event in London.  The joint initiative will see the BBC Academy working with the Arts Council to help arts organisations gain the production skills they need to create and distribute high quality arts content for digital platforms including online, mobile and internet protocol television*.

In her keynote address, Liz Forgan says, “Our partnership with the BBC is about working together to maximise the public value of the arts. It’s about pooling our expertise to help create the arts leaders of the future and to help arts organisations broaden their skills.

“This joint initiative will enable arts organisations to produce high quality digital arts content that will reach new audiences in new ways, to prolong the life and extend the reach of their exciting, excellent art.”

Mark Thompson, the BBC’s Director General added, “Arts organisations are increasingly using digital media to create and distribute content to the public that otherwise wouldn't be seen. The partnership with the Arts Council England will mean the BBC shares its knowledge, skills and expertise in content production bringing to life our digital public space.”

By the end of the year, the next steps in the new joint initiative will include a forum where artists, arts organisations and broadcasters can discuss the opportunities that digital presents, share best practice skills and identify the skills needed across the sector.

In 2009, the BBC and Arts Council England developed a three year Public Value Partnership, which aimed to increase the value, reach and impact of public investment between the publicly funded arts organisations and the BBC’s investment in arts.  The agreement also provided for using digital technologies to increase audience access to publicly-funded arts content through BBC services and platforms. The new BBC Academy partnership will extend this reach through other open platforms.

BBC Academy launched in December 2009, is the BBC’s centre for training and development.  It houses the Colleges of Journalism, Production, Leadership and the Centre of Technology. The Academy focuses on providing high-quality training to all BBC staff and on building external relationships to extend the BBC’s training resources to the wider industry, sharing as much of its training as possible for free. 

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For further information please contact:
Emma Russell, Media Relations Officer, Arts Council England, Tel: 020 7973 6890 or emma.russell@artscouncil.org.uk
Or Mary Collins, BBC Academy on 07769 670516 or at mary.collins@bbc.co.uk

Notes to editors

1. Arts Council England: Digital Opportunity is one of the Arts Council’s key priorities, with the aim of increasing the public value of, and access to, the arts through innovative partnerships with broadcasters and arts organisations.  The Arts Council has had long term partnerships with the BBC, Channel 4, Sky and Channel 5 which have resulted in a range of popular arts programming such as BalletHoo, Big Art and Our Boyz In Havana. The partnership with Channel 4 encompasses reality series on 4, arts documentaries on More4 and cross platform digital innovation initiatives. Arts Council is also a partner in NT Live, which sees National Theatre productions broadcast to cinemas world-wide. A 3 year partnership with Tate Modern has produced broadcast content for ITV and Channel 4 as well as online content for the Tate.

2. Arts Council England: works to get great art to everyone by championing, developing and investing in artistic experiences that enrich people’s lives. We support a range of artistic activities from theatre to music, literature to dance, photography to digital art, and carnival to crafts. Great art inspires us, brings us together and teaches us about ourselves, and the world around us. In short, it makes life better.  Between 2008 and 2011, we will invest £1.3 billion of public money from government and a further £0.3 billion from the National Lottery to create these experiences for as many people as possible across the country. 

www.artscouncil.org.uk

3. In March 2010, the BBC outlined its Strategy Review, which placed quality at the forefront of the corporation. One of the five key editorial priorities outlined in this review is: ‘Inspiring knowledge, music and culture: Enriching people’s lives—bringing knowledge, music and culture to new minds, eyes and ears’. Defining cultural output on the BBC will result in a stronger, combined contribution to arts, music, culture and knowledge.

The Strategy Review encourages partnerships with those arts organisations that have both complementary content and a shared set of public purposes - opening up the riches of their archives and highlighting opportunities for the public to discover and learn.  It says, “Working with the rest of the industry to provide training is a key partnership role for the BBC and part of its mission to act as a catalyst within public space.

Currently the BBC has partnerships with organisations that include The Arts Council, the UK Public Library Sector, the National Theatre, the Royal Opera House, the Manchester International Festival, and the Public Catalogue Foundation.  In Scotland, the BBC is in partnership with the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama and is working with the newly formed Creative Scotland (which brings together the Scottish Arts Council and Scottish Screen) to drive the development of the creative industries across the country.

4. You can download Dame Liz Forgan’s speech by clicking here: http://press.artscouncil.org.uk/imagelibrary/Default.aspx?SubjectID=182

* IPTV (Internet Protocol Television) delivers television programming to households via a broadband connection using Internet protocols. It offers key advantages over existing TV cable and satellite technologies.

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