Case studies

Find out more about the eight Digital R&D for arts and culture projects from the £500,000 pilot fund which began in 2011. Case study videos document the evolution of the projects so that the wider arts sector can benefit from the learning and use it to inform their own activities or applications to the £7 million fund.

The aims of the pilot projects were to use digital technologies to engage audiences in new ways and to create opportunities for new business models under one (or more) of the fund’s thematic areas: User Generated Content; Distribution and Exhibition; Mobile, Location and Games; Data and Archives; Resources; Education and Learning.

You can watch an overview of the Digital R&D programme and its pilot projects in this video, or select one of the individual pilot project videos below:

Each project has its own in–depth research report that provides a wealth of detail that helps to illuminate why some things worked and others didn’t. These will be essential reading for arts and cultural institutions thinking of innovating in these areas.

The pilot projects in depth

The projects were varied: Student Pulse focused on mobile ticketing for classical music concerts, where the smart phone provides advance information, easy booking and payment, and paperless tickets. Scratchr looked for an online space where new talent could develop their work with experienced producers, while in the public view. Culture Cloud tested nothing less than the use of social media to democratise the curation of art. Social Interpretation asked: could we have the same sharing relationship with museum objects that we have with music or photo images? DERO explored the market for live and ‘near–live’ streaming of classical music. Happenstance tested the embedding of technologists in arts centre teams. Punchdrunk experimented with a digital version of theatrical immersion and CulturApp explored the curation of the geographical space between museums.

Follow the links below to visit the individual case study pages where you will find more videos and download the research

Pilot project case studies

London Symphony Orchestra with Kodime and Salford University

Jo Johnson, Digital Marketing Manager at the London Symphony Orchestra, had already been working with technology company Kodime, to run a text–based service allowing students to buy reduced price concert tickets. The ‘Student Ambassadors’ scheme offered a free ticket for each one bought through a text message system. But the high administration cost and the prevalence of ‘one–off’ sales, encouraged thinking about updating the scheme.

Imperial War Museum with Gooi, University College London, Exeter University, Salford University and MTM London

Museums and galleries have always been interested in technology which can enrich the visitor’s experience, but contemporary digital media now opens up the possibility of the public directly engaging with an object and contributing to its understanding. 

Punchdrunk with MIT Media Labs, University of Dundee and University of West England

Punchdrunk is a successful UK–based theatre company that specialise in ‘immersive’ audience involvement. Their shows are usually a sell–out, and therefore with growing demand to experience their work they were a natural candidate to explore the growing opportunities around live digital distribution.

The Sage Gateshead with Fusion Analytics and Cambridge University

Claire Harvey was based at video company Aframe when she proposed a project to The Sage Gateshead about expanding and enhancing their live concerts. The outcome was ‘Developing Enhanced audiences and Revenue streams for Orchestra and ensemble performances’, or DERO, a network that would bring together musicians, concert halls, mixed arts venues, audiences and digital distribution.

Mixed arts venues in semi–rural locations, such as the Alnwick Playhouse,