A team from the Birmingham Centre for Media and Cultural Research (BCMCR) at BCU is one of a group of academic evaluators working on a range of projects funded under the Digital Research & Development Fund for Arts and Culture. This fund was established by the National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts (NESTA) in conjunction with the Arts Council England (ACE) and Arts & Humanities Research Council (AHRC).

The partnership between NESTA, ACE and AHRC was formed in order to support arts and cultural organisations across England that wish to work with digital technologies in order to:

expand their audience reach and engagement and/or`

explore new business models

Following the launch of the R&D Fund in early June 2011, 495 projects applied (their applications amounted to a total of £28.5 million in relation to £0.5 million for the funding of all successful applications). As a result of the application process, 18 projects were shortlisted and interviewed before 8 were selected to receive funding.

Funded projects include:

Battersea Arts Centre (BAC) working with Videojuicer and The Arts Collective
Exhibition Road Cultural Group working with the Dickens Museum and Seren Partners
Imperial War Museum with Knowledge Integration and University College London
London Symphony Orchestra with Aurora Orchestra and Kodime
New Art Exchange with Artfinder
Punchdrunk with MIT Media Lab
The Sage Gateshead plus Manchester Camerata, Aurora, Berwick Maltings, Alnwick Playhouse and Durham Gala with Videojuicer and Aframe
Site Gallery working with Lighthouse and Caper

In a subsequent blog we’ll examine the funding process and some of the online discussion about it and what this tells us about the cultural field and funding in the current political context.  However, the final projects were selected using these criteria and as is stated at the NESTA website:

Each of the projects were selected because they will produce research and data that other arts and cultural organisations will value highly and, possibly, develop new products/services that can be used by other organisations.

In the funding round, BCMCR pitched to act as a technology provider in two very interesting projects (which were unsuccessful I gaining funding), which we’ll write about elsewhere. We also applied in our more traditionally scholarly guise in order to be academic evaluators on the R&D projects, and in this mode we were successfully selected as part of a wider shortlist. We were invited to participate in a collaborative workshop with the funded projects, where we met with the cultural organizations and their technology providers.

As a result of the workshop, nine researchers or research teams were selected to work with the 8 projects, as follows:

Oxford University Consulting working with Battersea Arts Centre
MTM London working with Exhibition Road Cultural Group
Horizon at the University of Nottingham working with Imperial War Museum
University of Salford and MTM London working with Imperial War Museum~
University of Salford working with London Symphony Orchestra
Birmingham City University working with New Art Exchange
University of West England, Bristol and University of Dundee working with Punchdrunk
Cambridge University and Fusion Alliance working with The Sage Gateshead

In the next post, we’ll elaborate on the nature of ‘Culture Cloud’ and our own role as evaluators.

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Exciting stuff!

January 25, 2012 2:33 pm

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