Wednesday, 30 October 2013 10:15

Digital R&D for the arts from Nesta

With Nesta anouncing that five arts and cultural projects will receive funding from the £7 million Digital R&D Fund for the Arts earlier this month - is it about time that we saw more of this money coming to the North West more speciaficaly Liverpool based arts and cultural organisations.  

These R&D projects are testing the use of digital technologies to widen audience access and engagement in the arts, with the purpose of developing useful products, services and knowledge for the wider the arts and cultural sector so surely we could be applying for some of this money here. 

The Digital R&D Fund for the Arts is a fund to support collaboration between organisations with artsprojects, technology providers, and researchers who want to usedigital technology to enhance audience reach and/or develop new business models for the arts sector. The open call for expressions of interests to the fund was announced in 2012 and is accepting applications until the 7 January 2014.

The arts and cultural organisations that were recently supportd are:

Circus Starr is a charitable organisation that supports disabled and vulnerable children across the UK. They are being supported to create a reusable app to open up access to the arts to children with autism enabling them to gain prior understanding of an arts event and encourage attendance by alleviating the fears associated with unknown experiences
artsdepot, a North London arts venue, will launch a Silver Service digital membership scheme encouraging greater arts participation by older people. The development of this innovative service will be based on research of social media and digital technology use by the 65+ age group.
Extant, Britain's only professional performing arts company of visually impaired people, will create an immersiveinstallation exploring how people use their senses to engage with the arts, and develop new haptic navigation devices (devices that use the sense of touch) that aim to break down barriers between visually impaired and sighted cultural experiences.
Coney, interactive theatre makers, will create an online platform offering new ways for people at home to interact with a live show and its audience. Coney will make the first stages of a new performance using these tools, so people at home can collaborate, interact, influence action on stage and explore the live performance in new ways.
Yorkshire Dance will build a responsive online platform that will encourage audiences and the wider public to become more actively engaged in the creation and interpretation of contemporary dance. The technology will enable participants to interact directly with artists; share their feedback and interpretations of artistic ideas and works-in-progress; and exchange their ideas with others on the site.

Since the launch of the Digital R&D Fund for the Arts it has given funding and support to 24 digital projects. These projects range from Nottingham City Museum's augmented reality mobile app and Script's project that will test the commercial viability of mobile apps as an album format to Sheffield Doc Fest's experiment in connecting artists and audiences using 4G and high speed broadband.

The fund is also supporting a Cheltenham Festivals' project to create a new digital form of evaluating cultural events, enabling real time event feedback called Qualia. Qualia is currently open to user testing and can be downloaded if you have an iPhone or here if you have an Android phone.

To apply for the Digital R&D Fund for the Arts visit:


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From the sonic art archive

Kaffe Matthews -

August Rain In New York Doorways

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Recorded Live at Leaf Cafe on 4th May


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