Manchester Town Hall, Manchester, M2 5RT
Nesta, in partnership with Arts Council England and Arts and Humanities Research Council, has launched a £7 million Digital R&D Fund for the Arts. This will support research and development projects that use digital technology to enhance audience reach and/or explore new business models in the arts. Nesta, AHRC and Creative Scotland are running a related initiative in Scotland.
This forum explored the nature of collaborative technology relationships, risk taking and knowledge sharing in the arts informed by the experience of various initiatives including, but not restricted to, the Digital R&D Fund.
The day was chaired by Dr Paul Gerhardt, Managing Director, Archives for Creativity, and included addresses from: Geoff Mulgan, Chief Executive, Nesta; Alan Davey, Chief Executive, Arts Council England; Rick Rylance, Chief Executive, Arts and Humanities Research Council; and Steven Crossan, Head of Google's Cultural Institute.
The forum included panel discussions, conversational formats and stream sessions covering themes from UGC, social media, distribution and exhibition to mobile, location, games, data and archives. The audience also heard from some of the Fund's eight pilot projects who shared their experiences.
For more information, please see the Digital R&D Fund for the Arts website.
10:30 - 10:35 Welcome: Chair of the day - Dr Paul Gerhardt, Managing Director, Archives for Creativity
10:35 - 10:50 Introduction:
- Geoff Mulgan, Chief Executive, Nesta
- Alan Davey, Chief Executive, Arts Council England
- Rick Rylance, Chief Executive, Arts and Humanities Research Council
10:50 - 11:10 In Conversation with James Davis, Content Team at Google's Cultural Institute
11:10 - 11:45 Opportunity Panel: Chair - Dr Paul Gerhardt, Managing Director, Archives for Creativity
- Anthony Lilley, CEO, Magic Lantern Productions Ltd
- Hasan Bakhshi, Director of Policy and Research Creative Economy, Nesta
- Tim Plyming, Head of Digital, British Museum
- Victoria Tillotson, Digital Producer, iShed, Watershed
The opportunities panel drew on themes from throughout the event and dsicussed what the emerging areas for the arts that would benefit most from R&D activity are. Panellists were asked to briefly present their own visions and organisational priorities for digital over the next three years, and to discuss the needs of the wider arts sector over this time period.
12:00 - 12:45 Stream I A: User Generated Content & Social Media: Chair - Rohan Gunatillake
- John McGrath, Artistic Director, National Theatre of Wales
- Skinder Hundel, CEO, New Art Exchange
- Lawrence Chiles, Acting Head of Design & Digital Media, Royal Museums Greenwich
- Jane Burton, Head of Content and Creative Director, Tate Media
This panel looked at how organisations are using social media to engage better with audiences and what the opportunities are for getting them to generate content. The panel also looked at the challenges and successes and asked the audience to share their views and questions.
Stream I B: Distributing content: Chair - Jon Kingsbury, Nesta
- Professor Mike Wilson, Dean of Research & The Graduate School, University College Falmouth
- Andy Green, Founder of Distrify Ltd
This panel looked at distribution of content and how organisations are using online distribution to engage with new audiences beyond the physical arts space. Participants shared their experiences and drew on the audience to find out what has and hasn't worked.
12:55 - 13:40 Stream II A: Exploring new business models for digital engagement: Chair - Rohan Gunatillake, 21awake
- Kam Star, Playgen & Digital Shoreditch
- Laura Sillars, Artistic Director, Site Gallery
- Liz Rosenthal, Founder and CEO, Power to the Pixel
The panel explored the opportunities available for exploring new business models (both new revenue streams and new organisational practices). A rich discussion on taking chances and the benefits of providing a space for new collaborations followed.
Stream II B: Education & Learning: Chair - Jon Kingsbury
- Sharna Jackson, Tate Kids Editor, Tate Media
- Anra Kennedy, Content & Partnerships Director, Culture 24
- Professor Andrew Burn, DARE Digital, Arts, Research & Education, University of London
Panellists shared their experience of working within education and learning; inspiring young people and creating a learning agenda within their organisations. The discussion then turned to how digital can help provide better learning experiences for people young and old people.
14:45 - 15:30 Stream III A: Interactive media: Chair - Rohan Gunatillake, 21awake
- Ben Templeton, Creative Director, Thought Den
- Rose Fairchild, Creative Director, Splash and Ripple
- Matt Adams, Blast Theory
This panel looked at key examples of digital and interactive media used within the creative and cultural sector; what's pushing the boundaries and/or providing best practice for the sector.
Stream III B: how can we make the most of our data and archives: Chair - Jon Kingsbury, Nesta
- Dr Paul Gerhardt, Archives for Creativity
- Dave Moultry, Director and CEO, Cornerhouse
- Sophie Walpole, Head of Digital Media, Victoria and Albert Museum
This panel discussed how to make the most of data, what data is important and how archives can be harnessed to engage audiences in new ways. The panel also looked at the challenges of using data and whether there are business models exploiting archives successfully.
15:50 - 16:20 Future Panel: Chair - Dr Paul Gerhardt, Managing Director, Archives for Creativity
- Paul Bennun, Somethin' Else and ArtAngel
- Honor Harger, Lighthouse
The Futures session explored how new and emerging consumer and production technologies might impact on the Arts. Panellists were asked to provide insights on what nascent technologies might prove useful to arts organizations and the wider sector over the next three to five years.