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Relationship between art and digital world investigated

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MOSTYN Gallery research project

UCLan and MOSTYN Gallery combine for first time in to ask how audiences interact with public art in the digital age

The University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) and a leading Welsh art gallery are joining forces to investigate the relationship between art and the digital world.

Canvas:EDGE is bringing together the MOSTYN Gallery, Wales's foremost contemporary art gallery, UCLan’s Media Innovation Studio and experience designer Dr Adrian Gradinar to ask how do audiences want to interact with a public art gallery in the digital age?

UCLan’s Dr Mark Lochrie, a researcher, technologist and project co-investigator, said: “Digital is all around us, we are ever-increasingly connected to one another. In its simplest form digital is just a ‘swipe away’. Digital is ‘everything’. However, digital in the form of a mobile phone can be seen as a barrier when used to engage with cultural experiences. It blocks our view to the physical world, it disrupts us, and it obscures realities. We want to investigate how digital technology delivers the possibilities to provide a greater level of interaction and increase in knowledge and richer content.”

The project is split up into two phases. Firstly, a feasibility study looking at how audiences want to interact with a public art gallery in a digital age and secondly, further research and development into a digital platform to be developed and deployed within MOSTYN.

Digital is all around us, we are ever-increasingly connected to one another. In its simplest form digital is just a ‘swipe away’. Digital is ‘everything’.

Clare Harding, MOSTYN Digital Curator and project principal investigator, added: “Art galleries such as MOSTYN constantly adapt and shape their experiences so that they remain appealing to the public. Canvas will help MOSTYN better understand its role for future audiences when a wealth of global culture is available non-stop and on-demand via screens.”

MOSTYN, which is based in Llandudno, welcomes more than 80,000 visitors a year. It is hoped the learning from both the feasibility study and the developed prototype will go on to benefit other similar cultural institutions.

The first phase of the research will take place between January and March. The funding has been provided through the Government’s modern industrial strategy by Innovate UK, part of UK Research and Innovation.

Rachel Atkinson | 02 January 2019