Our Report on VR/AR in the arts

Tim and I have spent part of this year working on a report on the state of Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality in the UK arts sector.

We got into this area slightly by accident (see our other posts!) but have stayed in it because we fell in love with it and think it is full of opportunities to do exciting and innovative work.

And the report certainly backs that view: there is a lot of experimentation going on; there is a growing ecosystem growing around this; and the signs are good for wider adoption.

For the report, we worked with users and other stakeholders in Art UK, a cultural education charity, which is currently undertaking a project to digitise the nation’s sculpture collection. All the views expressed in the report, however, are our own.

In the report we argue that the growth and market penetration of Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) has the potential to transform the experience of art in the coming decade.

Cultural organisations are already starting to embrace the potential of this new technology.

The Network Effect

VR/AR in art is facing a classic “network effect” problem, where there isn’t enough content and awareness out there to get people interested, while at the same time content owners are waiting for interest and awareness to jump in and make more content and experiences available.

But there is already a lot of experimentation going on and an ecosystem being created around digital artifacts, content creators and technical and curatorial standards. This will accelerate and facilitate the creation of more content and experiences.

Based on our research, consumers are currently not very aware of VR/AR as a way of experiencing art, however those who are aware and have used it are very positive about it.

Cost and access to the technology remain the biggest barriers to wider adoption, but as with other adoption curves, VR/AR is poised to stop being a domain of the rich and the geeky and enter a bigger market. It is an exciting and crucial moment for VR/AR and the arts!

You can read the full report here.

And do get in touch if you have any questions or feedback.