• Tonya Nelson

    Arts & Culture Policymaker & Consultant

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    Factum Arte:Space for Digital Exploration and Innovation

    I had the privilege to visit the Factum Arte production facility in Madrid last week. The huge industrial space that spans a full city block allows for artists and arts institutions to explore the potential for digital technology to produce high quality replicas of great art and create new works of art. According to founder Adam Lowe, the objective of Factum Arte is the use technology to conserve and preserve, not replace. The range of projects that Factum Arte takes on are endless because they can invent (by rigging together cameras, lights and frames) a machine to tackle any digitization challenge presented.

    I was most impressed with a piece Factum Arte produced for Marina Abramovic’s Five Stages of Maya Dance. This piece is not new — it was made in 2013 — but remains a very intriguing use of 3D printing. Some photos and video from me — the website has many more. A scan of Abramovic’s head was made and printed a relief in alabaster. The effect is that from far away the work looks like a series of photographs, but as you move closer you see it is actually an alabaster block with a cut outs of Abramovic’s facial expressions.

    What is wonderful about the Factum Arte space is that it brings together artists, craftsmen and technologists in a space for explorations and innovation. It is not an assembly line-type manufacturing centre, nor a lab. It is a modern day renaissance workshop.


  • New Horizons: Arts Technology and Innovation

    I have written frequently about technology and innovation in the arts over the years and as of last week this topic has become my full time job.  I joined Arts Council England (ACE) as its first Director, Arts Technology and Innovation. In this role, I’ll have the pleasure of working with arts organisations to help embed digital transformation and promote the development of new types of arts content through new technologies.  Week one has already proven exciting and invigorating.  I’ve met students who will be the digital artists and producers of the future; trialed the prototypes of up and coming artist collectives developing innovative VR and AR experiences; and viewed the work of well established artists pushing the boundaries of their practice through immersive technologies. What is clear is that through digital technology there are great opportunities for the cultural sector to extend its reach to new audiences, develop content that extends our ability to understand ourselves and the world around us, and shape the way the tech sector develops and matures.


  • 30 November: Why Do We Fail Digitally at the Munch Museum

    I am pleased to be speaking at the Munch Museum’s international seminar on 30 November 2018.  The goal of this seminar is to address challenges and develop solutions which enable cultural institutions to thrive and compete in the digital world.

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  • The Arts+ Future of Culture Festival: Highlights & Reflections

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    The Frankfurt Book Fair is commonly referred to as the biggest book fair in the world. While I don’t know if that’s actually true,  I can confirm it is BIG.  Clearly the publishing industry is trying to spread its wings and explore the interconnections between literature, other forms of culture and creativity and digital technology.  To that end, the Fair hosted The Arts+ Future of Culture Festival which is dedicated exploring and supporting  the future of the creative and cultural industries. The Arts+ asks questions such as: “How is our living environment and communication changing as history is being written increasingly in data and pixels – that is, not just by people, but by creative artificial intelligence?” and  “How is our understanding of culture and creativity, of human beings themselves as well as their legacy changing? What will be our (intellectual) legacy to the generations to come? Who will cultivate and curate it – and how?”

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  • Festival of Ideas: 8 September 2018

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    I joined V&A Director Tristram Hunt and Tate Modern Director Francis Morris on a panel discussing the future of museums at the RA’s Festival of Ideas


  • THE ARTS+ INNOVATION SUMMIT: 10 October 2018

    I am pleased to be taking part in The Arts + innovation summit in Frankfurt, Germany this year.  The summit will examine the question: How can the cultural and create sectors bridge the innovation gap?  I will be part of the panel discussing innovation in cultural heritage.  Click here for more information.