Why we did this?
Following on from the Digital R&D Fund for the Arts in Wales, Arts Council of Wales and Nesta were keen to further explore how digital innovation could be supported within the arts in Wales. This programme aimed to stimulate a culture of innovation within the arts by demonstrating what’s possible through funded projects and increasing the capacity of the sector to innovate by providing access to skills, training and hands on experience.
What we did?
A key element of the fund was supporting collaborative partnerships between organisations with arts projects and technology providers to provide a body of rich research evidence, data and case studies that inspired and supported the capacity of the wider arts sector to innovate. During stage one of our application process, which closed 11 December, we asked for proposals from organisations with an arts project that would help them to:
- enhance audience reach and engagement;
- develop new business models.
At this stage, there was no requirement for an arts organisation to have found a technology partner or developed potential solutions. We were interested in finding clear, tangible and sector wide challenges or opportunities that an arts organisation could tackle through an innovation process. We supported organisations to build a team around their challenge and develop prototypes and ideas before pitching for full R&D funding of up to £75,000.
What types of proposals were we looking for?
- Clearly articulated challenges or opportunities which expanded audience reach and engagement and/or developed new business models.
- Proposals that could have an impact on a large sector of the arts in Wales.
- Proposals from all sizes of arts organisations in Wales, as well as non-arts organisations with an arts project.
Across the programme, we supported five organisations to develop new digital ideas that would enhance their audience reach and/or allow them to develop new business models. As with any R&D programme, some ideas worked and some didn't. We're really pleased to be able to share all of the stories from the five projects through their case studies which you can find on this page. We also learned a lot about how best to support research and development with arts organisations - our own reviews of this process can be found here, along with further research about the value of innovation in the arts and the adoption of digital technology. This can help others develop more effective programmes of support.
The Digital Innovation Fund followed on from the Digital R&D Fund for the Arts in Wales - a strategic partnership between Nesta, Arts Council of Wales and Arts and Humanities Research Council. It supported seven projects to explore how digital technology might help them reach new audiences or develop new business models.
Find out more about the original funded projects
As well as supporting the individual projects, this was also an experiment in supporting the arts to undertake R&D. The lessons we learned were incorporated into the Digital Innovation Fund for the Arts in Wales.
Read an overview of the lessons from the original fund