Digital Research and Development Fund for the Arts

The Digital Research & Development Fund for the Arts is a strategic partnership between Arts Council England, the Arts & Humanities Research Council (AHRC) and the National Endowment for Science Technology and the Arts (NESTA). Launched in 2012, the £7million fund supports collaborations between organisations with arts projects, technology providers, and researchers. In total, 52 collaborative projects were awarded funding of up to £125k for projects that explore the use of digital technologies to enhance audience reach and/or develop new business models for the arts sector.

The Fund partners have commissioned independent research agency MTM to track the use of digital technology by arts and cultural organisations in England between 2013 and 2015. Full details of the report and its finding can be found here.

The AHRC recruited a post-doctoral researcher, Dr Elizabeth Lomas, from University College London to examine the R&D processes across the entire portfolio of funded R&D projects. The aim of this research was to understand how R&D should be conceptualised for the arts and cultural knowledge domains, defined for policy purposes, measured and evaluated. The work has considered approaches to R&D from academia and practice. Full details of the research and its findings can be found here: Digital R&D Final Report. (PDF, 1.6MB) Hasan Bahkshi and Dr Elizabeth Lomas have subsequently authored a policy briefing (PDF, 156KB) based on the research.

To find out more about the Fund, its projects and the on-going learning that is being produced from the funded projects, visit the online journal, Native.

Digital Research and Development Fund for Arts and Culture in Scotland

The Digital Research and Development Fund for Arts and Culture in Scotland is a partnership between Creative Scotland, Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) and Nesta. The programme ran from 2012 to 2014. With the £500,000 Fund, we wanted to support collaborative partnerships between arts and cultural organisations and technology providers; and to provide a body of rich research evidence, data and case studies that inspires and supports the capacity of the wider arts and cultural sector to innovate. A research consortium led by the University of Stirling worked with ten funded projects to refine and test their propositions.

Research reports, case studies and short films on each of the projects are now available on the Native website.

Digital Research and Development Fund for the Arts in Wales

A complementary Fund was launched in Wales in June 2013. The Digital R&D Fund for the Arts in Wales is a partnership between Arts Council of Wales, Arts and Humanities Research Council and Nesta. The £400,000 fund supports collaborative projects between arts organisations and technology companies, allowing them to explore innovative ways of enhancing audience reach and engagement or to develop new business models through the use of digital technology.

A research consortium led by the University of South Wales supported six funded projects and results will be published in early 2015 on the Native website.