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Digital Research & Development Fund for Arts and Culture

Arts Council England logo

The Digital Research & Development Fund for Arts and Culture is looking to support arts and cultural organisations across England who want to work with digital technologies to:
•expand their audience reach and engagement and/or
•explore new business models

A key element of the fund is partnerships between arts and cultural organisations and technology providers (by which we mean any creative, media or technology company including other arts and cultural organisations with relevant technology know-how) that can provide technology services to arts and cultural organisations.
Specifically, we want to invite arts and cultural organisations to submit projects that test digital propositions around audience reach/engagement and new business models that are of interest to the arts and cultural sector. 
As such, the projects need to produce research/data that other arts and cultural organisations value highly and, possibly, new products/services that can be used by other organisations.
The sum total investment into programme activities for the arts and cultural sector in England will be worth £500,000 over 2011/12.  The fund will consider a range of projects - small and large - however, no one project will receive more than £100,000 from the fund.
The Digital Research & Development Fund for Arts and Culture is a partnership between the Arts Council England, Arts & Humanities Research Council (AHRC) and NESTA.
Fund themesUser Generated Content and social media
Harnessing the power of the Internet and social media to reach audiences and to give them a platform for discussion, participation and creativity.

Using digital technologies to deliver artistic and cultural experiences and content in new ways.

Mobile, location and games
Developing a new generation of mobile and location-based experiences and services, including games.

Data and archives
Making archives, collections and other data more widely available to other arts and cultural organisations and the general public.

Using digital technologies to improve the way in which arts and cultural organisations are run including business efficiency and income generation and the way in which they collaborate with each other.

Education & learning
Developing interactive education and learning resources for children, teachers, young people, adult learners and arts and cultural sector professionals.
These themes have been selected with input from the arts and cultural sector - here's how.
What kind of projects are we looking for? We are looking for digital projects which seek to expand audience reach and engagement and/or to develop new business models.  They must fall under one of the programme themes. Projects involving innovation in art form innovation are in scope insofar as they meet the programme's audience reach/engagement and/or business model objectives.
Wider Impact
Projects should set out clearly why the digital proposition they are testing is of interest to other arts and cultural organisations.  Producing research insights and data that help other arts and cultural organisations innovate is a key objective of the fund and, as such, projects with clear potential for this will be given considerably greater weight.
Another key objective of the programme is to encourage new collaborations between more digitally experienced arts and cultural organisations and those with less experience. As such, projects which build in such collaborations will also receive greater weight in the selection process.
Further Information One of the features of this fund is that Arts Council England, AHRC and NESTA will connect selected arts and cultural organisations with action research teams. Organisations will have a chance to meet and explore research collaborations with different researchers at a 2-day collaborative workshop held at NESTA shortly after selection.
The research will be funded separately by the programme funders; nevertheless, project proposals should factor in the cost of collecting key data where it is envisaged that these will be important for testing the digital proposition.
Throughout the summer the Digital Research & Development Fund for Arts and Culture will host a series of events that will bring together arts and cultural organisations and technology providers. There will also be an opportunity at these events for arts and cultural organisations to explore whether a project idea they are developing falls within the fund's scope.
The dates of these will be announced shortly so please check this website to get full details.
All proposals should be submitted by one lead partner - an arts and cultural organisation who will be the recipient of the grant.
Please read these terms and conditions carefully before submitting a proposal. By submitting a proposal, you accept our terms and conditions and agree to comply with them.
You can read the application questions here before you start.
Start your online application


The application questions will be judged based upon these set criteria.
Deadline for submission: Midnight on the 2 September 2011
•7 June 2011 to 2 September 2011 - A call for applications from arts and cultural organisations to test digital proposals
•16 September 2011 - Arts and cultural organisations informed of the outcome of their applications
•24 and 25 September 2011 - 2-day collaborative workshop bring together successful teams and potential research partners
•15 October 2011 - Start projects
As successful arts and cultural organisations will work closely on their projects with action research teams, supported projects will need to commence no earlier than 15 October 2011.
Contact Details
For questions and information on offline applications please contact:
Angela Pugh
Telephone: +44 (0)20 7438 2647
Address: NESTA, 1 Plough Place, London, EC4A 1DE







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