Today sees the launch of the £7m Digital R&D Fund for the Arts, a partnership between the Arts Council England, the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) and Nesta.
It follows a successful year-long pilot in England and a similar R&D Fund in Scotland.
There's a dedicated Digital R&D Fund for the Arts website where you can find case studies and information from our pilot projects.
The Fund will support research and development arts projects that use digital technology to enhance audience reach and/or explore new business models. Specifically, we're looking for projects that fall into one of our key themes:
- User Generated Content and social media - harnessing the power of the Internet and social media to reach audiences and to give them a platform for discussion, participation and creativity.
- Distribution - using digital technologies to deliver artistic and cultural experiences and content in new ways.
- Mobile, location and games - developing a new generation of mobile and location-based experiences and services, including games.
- Data and archives - making archives, collections and other data more widely available to other arts and cultural organisations and the general public.
- Resources - using digital technologies to improve the way in which arts and cultural organisations are run, including business efficiency and income generation, and the way in which they collaborate with each other.
- Education & learning - developing interactive education and learning resources for children, teachers, young people, adult learners and arts and cultural sector professionals.
The Fund is interesting in two ways.
Firstly, it provides a formula for organisations looking to develop new, digital arts projects to collaborate with both technology providers and research teams. The UK has world-class talent in the arts, digital technology and research. Why not bring them together to explore the potential for new ways to reach out to audiences?
Secondly, a key objective of the Fund is the production of research insights and data that could help other arts and cultural organisations innovate. We are keen to test how publicly-funded research and development, with a strong focus on rigorous and systematic research, can help others in the arts sector to experiment, take risks and create great art for everyone.
The thinking that goes behind the genesis of the Fund can be found in the paper Culture of Innovation by my colleague Hasan Bakhshi.