From technology to help those with sight impairment read music to a radio station for the homeless, the finalists represent a diverse selection of ideas that offer digital solutions to problems right across society.
Nesta is today announcing the grantees of its Amplified programme to encourage the development of creative digital ideas that generate positive social outcome. Nesta, along with a panel of industry experts, has selected thirteen of the best ideas who are set to receive £13,000 of grant funding each to develop and test their digital ideas.
Nesta believes that art and creativity have the power to inspire, unite and change behaviour at the individual and collective level - digital technologies offer an exciting opportunity for creatives to continue pushing boundaries and amplify their social impact. The Amplified programme hopes to understand how we can better support cultural and creative organisations who hold some of the most exciting ideas for the greater good.
Throughout the year, the organisations will not only benefit from funding but they will be partnered with a mentor to help guide their project through the development and testing phases. Nesta will also offer tailored support through practical workshops where teams will be brought together to discuss their challenges and so they can learn from each other.
Deborah Fox, Amplified Programme Lead, said:
“At Nesta, we believe in the power of art and culture to transform people’s lives. It’s a privilege to have an opportunity to work with such an amazing and diverse group of organisations, committed to using their incredible creative talent as a force for good. It's going to be an exciting 12 months!”
The Amplified grantees are:
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.
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.
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 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 College of Communication, UAL 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 partnership with Central Saint Martins, and workshops with industry-leading theatre companies who make pioneering work with new technologies.
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.
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 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.
For more information on any of the grantees or the programme, please contact Wallis Grant in the press office at [email protected] or on 0207 438 2581/ 07557 162 651
Notes to editors
Nesta is a global innovation foundation. We back new ideas to tackle the big challenges of our time, making use of our knowledge, networks, funding and skills. We work in partnership with others, including governments, businesses and charities. We are a UK charity that works all over the world, supported by a financial endowment. To find out more visit www.nesta.org.uk
Nesta is a registered charity in England and Wales 1144091 and Scotland SC042833.