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Catch up on the discussions you missed in June 
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Welcome to the August issue of Culture Insight & Innovation News. LOADS of new news this month from around the world, including some market-fresh #artsdigital projects. If you think others will find it useful, don't hesitate to tweet it or forward it on. 

I'm also testing out tumblr as a new way to share this content, so if you don't want to wait for the monthly round-up (or prefer a grid layout), check it out. I'd love to know what you think. 
Participation trends
 
Creative New Zealand has released results of their triennial survey of arts Attitudes, Attendance and Participation, showing 89% of New Zealanders have either attended or participated in at least one arts event in the past 12 months – the highest level of engagement since the surveys began in 2005. The report suggests digital participation has the greatest potential for growth.
New research on arts participation by people with disabilities is available from the National Endowment for the Arts. Around 12% of the population have a disability, compared to 7% percent of those attending performing arts events or visiting art museums or galleries. Adults with disabilities were also less likely to have viewed or listened to art via handheld or mobile devices, which seems like a huge opportunity.
 
I mentioned in the July issue that the Digital R&D Fund had released ‘Making Digital Work’, a suite of resources for arts and cultural organisations using technology to enhance audience reach. Two more great videos have been released since, focusing on accessibility and mobile. Each only 5 mins or so; worth a watch.
Making digital work: accessibility, from the Digital R&D Fund for the Arts
Online consumption
 
With both Apple and Amazon now offering their own digital music services, it may not surprise you to hear that streaming activity has just surged over 500 million streams a week. A 25 min BBC podcast  contains some interesting perspectives on whether streaming is good for music (spoiler: yes and no). Lars Ulrich from Metallica says less money for record companies equals less investment in young artists. A companion article summarises some of the views.

New research on copyright infringement shows that 4 in 10 ‘content-consuming Australians’ had accessed media illegally in the first three months of 2015 (double the rates seen in the UK) and only a fraction of those would stop if threatened by their internet service provider. People would likely stop infringing if legal content was cheaper (39%), more available (38%), and had the same release date as other countries (36%), though 43% say they’re not confident of what is legal online content so let’s take those figures with a pinch of salt. 
Some gorgeous new #artsdigital projects came to life this month. London Sinfonietta launched a ‘Clapping Music’ app, a game based on the composition by Steve Reich. The Guardian delivered a beautiful interactive reading experience for the first chapter of Harper Lee’s Go Set a Watchman. And this detailed interactive map charts 12 iconic American roadtrips from literature, from Mark Twain’s Roughing It (1872) to Cheryl Strayed’s Wild (2012). 
Source: Atlas Obscura
Social news
 
Apart from the Belvoir’s successful #graygray4taytay mission to woo Taylor Swift yesterday, it appears to have been a rather sobering month for the social media world. Google has ‘consciously uncoupled’ Google+ from YouTube, sparking speculation that it will retire the social network altogether. Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey said he is ‘not satisfied with user growth’, which appears to the slowing down, and LinkedIn has pledged to cut emails to users by 40% after one too many complaints.
 
Meanwhile Malcolm Gladwell (author of ‘The Tipping Point’) has argued that more data doesn’t equal better predictions. He told the crowd at a mobile analytics conference that data can’t explain the success of Airbnb, can’t predict the future potential of Facebook, or the longevity of Snapchat, which no doubt would have stirred up some lively debate at the after party.
 
Video content is proving enormously popular for Facebook users and advertisers. Users now spend 46 minutes a day on the company’s products thanks to video, though Mark Zuckerberg is quoted saying that immersive 3D content is going to be the next big thing (may or may not be surprising since the company acquired virtual reality start up Oculus last year).

The British Library is proving hugely popular on Flickr after releasing millions of copyright free illustrations to the public. Naturally, classification of the collection is crowdsourced, but my favourite part is the 'mechanical curator', which surfaces one image per hour from the archives for our enjoyment. 
Economics and policy
 
More than 2260 individuals and groups have lodged submissions to the Senate inquiry into cuts to Australian arts funding. The Melbourne session of the Inquiry is underway, you can watch online or follow #artsinq or #freethearts on twitter for the soundbites. Draft guidelines for the new National Program for Excellence in the Arts are now available, along with the Australia Council’s revised grant program.
 
Arts Council England has released a new report on the ‘macroeconomic contribution of the arts and culture industry to the UK economy’. Two things stood out to me from the findings. The first is that Gross Value Added by arts & culture increased by over a third between 2010 and 2013 (!) The second is that the average arts and culture worker is paid well over the national average wage in the UK. Go figure.
 
I must also credit UK Minister for Culture and the Digital Economy Ed Vaizey’s Culture and Creative Industries Team, which has launched an excellent weekly email rounding up news and announcements from Government and Industry. Highly recommended for those interested in Britain’s creative industries and cultural policy.  To subscribe email Jonathan Badyal: jonathan.badyal@parliament.uk 

Thanks for reading! I'd welcome your feedback via twitter or you can email me at tandi@tandiwilliams.com

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