The Digital Research and Development Fund for Arts and Culture run by NESTA, Arts Council England and the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) aims to support art and cultural organisations to work with those with digital expertise to understand the potential offered by new technologies. Ideas were sought that would help organisations connect with wider audiences and explore new ways of working. The projects will be undertaken over the next 12 months and each will be rigorously evaluated to produce new data and research insights that can be shared with, and benefit, other organisations in the arts and culture sector.

Project descriptions

Battersea Arts Centre (BAC) with Videojuicer and The Arts Collective
BAC is proposing to pilot a digital version of its acclaimed ‘Scratch’ programme. This will allow artists to share ideas online and engage in a creative dialogue with the public to develop those ideas.

Exhibition Road Cultural Group with the Dickens Museum and Seren Partners 
This group of cultural organisations will create a new app that will allow users to go on a digital cultural journey across London. The first journey will be ‘DigiDickens’, a journey across the capital inspired by the life, work and interests of Charles Dickens.

Imperial War Museum (IWM) with Knowledge Integration and University College London
IWM and partners will develop a system that will enable the interpretation, discussion, collection and sharing of cultural experiences with, and between, audiences. This data-driven project will have in-gallery, online and mobile applications, which will augment and spread museum collections through social media and digital interaction.

London Symphony Orchestra with Aurora Orchestra and Kodime
The London Symphony Orchestra will create and test mobile marketing and ticketing, allowing students to purchase discounted concert tickets through mobile apps. The apps will also use location data to show events nearby and allow students to share comments via social media.

New Art Exchange with Artfinder
New Art Exchange in Nottingham will work with Artfinder to develop a digital portal for dialogue and exchange which allows gallery and artists to upload, sell and exchange their art work, as well as for audiences to vote on and virtually curate art programmes.

Punchdrunk  with MIT Media Lab
Immersive theatre company Punchdrunk and MIT Media Lab will merge theatre and gaming on an online platform, that will partner live audiences with online participants. This will be piloted for its critically acclaimed show Sleep No More, which is currently running in New York.

The Sage Gateshead plus Manchester Camerata, Aurora, Berwick Maltings, Alnwick Playhouse and Durham Gala with Videojuicer and Aframe
The Sage proposes to explore how digital technology can help orchestras and venues find new audiences and income streams. The project will broadcast live concerts through a range of distribution channels and into a network of venues across Britain. The aim is to reach new audiences that are younger and who live in more rural areas that previously would not have had access to live performances.

Site Gallery working with Lighthouse and Caper
Sheffield’s Site Gallery will embed small teams of digital designers and developers in arts organisations, and see how this changes organisational thinking and develops more interesting digital ideas.



NESTA is the UK’s foremost independent expert on how innovation can solve some of the country’s major economic and social challenges. Its work is enabled by an endowment, funded by the National Lottery, and it continues to operate at no cost to the taxpayer.

NESTA is a world leader in its field and carries out its work through a blend of experimental programmes, analytical research and investment in early-stage companies. For further information, visit www.nesta.org.uk

About Arts Council England

Arts Council England works to get great art to everyone by championing, developing and investing in artistic experiences that enrich people’s lives. We support a range of artistic activities from theatre to music, literature to dance, photography to digital art, and carnival to crafts. Great art inspires us, brings us together and teaches us about ourselves, and the world around us. In short, it makes life better. Between 2011 and 2015, we will invest £1.4 billion of public money from government and a further £0.85 billion from the National Lottery to create these experiences for as many people as possible across the country. www.artscouncil.org.uk

 About AHRC

The Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC): Each year the AHRC provides approximately £100 million from the Government to support research and postgraduate study in the arts and humanities, from languages and law, archaeology and English literature to design and creative and performing arts. In any one year, the AHRC makes hundreds of research awards ranging from individual fellowships to major collaborative projects as well as over 1,100 studentship awards. Awards are made after a rigorous peer review process, to ensure that only applications of the highest quality are funded. The quality and range of research supported by this investment of public funds not only provides social and cultural benefits but also contributes to the economic success of the UK.

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