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New online resource for arts organisations entering the data age

Arts organisations across the UK can now access a free online resource to help them engage young audiences and develop new work exploring the artistic potential of data.

We’ve worked with residents in our local area since 1996, helping them use the arts and digital technologies to make positive changes to their lives and communities – now we want to support other organisations to venture into new and perhaps unfamiliar territories: working with data and young people.

In order to do this, we’ve produced the Data Toolkit – a step-by-step guide to gathering and visualising information in creative ways, and involving interns and trainees in the process.

Organisations can use and adapt the content in the Toolkit to suit their aims, budget and context. For example, one could collect information about their local area and help residents start a campaign. Another could gather statistics and visualise them in creative ways so they can be incorporated into exhibitions. Art galleries could create fun and unusual methods of gathering audience feedback.

The website includes templates, case studies and animations based on the experiences of seven interns, who worked on data projects at KWMC over six months in 2013-2014.

One such project was The Living Living Room. The interns began by developing an online survey to collect information about residents’ perceptions of their community and their lifestyle choices. In March 2014 the survey was brought to life in a 3D gaming room where people could answer the questions by interacting with eight full-size pieces of cardboard furniture.

Now we hope that other organisations will use these free case studies and resources to develop their own artistic practice and assist young people with their career development.

Naomi Yates, coordinator of the Data Toolkit project, said: “We can collect data about almost anything – from weather patterns and crime statistics to people’s perceptions of their local area. By studying data in depth we can gain a greater understanding of the subject.

“The resources in the Toolkit are based on real projects that took place in the Knowle West community. No previous experience of working with data or young people is required! We hope that other arts organisations can learn from us and find new ways of working that are creative, resource-efficient, and empowering to the communities they work with.”

The toolkit can be viewed at

The Data Toolkit was produced as part of the Curating Activism programme, which was a partnership project between KWMC, IBM and the University of the West of England, supported by the Digital R&D Fund for the Arts – Nesta, Arts & Humanities Research Council and public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England.

Data Toolkit Screen Graphics


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