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Introducing the Digital Innovation Fund for the Arts in Wales

Over the past few months we’ve been working hard with Arts Council of Wales to review our work from the Digital R&D Fund for the Arts in Wales. We’ve identified a number of areas where we could improve our support for arts organisations looking to undertake digital experiments. These lessons have fed into the design of a new programme that will encourage greater digital experimentation within the sector in Wales.

The Digital Innovation Fund for the Arts in Wales, launched last week, is a new four-stage programme that will support arts organisations through the process of identifying, creating and testing new ideas that will help increase audience reach or develop new business models.

Identifying Challenges and Opportunities

In the first instance we’re asking arts organisations to identify some of the challenges, problems or opportunities that you currently face in these two areas. We want to work with you to help turn these into great experiments - where digital technology is used as a tool to solve the problem, rather than leading the discussion.

This is an important point. One of the key lessons that we took from the R&D Fund was that there were a large number of applications that were technology or solution led. They lacked a clear reason for undertaking an experiment or were driven by a solution that wasn’t directly linked to a real challenge facing that organisation.

To help with this, we’ve set up workshops that will run through the process of identifying, describing and interrogating some of the challenges that the sector faces on a daily basis. While our Cardiff workshop is already sold out, there is still space available in Carmarthen, Caernarfon and Wrexham. These workshops provide a great opportunity to learn a new skill - Theory of Change - as well as hearing more about the new fund.

Technology comes later...

It’s really important to be clear that, at this stage, we’re not looking for ideas or technology applications. These are really important but need to be grounded in a solid reason for undertaking further research and development. We’ll introduce these in the next phase of our work - building teams and generating ideas.

If you’d like more information about the new fund, please don’t hesitate to drop me a line - [email protected]

Author

Rob Ashelford

Rob Ashelford

Rob Ashelford

Head of Y Lab

Rob is Head of Y Lab, the Public Service Innovation Lab for Wales.

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