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£500,000 research fund to stimulate digital innovation in arts and culture

  • Date: 7 June 2011
  • Area: National

Arts Council England, the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) and the National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts (NESTA) have announced a new £500,000 Digital R&D Fund for Arts and Culture.

Arts and cultural organisations are being asked to work with those with digital expertise to help them understand the potential offered by new technologies and together develop innovative project proposals for submission to this new research fund, which is for projects that will harness digital technologies to connect with wider audiences and explore new ways of working.

The call for applications follows a scoping exercise with the sector to determine the areas and themes of most importance. This exercise revealed several themes that the sector is keen to explore and proposals are sought in the following six areas: user-generated content and social media; distribution; mobile, location and games; data; resources and education and learning. 

We hope that the research and development projects supported by the Digital R&D Fund for Arts and Culture will have the potential to produce new data and research insights that can be shared with and benefit other organisations in the arts, museums and galleries and libraries sectors.

Ed Vaizey, Minister for Culture, Communications, and the Creative Industries, said: 'I'm delighted to see NESTA, AHRC and the Arts Council collaborating in such a vital area. Our lives are increasingly defined by how we engage and interact with the world digitally and cultural organisations can't afford to be left behind. Too often finances, structures or traditions can constrain the arts from making best use of the technology which now sits at the heart of many people's everyday lives. This programme seeks to show how digital technology can revolutionise our cultural engagement, helping people to derive greater value from cultural activities and to find new ways to generate income. I look forward to seeing the innovative and exciting ideas put forward.'

Alan Davey, Chief Executive, Arts Council England, said: 'Through projects like the National Theatre's NT Live and the RSC's 'Such Tweet Sorrow' we've already seen the massive potential art and technology partnerships have to transform the way people connect with the arts. 

'How the cultural sectors engage with emerging and existing digital technologies in the next few years will have far reaching effects on our creative, social and economic lives, as artists and audience members. 

'This fund is a golden opportunity for cultural organisations to partner with technical experts, get to grips with the detail, and reap rich rewards. I'm excited to see the ideas they come up with.'

The deadline for applications to the Digital R&D Fund for Arts and Culture is 2 September 2011. Following interviews with shortlisted applicants, successful applications will be announced in October 2011 . Find out more about the Digital R&D Fund for Arts and Culture.