About Nesta

Nesta is an innovation foundation. For us, innovation means turning bold ideas into reality and changing lives for the better. We use our expertise, skills and funding in areas where there are big challenges facing society.

Amplified 2019

In October 2018 we launched an open call for ideas from the UK’s cultural and creative community. The calibre of applications was incredibly high and together with a panel of experts we selected 13 organisations.

The next 12 months

Over the next 12 months these organisations will have an opportunity to develop their digital ideas. In addition to grant funding, each organisation will work closely with a mentor to help guide them through the development process - watch this space for further announcements about the mentors.

The organisations will receive support from Nesta to help amplify their social impact and will also have lots of opportunity to learn from each other and build their digital expertise. We'll share the journey of these 13 ideas with the wider sector and hope to hold a public showcase event in April 2020.

The digital ideas

The digital ideas include immersive experiences, live performances, assisted technology, podcasts and apps. Some ideas are very early stage, others are starting to think about scale. All of them will no doubt make a difference - whether that’s supporting young learners with additional needs, enabling blind musicians to simultaneously read Braille music and play an instrument, or prevent young people from becoming criminally exploited by organised crime gangs.

We are delighted to be working with the following organisations as they develop these ideas and amplify their social impact:


Creative charity Accumulate, in partnership with Ravensbourne University London, will establish the ‘Radio Station for the Homeless’, a training programme for young, homeless people to digitally broadcast their stories, music and creativity to a homeless and non-homeless listening audience. This will be done through podcasts, broadcasted regularly on a digital radio platform. The participants will use digital technology to broadcast the podcasts, learn digital skills, operate a radio desk and record, present and edit digital podcasts.

All Change

In collaboration with Abira Hussein and Mnemoscene, All Change, a community arts organisation, will further develop 'Nomad', a hugely popular project launched during Somali Week Festival 2018, which explores the creative use of immersive and web-based technology to reconnect communities with Somali cultural heritage. Nomad is a community-generated and owned digital archive containing 3D objects, photographs and oral history recordings from the Somali community in the UK. The development of the project will engage and train local people to use the tools needed to capture, collect and digitise heritage materials (such as photogrammetry) and to make them accessible through WebAR.

Baluji Music Foundation

The Baluji Music Foundation promotes the understanding and enjoyment of music and performing arts from Indian Sub-Continent. In partnership with Queen Mary University, BMF will develop a hands-free digital device to enable blind musicians to read Braille music via impulses to the skin. Currently, Braille music needs to be memorised as it is impossible to read and play at the same time. This project will help support blind musicians to be able to read Braille music and play an instrument simultaneously. This is a revolutionary development to make written music more accessible to blind musicians.


Filmpro is a digital arts agency led by disabled people. They hope to pilot a new augmented reality application that works directly on moving image and provides integrated access tools via BSL, audio description and captioning. The finished AR app would allow disabled audience members to fully experience moving image through seamless and person-centred access provision on a mobile device.

Hackney Empire

The iconic London theatre hopes to significantly increase participation opportunities for Alter Ego - the largest annual talent competition for young people in East London - showcasing the talents of 8-10 emerging artists and providing hands-on experience for 50 young people to gain skills in production, event planning, management and marketing. Hackney Empire will use Augmented Reality technologies and test the potential to offer this experience to a much wider demographic of young people.

Interplay Theatre

Interplay Theatre is a performing arts organisation who engage audiences with social, economic and sensory barriers to create work which places the audience at the centre of the experience. Their project will work with 30 SEN schools across the UK to explore how immersive virtual reality can be used to engage audiences with additional needs.

Kings College in association with London Communication College and LadBible

This project aims to address increases in sexual harassment in UK universities by developing an immersive virtual reality (VR) experience to prevent sexual harassment amongst young people and within University settings. These experiences will be designed with, by and for students and LADbible audiences, and will utilise digital technologies to help participants empathise with victims and develop the skills to intervene when faced with instances of sexual harassment.

Little Angel Theatre

Little Angel Theatre is an innovative theatre group who use puppetry to create and share inspiring stories. In collaboration with GOSH Arts, the arts programme at Great Ormond Street Hospital, they will create a transportable live production for children and young people who cannot access the theatre due to being in hospital. The live show will be enhanced by a digital project that will enable more children to experience the live show and provide a platform to help young people connect with one another.

National Youth Theatre

National Youth Theatre (NYT) will launch a brand new Digital Creative Membership scheme, offering underrepresented young people an opportunity to gain skills and practical hands-on experience in the creation of pioneering digital theatrical experiences. The intensive training will take the form of a Digital Storytelling Course, delivered in association with Central Saint Martins, and workshops with industry-leading theatre companies who make pioneering work with new technologies.

Peel Interactive

PEEL Interactive is a creative digital content agency, based in Yorkshire, they specialise in the creation of emotionally transforming digital experiences. In partnership with the Doncaster Children's Services Trust EPIC Youth Crime Prevention Service, PEEL Interactive will create a pilot virtual reality experience, designed as an education tool to help challenge attitudes, change behaviour and raise awareness of the dangers of knife crime and child criminal exploitation by organised crime gangs.

People’s History Museum

Through their project Vital Voters, the People’s History Museum will create a learner-led digital experience which engages young people in UK democratic processes, with the aim of inspiring future-voters to participate in politics. The programme will use the 2019 bicentenary of the Peterloo Massacre as a springboard for young people across Greater Manchester.

Philharmonia Orchestra

The Philharmonia Orchestra will develop a 'VR Sound Stage' for culturally disengaged communities. This touring installation will immerse up to 30 visitors at a time in a communal ambisonic and visual orchestral music experience. VR headsets and speakers will enable visitors to experience a range of VR films including concert performance excerpts from the perspective of a player performing onstage, to new immersive stories.

Threshold Studios

Threshold Studios develop digital projects that enable underrepresented sectors of society to become active in the media, arts and the cultural sector. For their project, they want to harness the positive mental health benefits that altruism affords by ‘gamifying’ the experience of delivering random acts of kindness using a repurposed vintage arcade machine. The audience will be invited to take part in a play based experience housed within a videogame arcade cabinet.

The Amplified programme will run from April 2019 to April 2020. For more information on the programme, please visit here.

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Deborah Fox

Deborah Fox

Deborah Fox

Director of Creative Innovation

Deborah leads Nesta's Arts practice.

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