ENO, NT and Barbican to have data scientist in residence

The Barbican in London
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English National Opera, the National Theatre and the Barbican are partnering on a project that will see the first ever “data scientist in residence” working across the three companies.

The Arts Data Impact project, delivered by consultancy group The Audience Agency, has been awarded £299,985 from the Digital R and D Fund for the Arts. It will see the scientist in residence work across the three organisations and “interrogate their ever-growing data resources”.

The post will allow in-depth analysis of resources such as booking data and online engagement, with a view to making the arts more sustainable. A national “data warehouse” will also be created to enable the collection and sharing of data across the arts and cultural sector.

Cimeon Ellerton, the project’s manager, said: “We hope to be able to pick out trends and patterns that perhaps we hadn’t spotted before, which will hopefully lead to some organisational change.

“Somewhere like the Barbican has such a vast array of different data from different types of programming. It has a concert hall, a theatre, an art gallery and a cinema, among others. It will be interesting to see where the gaps are, where we might be able to bridge them and maximise their value,” Ellerton said.

Another element of the project is to explore the benefits of making some of the data more accessible.

Ellerton added: “We have to be very careful, but we want to explore what data could be made open to a platform that will encourage further development and innovation.

“Our aim is to help make [arts organisations] more sustainable, so the bottom line is that they either reach new audiences or they have deeper engagement with those they already have.”