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Last Updated: Tuesday, 21 October, 2003, 13:00 GMT 14:00 UK
Web venture to bring arts alive
Kew Gardens
Kew Gardens have created one project, Plant Culture
A government-backed internet initiative to make the arts more accessible, Culture Online, has been launched by Arts Minister Estelle Morris.

The venture, designed to for both adults and children, will sponsor 20 to 30 projects and will go live next year.

One of the first projects is called Webplay and allows school children to direct a play online.

Others include Scoop for would-be journalists and a virtual collection of plants curated by Kew Gardens.

"We believe Culture Online has the potential to transform people's experience of the arts," Ms Morris said. "These new projects are just the beginning."

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport will work with various cultural organisations to enhance the school curriculum and adult learning.

The first seven projects are:

  • The Dark - where people can join in a 3D experience in pitch darkness with a website navigated only by sound.

  • Every Object Tells A Story - visitors can join an online community where they can contribute their own stories and objects.

  • Plant Culture - a virtual collection inspired by south-east Asia, studying food, superstition, religion, fashion and art.

  • Backstage - an insight into the theatrical creative process backed by the National Theatre and major regional theatres.

  • Webplay - a project for primary school children allowing them to create, produce and perform short plays.

  • Scoop - virtual newspapers from various historical periods where pupils can try their hands at journalism and picture editing.

  • ArtisanCam - will pilot a series of virtual artists' residencies, linking artists and crafts people in their studios with groups of school pupils.

The projects will be accessible via individual organisations' websites and links to National Curriculum Online, run by the Department for Education and Skills.

Culture Online also hopes to improve people's computer skills while engaging them in the arts.

Other organisations involved include the Victoria and Albert Museum, National Museums Liverpool and the Museum of London.

"I'm really excited about these first projects," said Culture Online director John Drori.

"Culture Online is about integrating the virtual and online world with real activities for real people."

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