Could open data helps arts and culture listings – a discovery report.

Could open data helps arts and culture listings – a discovery report.

The Satori Lab


This discovery report by Nesta and The Satori Lab started with a simple question: Can open data help to make arts and cultural listings more efficient whilst reaching new audience?


This project started with an apparently simple question:

"Can open data help to make listings more efficient whilst reaching new audiences?"

Nesta approached The Satori Lab with a thesis.

They said:

  • the current system for publishing arts and cultural events listings is broken
  • there is a lack of common standards and a lack of technical competence or will around the use and potential of data across cultural institutions
  • event listings are not published as open data and this creates barriers to innovation, it also reduces opportunities available in an otherwise data driven world.
  • current events listing and publication relies on too many manual steps and is, accordingly, labour intensive, expensive and non interoperable
  • this in turn acts as a barrier for small, local or innovative services to enter the listings market and makes it harder for potential audience members to find out what events are actually taking place

Nesta’s starting point was that an effective solution to this problem would involve the publishing of events listings in open formats against commonly agreed standards.

This thesis described a problem space that is multi-faceted and there are many aspects of the space that are uncertain. Nesta partnered with The Satori Lab on a rapid discovery project. The aim of the discovery was to reduce as much uncertainty as possible and to build an evidence base for future action and further investment.

A team, formed from Nesta and The Satori Lab staff, undertook a range of actions:

  • we organised two workshops in Cardiff bringing together a range of stakeholders from the arts and culture sectors in South Wales
  • we undertook desktop research into the problem space in Wales and other parts of the world
  • members of the team undertook a series of semi-structured interviews with stakeholders with relevant experience from across the UK and other parts of the world

We present this report which summarises:

  • what we found out about the problem space
  • examples of organisations that are already tackling some of the issues we discovered in the problem space
  • some next steps which, it seemed to us, would be helpful in addressing aspects of the problem space

The report includes a series of recommendations for:

  • the sector as a whole
  • listings publishers
  • policy makers

Download the report

Read the blog




Resource type: Research | Published: 2019