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King's partners with Royal Opera House on digital project

The Department of Digital Humanities at King’s is partnering with the Royal Opera House and digital agency POP on one of the first collaborative projects funded by the Digital R&D Fund for the Arts programme.

David Little and Paul Vetch from the Department of Digital Humanities at King’s will be working in collaboration with the Royal Opera House and POP to explore more sustainable and effective ways to use mobile technology in the arts sector. The project will develop an alternative way of creating mobile apps that will encourage new audiences to enjoy rich media content in ballet and opera.

The project aims to provide citeable, evidence-based research for effective and sustainable mobile application development for the general benefit of the arts and cultural heritage sectors. A comprehensive programme of user engagement and need analysis will help shape a new app for the Royal Opera House, which will offer extensive programme content, together with mobile ticketing and mobile giving functionality.

The Digital R&D Fund, a partnership between Nesta, the Arts Council England and the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), seeks to support innovative digital projects and encourages collaboration between the arts, digital technology providers and the research community.

Paul Vetch, Head of Research Development & Delivery and Senior Lecturer in Digital Humanities, said: ‘It’s obvious to everyone that mobile devices have rapidly evolved to become one of the most important channels for audience engagement in the arts and cultural heritage sectors. But mobile app development is an expensive proposition that is out of the reach of smaller organisations – and it can be very risky too in terms of effectiveness and return on investment.

‘Our Digital R&D project is really about trying to mitigate these risks, using the latest mobile web technology to create a more cost-effective and sustainable app development process. King’s will undertake new research on user engagement and usability, for which no real guidelines exist in the mobile space, and act as the catalyst for knowledge transfer with a view to making the mobile web more accessible to the sector. Together with our partners at the Royal Opera House and POP, we will synthesise our findings in a practical toolkit specifically designed to help smaller arts and cultural heritage organisations successfully ‘recruit’ the mobile web in the future.’

This project forms an additional partnership with the Royal Opera House, which is currently working with the College on the King’s Cultural Challenge: a collaboration between King’s Cultural Institute and Southbank Centre, the V&A, the Royal Shakespeare Company and the Royal Opera House which will offer students paid internships at leading cultural organisations.

For more information please visit the Digital R&D Fund for the Arts website.

Find out more about the King’s Cultural Challenge.