This article is an overview of preliminary research undertaken for the creation of a framework for collecting and distributing new media art within regional art galleries in the U.K. From the 1960s, artists have experimented using computers and software as production tools to create artworks ranging from static, algorithmic drawings on paper to installations with complex, interactive and process-oriented behaviours. The art-form has evolved into multiple strands of production, presentation and distribution. But are we, as collectors, researchers, artists and enthusiasts facing an uncertain future concerning the integration of new media art into institutional cultural organisations? Recently, concerns have been raised by curators regarding the importance of learning how to collect new media art if there is to be any hope of preserving the artworks as well as their histories. Traditional collections management approaches must evolve to take into account the variable characteristics of new media artworks. As I will discuss in this article, although regarded as a barrier to collecting new media artworks, artists and curators at individual institutions have recently taken steps to tackle curatorial and collections management activities concerning the often unpredictable and unstable behaviours of new media artworks by collaboration and experimentation. This method has proved successful with some mainstream, university and municipal galleries prior to acquiring or commissioning new artworks into their collections. This paper purports that by collaboration, experimentation and the sharing of knowledge and resources, these concerns may be conquered to preserve and make new media art accessible for future generations to enjoy and not to lament over its disappearance.
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