Objective: develop and deliver on a state-wide Digital Access Plan for our irreplaceable cultural collections – building on the work of those institutions that are already engaged in this work and helping to ensure that these collections are therefore accessible to all South Australians and the world. Digital platforms provide a window to the world for South Australia’s unique cultural heritage and we must take advantage of this opportunity to showcase ourselves.

Recommendation and response

Accepted – A feasibility study will be undertaken to assess the viability of a digitisation business to deliver services across the state.

A Digital Access Consultative Group (DACG) was formed in 2020, comprising members of key cultural heritage and art collecting organisations. This group developed principles to guide expansion of public digital access and preservation of South Australia’s cultural collections. They contributed to a feasibility study led by Artlab, around providing a collaborative digitisation service, which has informed a full business case into the development of this service. A full business case has been delivered is being considered by government.

As key stakeholders, the DACG has also endorsed the Arts and Culture Digital Access Plan for South Australia and has been instrumental in the development of a collaborative digital access pilot, highlighting the treasures of South Australia’s collections.

Government’s response to this recommendation has been implemented. Work based on the outcomes of this recommendation continues through the Digital Access Plan (PDF, 1.6 MB) and its principles of collaboration, sharing digitisation expertise and providing interactive access to South Australia’s digital assets through a pilot project.

Arts South Australia will continue to support organisations to leverage the opportunities for digital engagement with their respective audiences.

Supported in principle – As part of the response to recommendation 4.1, we will work with key stakeholders to scope a Digital Cultures Fund for further consideration.

A pilot program focused on digitisation skills development and training is underway, managed by the History Trust of South Australia on behalf of the DACG (see rec. 4.1) and guided by the principles of the Arts and Culture Digital Access Plan for South Australia. This program will enhance digitisation skills development across the collecting institutions and increase the volume of digitised material from the state’s collections. This has been supported from within departmental resources.

Supported in principle – As part of the response to recommendation 4.1, we will work with key stakeholders to design a Digital Cultures Matched Fund for further consideration.

Since the writing of this recommendation, a number of initiatives have emerged or been identified through formal and informal consultation between Arts South Australia, the Department for Education and other key stakeholders, that are contributing to its delivery.

The impact of COVID-19 has also accelerated the focus on digital learning and innovation.

The Department for Education, along with other government agencies and private and philanthropic organisations, provides funding to a range of arts and culture organisations in South Australia that enables them to develop and deliver digital learning resources and experiences for schools and preschools.

Sector-led activity is also contributing to the delivery of this recommendation.

In 2020, Collab, was established as a joint venture between the South Australian Museum, the History Trust of South Australia, the State Library of South Australia and the Art Gallery of South Australia to promote the discovery of their digital collections.

Collab offers an annual $10,000 Digital Cultural Fellowship which aims to promote experimentation in new digital interfaces and experiences that bring together the rich digital collections of South Australia’s cultural institutions.

The government’s formal response to this recommendation is now complete.

Arts South Australia continues to identify, support and promote opportunities for digital learning and innovation in the arts and culture sector, and other related industries.