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Scottish arts and cultural organisations to pioneer digital research

Date: 22/06/2012

Six pioneering Scottish projects that will harness digital technologies for the benefit of the arts and cultural sector have been selected to receive funding from the Scottish Digital Research and Development Fund for Arts and Culture run by Nesta, Creative Scotland and the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC).

Following the launch of the £0.5 million Fund in January, over 50 projects applied for funding and awards were made totalling £262,000. The successful organisations are:

  • The National Piping Centre working with Yellow Brick House (£24,700)
  • An Iodhlann on the Isle of Tiree working with Community Information Technology (£21,300)
  • Lyceum Theatre Company and the Cultural Quarter working with tictoc (£62,234)
  • Dundee Contemporary Arts working with Lucky Frame and Denki (£24,050)
  • National Galleries of Scotland working with Kotikan (£42,715)
  • Glasgow Film Theatre and Edinburgh Filmhouse working with Distrify (£90,000)

The Fund aims to support art and cultural organisations to work with digital experts to understand and test 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.

Joining the partnerships will be a team of researchers led by the University of Stirling, in partnership with University of Strathclyde and University of St. Andrews.  Funded by the AHRC, researchers will bring a range of skills to these projects including the analysis and interpretation of data, support for developing engagement and dissemination strategies and evaluation.

Jackie McKenzie, Head of Innovation Programmes Scotland for Nesta: said: Arts and cultural organisations are at a pivotal moment in their development. Financial pressures are creating enormous challenges, but equally, digital technologies are opening up exciting possibilities for new markets to deepen and broaden audiences. We hope that by applying a rigorous research and development mindset to this Fund, we can uncover new ways of working that will help the entire sector to thrive. The fund was particularly keen to support all sizes of arts and cultural organisations from across Scotland and we think that is reflected in the first round selection. We are looking forward to the second round of this project in the autumn and are sure it will attract an equally high quality of application.

Iain Munro, Director of Creative Development, Creative Scotland: This Digital R & D investment will introduce many arts and cultural organisations to the limitless possibilities of technology to share and promote their work to audiences worldwide. Using a mixture of innovative resources, existing expertise and collaborative working, this once again puts Scotland's creative sector at the forefront of new ways of engaging with the world.

Chief Executive of the AHRC, Professor Rick Rylance, said: This initiative promises to tell us a great deal about how partnerships involving arts and cultural organisations, technology providers and arts and humanities researchers can spark innovation, benefit the arts and make a contribution to the vital Creative Economy. The chosen projects are rich and varied and the wider sector will learn a great deal from them. We look forward eagerly to hearing about their progress.

For further information about the Digital R&D Fund for Arts and Culture, visit http://www.nesta.org.uk/areas_of_work/creative_economy/digital_rnd_scotland

Notes to editors

For more information, please contact:

Nesta: Graeme Downie 07973 300 184 / graeme.downie@nesta.org.uk

Creative Scotland: Michelle Jordan 0131 523 0016 / michelle.jordan@creativescotland.com

AHRC: Jake Gilmore 07970 99 4586 / j.gilmore@ahrc.ac.uk

  • The National Piping Centre – they will be supported in developing an online portal to deliver high quality bagpipe tuition using webinar technology and streaming services that will allow remote teaching to anywhere in the world.
  • An Iodhlann – the local community will be supported to use existing local archives to create mobile experiences for visitors to the Isle of Tiree, including solutions to overcome local difficulties of poor mobile reception.
  • Lyceum Theatre – working with local partners (The Filmhouse, Traverse Theatre and Usher Hall), this project will create a new shared online and mobile-based marketing programme, particularly designed for cross-selling between venues and targeting young adults and students.
  • Dundee Contemporary Arts – working with two Scottish ‘digital toy’ experts , DCA will embed technologists within the organisation and give them freedom to work to improve experiences of both staff and visitors through ‘gamifying’ the process which they use to support increasing engagement with audiences, experimentation and developing dynamic ticketing models.
  • National Galleries of Scotland – this project will build an app called ‘Art Hunter’, a free, multi-platform mobile app to drive people to see more art in Scotland. Aimed at both art lovers and new audiences, each month a hand-curated, themed selection of ten ‘must see’ artworks will be published through the App. Users will then be able to visit the artworks and register the fact by scanning a barcode displayed with the work. This will tick the item off their list and unlock extra content which could include super high resolution images, video, hidden details or links to other works.
  • Glasgow Film Theatre –will explore new business models through the use of digital technology to expand audience reach and engagement through cinema curated Video on Demand (VoD) using the ‘Day and Date’ business model by releasing a slate of six different films.
  • Nesta is the UK's innovation foundation. We help people and organisations bring great ideas to life. We do this by providing investments and grants and mobilising research, networks and skills. We are an independent charity and our work is enabled by an endowment from the National Lottery.

    For further information, and to read more about NT Live, which broadcast live theatre performances onto cinema screens across the UK and worldwide, visit www.nesta.org.uk

    Nesta Operating Company is a registered charity in England and Wales with a company number 7706036 and charity number 1144091. Registered as a charity in Scotland number SC042833. Registered office: 1 Plough Place, London, EC4A 1DE
  • Creative Scotland is the national development agency for the arts, screen and creative industries. Our vision is that Scotland will be recognised as one of the world's most creative nations – one that attracts, develops and retains talent, where the arts and the creative industries are supported and celebrated and their economic contribution fully captured; a nation where the arts and creativity play a central part in the lives, education and well-being of our population.

    The Year of Creative Scotland began on January 1, 2012 and is a chance to showcase, celebrate and promote Scotland’s cultural and creative strengths on a world stage. Through a dynamic and exciting year-long programme of activity celebrating our world-class events, festivals, culture and heritage, the year puts Scotland's culture and creativity in the international spotlight with a focus on cultural tourism and developing the events industry and creative sector in Scotland. The Year of Creative Scotland is a Scottish Government initiative led in partnership by EventScotland, VisitScotland, Creative Scotland and VOCAL.Creative Scotland has created a programme that shows Scotland’s creativity at its best: contemporary, international and reflecting the joy that a vibrant cultural life brings to our communities.
  • The Arts & 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 approximately 700 research awards and around 1,100 postgraduate 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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