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Nation report on digital making
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Research into digital making

We analyzed organizations offering training and learning for to young people in digital making. Get insights from our report on the digital skills landscape.

Richard Naylor

Director, Research

Richard Naylor is a world leading expert in research methodologies for the culture and the creative industries, having been an early innovator in the development of frameworks for measuring the economic and social impacts of cultural activities.

Richard Naylor - Director, Research | BOP

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Projects Sectors

The internet now contributes roughly 8 per cent of the UK’s GDP – the highest of the G20 countries. 

But ten million of the UK’s population lack basic digital skills and seven million have never used the internet. Only 30 per cent of small businesses make effective use of the internet for marketing and sales, despite the UK being home to the highest percentage of online shoppers in Europe. Only one of the world’s top 100 websites – the BBC – is British (despite the web being invented by a Brit). And 90 per cent of new jobs require digital know–how. 

The lack of digital skills in the UK needs addressing as soon as possible. The report commissioned by Nesta and produced by BOP reveals just how much is already happening, from the work of coding clubs to activities in the school curriculum to developments in online tools. But the gaps are more striking than the successes, amplifying existing inequalities and hierarchies rather than empowering more people. 

London, for example, has the best provision, but rural areas are being left behind. Many girls are defying stereotypes – but far too many are not engaging, and the gap in confidence between boys and girls is widening. Without radical steps, we won’t change the woeful numbers of women working in the tech sector, which currently stands at 17 per cent.

A huge expansion is needed if we are to grow a nation of digital creators who can manipulate and build the technology that both society and industry are increasingly reliant on. This expansion cannot be left exclusively to professionals, however, as we simply don’t have enough of them. It will require the mobilisation of enthusiasts and interested amateurs, from parents and non–expert teachers, to those working in the tech industry, working and learning alongside young people to help meet this demand. Encouragingly, almost two–thirds of parents and carers say they are interested in participating in digital making.


From our research we derived the following key recommendations:

  • The high levels of interest in digital making amongst young people and parents need to be capitalised on further

  • Young people need to be supported as digital makers across the UK, not just in London and areas that have high provision

  • Non–professionals – such as volunteers, parents, teachers, and young people themselves – need to be mobilised

  • There needs to be greater access to a variety of making opportunities catering for a wider variety of young people and their different interests, ages and genders

  • Clear pathways to excellence should be built to grow young people’s ambitions as digital makers and help them fulfil their potential, in and out of school

  • Schools must exploit their potential as a hub for digital making opportunities, work with informal learning organisations, raise parents’ awareness and recruit volunteers

  • Digital making organisations need to be supported to grow sustainably through new and existing partnerships with grassroots organisations and private companies

To learn more about the methodology, findings, and implications download the full report below.

Young Digital Makers

We mapped the organisations that provide training and learning opportunities to young people in digital making. Our findings contributed to a State of the Nation report on digital making.

Project Report

Young Digital Makers – Surveying attitudes and opportunities for digital creativity across the UK

The report outlines the findings from a major study into the international activity of the Arts Council England-supported cultural ecosystem.

International Activity Report

Arts Council England

BOP Consulting was appointed to outline a pilot for a Creative Worker Income Guarantee for Brighton & Hove, working on behalf of the University of Sussex and the ABCD Cultural Recovery Programme. 

Cultural, Creative and Collective Recovery: Exploring a Creative Worker Income Guarantee

University of Sussex

The report on how global cities tackle climate change with cultural policies and programmes. Insights from the World Cities Culture Forum's latest report.

The Green World Cities of Tomorrow: Culture and Sustainability – Special Report Prepared for WCCF Global Conversation

World Cities Culture Forum (WCCF)

Unique case guide is co-produced with the participating cities of WCCF, highlighting city examples and a global cities approach to evidenced-based policymaking.

Culture Counts: New Approaches to Evidence Based Cultural Policymaking in World Cities

World Cities Culture Forum (WCCF)

Working alongside CRAIC, a new research and collaboration centre at Loughborough University, we conducted an extensive survey of virtual production assets throughout the United Kingdom to map the country’s growing ecosystem.

Mapping the UK's Virtual Production Ecosystem

Loughborough University

The World Cities Culture Report (WCCR) 2022 builds on the ground-breaking 2018 and 2015 Reports. It gives insights on the major challenges world cities facing.

World Cities Culture Report 2022

World Cities Culture Forum (WCCF)

BOP's contribution to the 2nd edition of the report UNESCO's Global Creativity Report, examining policies safeguarding the creative and cultural sectors.

UNESCO's Re|Shaping Policies for Creativity Report – Addressing culture as a global public good


Our strategy will guide the creation of a new digital service aiming at supporting and developing the creative scene in Downtown Kingston.

Leveraging the creative potential of Downtown Kingston through technology

Inter-American Development Bank - IDB

Our research into the UK's high streets found that 69% of people think culture on their high street makes their area a better place to live.

Culture: The cornerstone of the UK’s high streets

Arts Council England

BOP’s updated Handbook for the Inter-American Development Bank sets out strategies for sustainability and urban resilience

Creative and Cultural Industries and Urban Revitalisation in the post-COVID era

Inter-American Development Bank - IDB

We investigated the potential impact of AI for European cultural and creative businesses. Explore the transformative opportunities AI brings to industries.

Opportunities and Challenges of AI for the Cultural and Creative Industries

European Commission

Published today: ‘Design for Good: 90 Years of the RSA Student Design Awards’, a new publication from the RSA, co-authored by BOP

A History of Bright Ideas: 90 Years of the RSA Student Design Awards

The Royal Society for Arts (RSA)

Research in the Gulf Co-operation Council States in collaboration with British Council and BOP Consulting helps identify opportunities for festival development.

An evidence-base for the growing Gulf festivals sector

British Council

Our research into the museum workforce is launched, emphasizing the importance of conscientiousness and advocating for a diverse and well-supported sector.

Conscientiousness, optimism, and curiosity

Museums Galleries Scotland

BOP’s report on creating a healthy night-time economy for the Nanjing City Government demonstrates the importance of cross-cutting policies.

Creating Healthy Night-time Economies in World Cities

Nanjing Creative Center

Findings from our work at Great Ormond Street Hospital reveals how visual arts enhance the patient, visitor, and staff experience.

Creativity in health settings


How is China influencing the future of Cultural Tourism? China's cultural infrastructure projects are redefining the global tourism landscape.

Cultural Infrastructure for the 21st Century

Chengdu Media Group

Our new report for UNESCO sets out the huge global impact of COVID-19 on the cultural sector. We estimate $750 billion lost for the CCI and 10 million job cuts.

Economic impact of COVID-19 on the Cultural and Creative Industries


Our analysis of the strengths and challenges of music in the Midlands report published for Arts Council England.

Hitting the right notes in the Midlands

Arts Council England

New handbook 'Making Space for Culture' explores how world cities address the challenge of preserving cultural infrastructure while promoting growth.

How can cities make space for culture?

World Cities Culture Forum (WCCF)

Related Projects

Research, Data and Insight

Richard Naylor - Director, Research | BOP

Richard Naylor

Director, Research

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