Having worked in several art galleries throughout his life, Middlesbrough-based sound designer and artist, Nick John Williams has witnessed first-hand how so many valuable art collections never see the light of day after just one exhibition.
Determined to do something about it, Nick began working with theatres, museums, arts organisations, and the likes, also schools and universities to develop a unique system that allowed them to present digital collections, archives and documentation to the public as multimedia installations. From that, the Living Archive Limited was born.
As a busy, freelance creative technologist, the pandemic provided Nick with ample opportunity to transform the initial real-world system into what was the long-term goal of being a cloud-based platform.
Nick said “One of the main reasons for wanting to go digital was to make the system elastic. With a cloud-based infrastructure, the platform can scale and grow in sync with customer’s digital collections and archives, meaning it can accommodate organisations of all sizes.”
However, with limited funds and no real idea where to start, the tech entrepreneur looked to the DigitalCity initiative for support. After landing a place on the Accelerator Programme soon after, Nick took the first big step on his incredible start-up journey to bring Living Archive Limited to life.
Nick comments “Not only did the Accelerator Programme kickstart the development of our MVP, it has formed my thinking as an entrepreneur and introduced me to so many new concepts and contemporary approaches to product development, marketing, and even founder wellbeing.”
Highlighting how being a sole founder is not smooth sailing, he adds “You think constantly about the next move, your last mistake, your next idea, but have very little outlets for talking about these things. The Accelerator Programme gave me the opportunity to share these thoughts with experienced mentors who have ‘been there’ and ‘done that’ and meet a community of supportive entrepreneurs who are ‘living it’ themselves.”
The programme also opened doors to the Tees Valley Combined Authority from which the platform has received further funding to develop its current ‘Beta-Test’ – a collaboration with the Middlesbrough-based arts organisation, The Auxiliary.
The Auxiliary are using the Living Archive platform to document and exhibit their ‘Adobe’ artist residency programme, with audio-visual documentation of 22 talented artists.
Living Archive Limited is on the brink of going to market with its fully-fledged product. The affordable, accessible, easy-to-use tool is designed for SMEs in the creative, cultural and heritage sectors who want to engage audiences online with their digital archives, media libraries, and collections.
The team are also in conversation with a diverse range of early-adopters and have several exciting projects in the pipeline! Watch this space: LivingArchive.net
Photo Credit: Topher McGrillis