Digital Skills for Performance: a framework for assessing current and future digital skills needs in the performing arts sector

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PurposeThe COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the need to embrace digital ways of producing work and reaching audiences in the hard-hit sectors such as performing arts. In the context of post-pandemic recovery, this paper explores the notion of digital performance and proposes a framework for categorisation of digital skills currently associated with the digital making and sharing of performance work. It also aims to review the current digital skills offering in the performing arts training at Scottish universities and suggests strategies to drive accelerated digital skills development in performance education.Design/methodology/approachLiterature on digitalisations, digital skills and digital performance have been reviewed to provide the context and inform the proposed Digital Skills for Performance Framework. Subsequently, a pilot desk-based study selected 15 Scottish Higher Education Institutions in the area of performance and analysed their publicly available programme documentation for the presence of digital skills.FindingsWhile all of the programme specifications mentioned the use of “digital portfolios” and “digital performance”, there was little specific detail concerning “baseline” (transferable) and “specific” (technical) digital skills such as competency in the use of specific technologies. More notably, there was a complete absence of content relating to digital aesthetic identity.Originality/valueUpskilling future performance makers in digital competencies seems particularly important at present. This paper offers a useful categorisation of the digital skills in performing arts context, which higher education programmes can use to update their curricula, prepare the work-ready graduates and explore technological opportunities for the sector's long-term post-pandemic recovery.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages15
Specialist publicationArts and the Market
PublisherEmerald Publishing Limited
Publication statusPublished - 10 Apr 2023


  • digital performance
  • digital skills
  • performing arts
  • digital aesthetic identity
  • Higher Education
  • performing arts education


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