Digital Works #11: People & Skills

Author: Ash Mann

Digital Works is our programme of content and events which brings people from across the arts, cultural, heritage and creative sectors to share best practice around digital.

On Tuesday 12th January, Digital Works #11 examined the issue of digital skills. 

Many sectors suffer with a skills gap when it comes to digital competencies.

And the cultural sector is no different.

Industry research, such as the Digital Culture Survey which Nesta ran between 2013-19, identified a notable (and growing) gap when it comes to digital skills in the sector.

2020 has thrown this deficit into sharp relief, with organisations who were more digitally confident able to respond far more effectively to the restrictions and changes triggered by the pandemic.

As we continue to move through Covid and, hopefully, out the other side, these digital skills are going to be an essential factor in how well organisations are able to respond to the inevitable changes in audience behaviour and expectations. Not to mention the broader societal changes that were already underway.

As Chris Unitt writes, “the genie is out of the bottle now”.

On Tuesday 12th January 2021, Digital Works #11 will explore these issues, looking at how cultural organisations can better understand and respond to the increasing demands that digital will place on them and their workforce.

We will be exploring questions such as; How should you structure a digital team (and do you even want a specific team)? Which skills should you be hiring for? What experience is useful and relevant? How do you upskill your existing teams?


Carolyn Royston, Chief Experience Officer, Cooper Hewitt.

Across a 20-year career in museums, Carolyn has worked with cultural organisations to transform the way they use digital technologies to effect change. She joined Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum in 2018 as Chief Experience Officer, a new role that aims to seamlessly weave the digital and the physical experience together to create an integrated visitor experience.

Across roles as Head/Director of Digital, through independent consultancy, and as Director of the National Museums Online Learning Project, Carolyn has overseen the development of an award-winning website for the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston, USA, strategic development through delivery of all public facing digital outputs at the Imperial War Museum; and an ambitious programme of e-Learning resources and a cross-collection search linking the 9 museums of the V&A together for the first time.

With a consistent focus on blazing digital trails, and shifting organizational culture, Carolyn’s work emphasizes the delivery of effective digital strategies; digital & change management leadership; complex stakeholder management; digital capacity building; and managing multi-skilled teams. Consulting clients have included: J.Paul Getty Trust, English Heritage, British Council, National Museum Wales, National Museums Scotland, Canadian Museum of History.

In 2017, Carolyn was a Getty Leadership Institute (GLI) Fellow and served as President of MCN (Museum Computer Network), a non-profit organization representing information professionals from cultural sector institutions around the world.

Read an in-depth interview with Carolyn which discusses digital transformation in cultural organisations and how to introduce digital competency.

Kati Price, Head of Digital, Victoria and Albert Museum

Kati heads up digital media and publishing at the Victoria and Albert Museum, managing a team that works in technology, design and content. She’s responsible for the brand and user experience of the V&A’s digital estate and oversees content commissioning and production across digital and print.

Since graduating from the V&A/Royal College of Art history of design Masters programme, Kati has specialised in content and communications, with experience in brand, PR, marketing and digital media. With over 17 years in the design industry, she has worked with non-profits like the Design Council and design charity, the Sorrell Foundation to high-end retailers SCP and Vitsoe. Passionate about user-centred design, content and the digital realm, Kati has worked on award winning digital products and services, is a mentor and coach and regularly speaks at international conferences.

Read Kati’s article on the question of digital skills in the cultural sector.

Simon Baker, Technical Director, Wise Children

Simon is a Sound, Video & Broadcast Designer. He is an associate of The Old Vic (London) and Kneehigh. He is also Wise Children’s Technical Director.

Read The Stage’s profile of Simon.

Digital Works #11 took place on Tuesday 12th January, 2.00pm-3.30pm (GMT)

Find out more about Digital Works #12 (Audiences) and Digital Works #13 (Money).