The arts - live, free and on demand

The Space is a pilot digital arts service and commissioning programme launched in May 2012 by Arts Council England in partnership with the BBC.

The Space was conceived and developed as a live, free, and on-demand service through which audiences could access a wide range of arts digitally and, in particular, the London 2012 Festival and Cultural Olympiad.

Initially piloted from May to October 2012, the service was designed to build digital capacity in the arts, support digital creativity and experimentation and connect arts organisations with a wider audience.

Commissions and content

Arts Council England invested £3.5 million of Lottery funding in 51 original commissions for The Space. Additional content was supplied through archival material from the British Film Institute, the Arts Council Film Collection and the BBC, and through a limited number of direct commissions and submissions, some through partnerships with Arts Council of Wales, Creative Scotland and the Arts Council of Northern Ireland.

Learning and evaluation

Following the completion of the initial pilot phase, Arts Council England and the BBC commissioned a comprehensive evaluation of The Space service. An executive summary of the key findings from the evaluations, the full report, as well as five case studies by arts organisations whose works were commissioned for The Space can be found here

Arts Council England and the BBC are now working together, using the learnings from the pilot, to develop a future service, which they plan to launch next year.  The Space continues to make available, free and on demand, hundreds of hours of original work direct from some of the nation's greatest artists and arts organisations, including full performances, unique behind-the-scenes access, rare archive and interactive collections.

You can access The space now at www.thespace.org