Digital arts fund extended

A fund for digital arts projects in Wales has been extended for two years.

The Digital R&D Fund – worth £400,000 – aims to uncover ideas and insights that’ll benefit the arts sector in Wales.

It was set up in 2013 by innovation charity Nesta and has so far funded seven digital projects from right across the country.

They are:

UCAN Go – a user-led app that supports people to navigate their way around arts venues. It’s particularly useful for people with visual impairments.

Please Switch on your Mobile Phones – a pioneering project that encourages audiences to use their smartphones or tablets to provide the raw materials that can be turned into new pieces of dance.

Tocyn – a ticketing and crowdfunding platform that allows audience members to donate their booking fees to one of a number of community arts projects.

Arts, Archives and Technology – a project that explores how archive material might be used to enhance audience reach or develop new business models through gamification and artistic interpretation.

Torf – an online tool that allows arts organisations to create conversations with their audiences, allowing data to be captured in more playful ways.

Sibrwd – an innovative platform that ‘whispers’ into the ear of the audience member through headphones linked to their smartphone. This allows non-Welsh speakers and learners to follow Welsh language productions.

iBeacons – an iOS and Android mobile application that utilises new iBeacon technology to deliver extra information to visitors to arts exhibitions.

The extended fund will work on the same basis, though there will be a larger emphasis on support and research before development of projects. Applications will open in autumn.

Rob Ashelford, programme manager of the fund in Wales, said: “We’re delighted to have worked with Arts Council of Wales and AHRC to help realise the potential digital brings to the arts in Wales.

“As well as directly supporting the successful projects, the wider learning gained will inform how we provide support for the sector in a rapidly changing digital environment.”

Ken Skates, the deputy minister for culture, sport and tourism, added: “My ambition is to see Wales become the most active and creative nation in Europe.

“To reach new audiences and keep the arts thriving we need to be innovative and embrace the power of digital technology. The Digital R&D Fund for the Arts in Wales has proven to be a fantastic opportunity.

“The Fund is demonstrating how the arts and humanities can use digital technology to create innovative solutions to some of the challenges that they face. It is a great way for our arts and culture sector to gather and share evidence, both within Wales and beyond.”

Image credit: Tax credits/Flickr