NOTES TO EDITORS:Showcases at the event included: When culture and technology come together, great things can happen. The Royal Opera House is exploring immersive technology to open up a suite of new experiences, sharing the extraordinary qualities of ballet and opera with audiences old and new in our digital age. This report acts as a useful framework for all in our sectors to explore this territory. Our cultural output has always been our unique calling card to the rest of the world and when combined with the latest digital developments there is no limit to our creativity. We want the UK to be the best place in the world to trial pioneering technology, while also maintaining our world leading status as a centre of artistic and cultural excellence. Our Culture Is Digital report sets out how culture and technology can collaborate, learn from one another and keep innovating. By embracing new technologies and attracting more diverse audiences, we will continue to cement our status as a creative powerhouse in the digital age. Arts Council England and the Heritage Lottery Fund will invest more than £2 million to build the digital capacity of their sectors The National Gallery will create an Innovation Lab to examine how museums and cultural organisations can use immersive media, such as virtual and augmented reality, to enhance visitors’ experiences The Royal Opera House will create an Audience Lab, which will work with diverse talent to create content using emerging technologies and develop cross-sector collaborations Heritage Lottery Fund Chief Executive Ros Kerslake said: Every day across England, artists, performers, museums, libraries and arts organisations create brilliant new content. We want to make sure they have the skills to use the best technology to enable more people in more places to connect directly to this deep well of creativity. We welcome this timely report from DCMS. As we have set out in our current consultation on future funding, HLF is committed to supporting digital capacity in the heritage sector, building on the considerable progress that has already been made. We look forward to working with Arts Council England and other partners in making our collective aspirations for digital culture a reality. DCMS Secretary of State Matt Hancock announced the move as part of the Culture is Digital report, which sets out an ambitious framework for how culture and technology can work together to increase participation and boost the capability of cultural organisations.It is the first time that the Government has looked at how the two sectors can work together to unleash the creative potential of technology and help bring every cultural organisation – both big and small – into the digital age.The report makes a number of commitments, including: Arts Council England will also create and pilot the use of a Digital Maturity Index for the cultural sector, to help organisations improve their digital capability.ACE will also work with the Heritage Lottery Fund to form a Digital Culture Code – a set of guidelines and principles which cultural organisations will be encouraged to sign up to help increase their digital skills.Arts Council England Chief Executive Darren Henley said: The National Gallery is committed to an ambitious five-year programme of digital change. This goes from evolving our approach to ticketing through the use of big data, to launching new mobile services, to embedding innovation in immersive media in the Gallery through our forthcoming Lab. We are excited by today’s launch of the Culture is Digital report. The commitment it marks from DCMS, the Arts Council and cultural organisations across the country to digital transformation heralds an exciting new period for us all. Royal Opera House Chief Executive Alex Beard said: Matt Hancock, Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, said: The Culture is Digital report showcases innovative projects in the creative sector, highlighting the extraordinary collaborations between our world-leading cultural and digital pioneers.It was launched at the National Gallery showcasing some of the finest recent examples of digital culture, including cutting-edge immersive installations using the latest technology.The #CultureisDigital project was informed by an online open conversation last yearand was borne out of the Government’s Culture White Paper commitment to review the digitisation of our public collections and enhance the online cultural experience.It also builds upon the Government’s UK Digital Strategy commitment to increase digital skills, digital participation and unlock the power of data.Dr Gabriele Finaldi, National Gallery Director, said: Factory 42 – Hold the World with David Attenborough: In Hold the World, Sir David and the Natural History Museum are brought together using a combination of interactive video game technology and TV documentary. Sir David will be transformed into a hologram and will guide participants to virtually handle fossils, using his passion for the natural world to bring objects to life. Science Museum/Alchemy VR: Space Descent VR, a unique and immersive virtual reality experience commissioned by Alchemy VR for the Science Museum Group in which astronaut Tim Peake guides you through a thrilling, high-speed journey to Earth in the Soyuz TMA-19M. BBC/Civilisations: As part of the Culture UK initiative, BBC R&D has collaborated with BBC Arts to offer the museum sector, galleries and libraries a number of exciting opportunities to be involved in the news series ‘Civilisations’ on BBC 2. The Welsh National Opera/REWIND: Magic Butterfly – the combined experience of The Magic Flute and Madam Butterfly in VR – was a collaboration between the WNO and immersive content studio REWIND. The interactive immersive virtual reality experience combines motion capture, animation, music and technology. Smartify: A virtual art guide enabling audiences to scan and identify artwork in museums and receive rich information via text, audio and video using augmented reality. You can follow #CultureIsDigital on social media and explore our interactive 360 degree presentation that allows users to learn about case studies and other key aspects of the report.
The crowd that filed quietly into Regina Chapel on Tuesday filled the room with green – they wore bright green shirts and pinned small green ribbon to their tops. They came to remember Saint Mary’s sophomore Ziqi Zhang. Zhang, 19, who died last week from injuries sustained in an accident between her bike and an SUV outside the entrance to the College on State Route 933. Green was her favorite color. But even as they filled the chapel with green, they also filled the room with stories. During the service, faculty, staff and students from Notre Dame and Saint Mary’s stood one after another and shared their memories of an international student who had been their friend. A resident of Regina Hall, Zhang was a dual-degree student majoring in mathematics at Saint Mary’s and taking engineering classes at Notre Dame. She was a resident of Jiangsu Province in China. International student Ariane Umutoni met Zhang shortly after the two arrived at Saint Mary’s. She remembered Zhang as fearless while they discovered America together. “I remember going to the beach with her in Michigan,” Umutoni said. “There were big stones. … She was like, ‘I want a picture there.’ I said, ‘That’s dangerous,’ and she said, ‘Let’s take a chance.’ I was so scared, but she wasn’t. “That was Ziqi.” Umotoni asked the Saint Mary’s community to come together as a family during a time of need and grief. “We need you,” she said. “Some of us are far from home. You cannot imagine how my family is feeling to know that they have not seen me in so long and such a thing can happen. We need each and every one here. “We’ll hold hands, mourn together, cry together, share memories and just be a family,” she said. The stories from Zhang’s friends prompted both tears and laughter during the service. Paige Edmonds was Zhang’s resident assistant during her freshman year. She joked about a resident she said was both curious and warm. “She was one of those freshman that the questions you think you’re never gonna get asked as an RA, she asked them,” Edmonds said. “She was the type of resident who when you had a section event, would come knock on my door the next day and ask where everyone was. But she definitely challenged me to grow as a person. … Remember her smile.” Saint Mary’s graduate Chen Chen recalled a story she heard about Zhang before the two had even met. A mutual friend brought Zhang to pick up the keys to her dorm room on her first day at Saint Mary’s, but when they went to open the door, they had some trouble with the lock. “Ziqi just whipped out a toolkit … and started seriously working on trying to break into her room,” Chen said. “So I got really excited, and the first thing that came to my mind, I got to tell this story to Dr. Barstis, who is the engineering advisor, to let her know that we have a student who has the right engineering spirit. … That’s basically how she got to the engineering program.” Other professors and friends recalled Zhang as constantly smiling and always willing to push her limits for new experiences. They talked about an excellent student newly fascinated by philosophy and dedicated to her studies. They remembered a girl excited to return home to China over winter break for the first time since she had left for college. Notre Dame sophomore Christine Nie said she came from the same city as Zhang in China, but only met her after they came to South Bend. She remembered feeling at home hearing Zhang speak their first language with the same distinct accent as her family members and friends in China. “I thought even though she couldn’t stay in this beautiful world, as a girl of the same age and of the same city and of similar background, I can live this life for her,” she said through tears. Elaine Meyer-Lee, director of the Center for Women’s Intercultural Leadership (CWIL), read an email from Zhang’s parents to Dr. Alice Yang, director for global education. Another Chinese-speaking professor had translated the letter. “We lost our precious daughter,” they wrote. “She was our pride and joy. She longed for this wonder country of America, and we wish that she could have completed her studies, learned the sciences and humanities so that she could have played a worthy role in the betterment of the entire human race.” College President Carol Ann Mooney also wore bright green as she addressed the crowd gathered in the chapel. “Each of us has lost a sister,” Mooney said. “It is terribly difficult to lose a young person with so much talent and so much promise. Ziqi’s death leaves a hole in the Saint Mary’s community.” Zhang’s family is working to obtain passports and visas to come to the United States, Mooney said. Donations to help the family with funeral and travel expenses may be sent to Karen Johnson, vice president of Student Affairs, in 175 Le Mans Hall. Checks should be payable to Saint Mary’s College and indicate in the memo line that the donation is for the Ziqi Zhang family. “For her family, this is an unspeakable grief. … Our hearts break for her parents, her sister and her good friends and family in China,” Mooney said. Student Affairs is also collecting notes for Zhang’s family at the same address. The notes will be translated and delivered to her family when they arrive in the United States. “When they arrive on our campus, we will make every effort to let them know how valued Ziqi was, what a positive contribution to Saint Mary’s she was and that she had a home here.”
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By Joseph Chen