Analysing the second call in Wales
Earlier this year we posted an analysis of applications to the first call for submissions to the Digital R&D Fund for the Arts in Wales. We can now share the same analysis of applications to the second call, along with a comparison of both calls and a look at the combined picture in Wales.
Looking across both rounds of applications it’s clear that there’s a significant demand from organisations to experiment with digital technology. The total number of applications in Wales exceeded the number of Arts Council of Wales Revenue Funded Organisations (97 applications, 68 RFOs). In round two, applications were again received from across Wales and from a range of organisations and art forms. More than ten times the value of the funding available was requested through the two application processes.
There was little variation in the choice of objectives in the second call from the first call – Digital Content Distribution and Social Media being the most popular themes, enhancing the view that organisations are keen to find new ways to connect with their audiences and see digital as the route to do this. This can also be seen in Nesta’s Digital Benchmarking Survey of English arts and cultural organisations, where three of the five key growth areas in the use of technology relate to digital content and distribution activities.
However, it appears that organisations are still reticent to explore ways in which new revenue can be generated through the use of digital technology, with just a small number of applications in the exploring new business model objective and low uptake of the fundraising theme; Enhancing Audience Reach remained the more popular theme in the second call for submissions and across both calls accounted for around 74% of all applications.
Nesta’s Digital Benchmarking Survey showed that just 11% of respondents reported that technology has a major positive impact on revenues. While 26% of all the applications in Wales were in the area of exploring new business models, it’s disappointing that more organisations aren’t looking to digital as a way of exploring new business models, especially given the current constraints on arts funding. This is something that funding bodies, including those involved in the Digital R&D Funds in England, Scotland and Wales should do more to support.
You can download a copy of the full analysis of applications on the right of this page.
One More Project
Over the past twelve months we’ve received applications from around 80 Welsh arts organisations; while we were unable to fund many of their projects through the Digital R&D Fund, we’d like to make sure that we build on the enthusiasm shown by all of the applicants to undertake research and development activity. We’re therefore offering an organisation that has previously applied to the Digital R&D Fund for the Arts in Wales an opportunity to take part in a new project.
Following the first two calls for submissions, a small amount of funding was left to support collaborative projects; rather than issue another open call, we’ve taken the decision to focus this money on an area that we are yet to fund through the first two calls. In this instance, we’re pleased to announce that we’ve partnered with The National Library of Wales to look at how creative collaboration and digital technology might be used to exploit their digital archive material. The project will see an arts organisation, artist and digital producer team up to explore The Library’s digital archive material, create a new body of work and look at how this might make use of digital technology to enhance audience reach or develop a new business model.
If you would like more information about this project, or to check if you’re eligible to apply, please don’t hesitate to drop me an email – [email protected]