Meet the Heritage + Culture Finalists: Culture Everywhere
Read the first of our series of three blog posts, which introduce each of the Heritage + Culture Finalists.
Culture Everywhere celebrating their success with Judge, Gavin Starks from the Open Data Institute
What is your product?
Culture Everywhere is a platform which enables grassroots community arts organisations across the country to fulfil their mission of taking arts and heritage activities out into neighbourhoods to reach communities who do not currently access mainstream culture.
We deliver a project development and research tool that gathers open data and information useful to community arts organisation in one place. Subscribers are able to use Culture Everywhere to construct proposals for potential arts projects and activities, and discover evidence from the data to help them understand how best to target their work, how it is situated amongst other activity, and where relevant good practice and research data can be leveraged.
As a result, community arts organisations are able to generate a project summary for their proposal with evidence and references. That provides a framework and content which the organisation can then use as the source material for a funding bid, or a crowdfunding proposal.
We encourage users to upload their project impact data to the platform to demonstrate their track record and add to the overall knowledge base to achieve Culture Everywhere.
Who is your team?
Culture Everywhere is a partnership between open data engagement organisation, the Better With Data Society, and Ignite Imaginations, a community arts organisation, both based in Sheffield. On the team are Danny Antrobus, a voluntary sector funding adviser, Ian Ibbotson, an open source developer and culture & heritage specialist, Jag Goraya, a project and startup specialist, and Luisa Golob, chief executive of a grassroots arts charity.
How did you come up with the idea, when and what was the light bulb moment?
The Better With Data Society spends a lot of time talking to people and organisations about open data and the ways they can engage with it. Amongst those organisations was community arts charity, Ignite Imaginations. Luisa wanted to know how open data could help her better plan, deliver and evaluate arts activities that meet a whole range of social needs, as well as helping her find the money to pay for them. Danny from Better With Data had dealt with similar issues over many years working as a voluntary sector funding adviser, and was sure that open data could play a useful role in overcoming these problems.
We were able to take that initial conversation to Hack The City in Sheffield and work with others (including our fellow Heritage + Culture Open Data Challenge finalist, Rabble Days!) to develop our thinking, better understand how and where open data fits best into the arts development workflow, and explore possible approaches to address the participation/audience development and funding challenges that grassroots arts organisations face.
And so the Super Helpful Arts Funding Tool (SHAFT) was born - the first iteration and precursor to Culture Everywhere which made its way to the Open Data Challenge Series.
We also create new open data: a repository of community arts research and good practice, new funding data which we hope will be of use for enhancing the 360 Giving dataset, and insight data generated by the Culture Everywhere subscribers.
For example, Luisa manages Ignite Imaginations, a community arts organisation in Sheffield. She spends far more time than she would like trying to research and find evidence for her projects from disparate sources. Culture Everywhere helps Luisa and people like her to access the data they need to build fundable proposals.
As a result of using Culture Everywhere, it takes less time to construct a viable project proposal. Funding bids and project development work becomes more efficient for capacity-poor organisations, better quality bids are submitted, and less funders’ time is wasted assessing low quality applications.
Organisations are able to construct more projects, that are better targeted, leading to more successful bids, allowing them to reach new participants and audiences who do not currently engage with the arts.