The notions of museum visit and museum object, collection and exhibition, have all been disrupted and renegotiated by the influence of five decades of digital technology. ‘Digital’ has changed the idiom of ‘museum’ (Parry, 2007; 2010). And yet, it is widely recognised that the digital literacy of the museum workforce remains one of the key challenges continuing to impede the adoption of technology within the sector (New Media Consortium (NMC), 2015; 2016). According to Nesta, the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) and Arts Council England (ACE) (2014; 2015) and Nesta and ACE (2017), over a third of museums in England still feel that they do not have the in-house skills to meet their digital aspirations, and rather than improving, some digital skills areas have declined. Challengingly, the most recent findings, captured in the UK Government’s Culture is Digital report, point to a cultural sector as a whole with ‘particular skills gaps around intellectual property and data analysis’ (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), 2018). Addressing this pressing issue, the aim of the ‘One by One’ project is to leverage interdisciplinary scholarship, and specifically the concept of the ‘postdigital museum’, to understand how to deliver a transformative framework for museum workforce digital literacy.
Specifically, this research is investigating: the existing profile and reach of workforce digital development in UK museums; what new digital literacies are necessary for working in (or to become) a digitally mature museum in the UK today; and what the most appropriate ‘activations’ are, together with ways of supporting each of these digital literacies, within different museum settings–be that internally/externally, formal/informal, accredited/non-accredited, for individuals/teams.