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S2 Ep 1: The digital (r)evolution?

This episode explores the different ways that cultural organisations and practitioners use the digital to engage with audiences. We explore the role of Tik-Tok in growing engaged audiences; how the digital can help build connections with communities at a hyper-local level; and the ways in which African communities are taking back ownership of their heritage through the process of digitisation.


  • Rebecca Black (Royal Opera House) on the ways in which the Royal Opera House uses TikTok to be more playful with its audiences. [02:20 – 07:53]
  • Dr Harry Weeks (University of Newcastle) on the impacts of COVID-19 on museums and how the digital is helping them to connect with communities at a hyper-local level [08:38 – 17:12]
  • Chao Tayiana (African digital heritage specialist) [18:09 – 28:00]

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Resources referenced in this episode

Guest biographies

Rebecca Black

Rebecca Black

Rebecca is the Social Media Editor in the communications team at the Royal Opera House. She joined the Royal Opera House in 2019. She was born in London and grew up in Belgium and the UK. She studied History of Art at the University of Bristol and began her career with an internship at Christie’s, before going on to work at an art gallery in Berlin.

Her role at the Royal Opera House involves the day-to-day management of the ROH’s social media channels, creating content across Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, YouTube and LinkedIn.

Chao Tayiana Maina

Chao Tayiana Maina

Chao Tayiana Maina is a Kenyan digital heritage specialist and digital humanities scholar. A computer scientist by profession and a historian by passion, her work primarily focuses on the application of technology in the preservation, engagement and dissemination of African heritage.

She is the founder of African Digital Heritage, a co-founder of the Museum of British Colonialism and a co-founder of the Open Restitution Africa project.  She holds an MSc International Heritage Visualisation (distinction) from the University of Glasgow and a BSc Mathematics and Computer Science. She is a recipient of the Google Anita Borg scholarship for women in technology.

Harry Weeks

Harry Weeks

Harry is Lecturer and Head of Art History in the Fine Art department at Newcastle University. His work explores the conditions of contemporary art production, with a focus on socially engaged practices and artistic labour. He is currently researching the role of art in the gig economy. He was Co-Editor of a 2019 special issue of Third Text, titled ‘Anti-Fascism/Art/Theory’, and was a Co-Investigator on the Centre for Cultural Value’s ‘Covid-19: the impacts on the cultural sector and implications for policy’ project (2020-21).

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