Media Release: Scotland’s arts, culture and heritage sectors receive over £85k investment to meet digital ambitions

TODAY, Wednesday 31st October, 2012, Scotland’s arts, culture and heritage organisations have received over £85,000 investment of National Lottery funds to capitalise on opportunities presented by digital technologies.

From a croft on the Isle of Uist to Scotland’s International Science Festival and a mobile cinema taking movies to the country’s most remote outposts, 13 organisations have been successful in their applications for funding across four investment strands:

AmbITion Approach (up to £5,000) supports organisations during the early stages of their digital development by providing an external specialist to help them assess and develop a wide-reaching strategy for organisational change.

Successful applicants are Edinburgh International Science Festival, Scottish National Jazz Orchestra, Uist Wool, Lung Ha’s Theatre Company, National Youth Choir of Scotland (NYCoS) and Cupar Arts.

Digital Content Development (£500-£10,000) gives organisations the opportunity to enhance their digital development activity through the creation, or better use of digital content.

Successful applicants are Archaeology Scotland, YDance and Scottish Music Centre.

Organisational Development (£500-£10,000) supports organisations to take advantage of digital technologies to grow their businesses, develop ideas and improve operational capacity.

Successful applicants are Findhorn’s Bodysurf Scotland, Govan’s Plantation Productions and Glasgow’s GalGael Trust.

Sustainable AmbITion (£500 – £5,000) supports organisations to be carbon-aware and improve their environmental credentials through funding new digital technologies or approaches.

Successful applicant is Regional Screen Scotland.

The investment has been made available through AmbITion Scotland’s new Make:IT:Happen fund which is part of Creative Scotland’s national digital development programme.

Hannah Rudman, lead consultant, AmbITion Scotland said: “The Make:IT:Happen fund has evolved out of the work that AmbITion Scotland has undertaken since its inception in 2009.

“During that time, the programme has enabled many organisations, large and small, digitally sophisticated as well as digital newcomers, to develop their businesses for increased sustainability through opportunities offered by digital technologies.”

Julie Tait, director, Culture Sparks, said: “Make:IT:Happen funding can be used to support a project in its entirety or to augment a bigger digital ambition.

“Funds are available to not for profit arts, culture and heritage groups and organisations with relatively little or no digital knowledge or experience as well as well as to those that have some competence with digital projects, but limited resources.”

The decision making process for three funds – Organisational Development, Sustainable AmbITion and AmbITion Approach – is carried out by a panel of individuals who have a wide range of expertise in digital developments within the arts, culture and heritage sector and will draw on the experience of individuals and advisors who have been instrumental to AmbITion Scotland’s work since 2009.

AmbITion Scotland trialed a participatory peer eview method of decision-making for applications to the Digital Content Development funding strand.

Iain Munro, director of Creative Development at Creative Scotland, said: “It’s terrific to see such a diverse range of organisations capitalising on opportunities presented by digital technologies through Make:IT:Happen.

“We are delighted to partner with NESTA, AmbITion Scotland and Sync through our Cultural Economy programme to build a sustainable digital infrastructure for Scotland’s Cultural sector.”

A further four application periods for the Make:IT:Happen fund are planned between October 2012 and September 2013 are:

•           October – December 2012 (decisions by 31 January 2013)

•           January – March 2013 (decisions by 30 April 2013)

•           April – June 2013 (decisions by 31 July 2013)

•           July – September 2013 (decisions by 30 October 2013)

Full Make:IT:Happen information, funding guidelines and application forms at:

Funded by The National Lottery via Creative Scotland (as part of Creative Scotland’s Cultural Economy programme), the AmbITion Scotland programme and the Make:IT:Happen initiative are designed and delivered by Culture Sparks and Rudman Consulting.

Summaries of funded projects:

AmbITion Approach
Scottish National Jazz Orchestra
To examine current methods, mechanisms and online presence to ensure they’re robust, sustainable and effective in enhancing SNJO’s reputation and to identify gaps in our multi-channel communications that will engage with audiences worldwide. SNJO will take expert advice to choose best partners and utilise our budget most effectively.

Uist Wool
Established in 2011 Uist Wool is advancing with plans for the construction of a spinning mill and wool centre in the Outer Hebrides. As a social enterprise, Uist Wool is keen to develop practical digital media and IT implementation plans that can be embedded in the organisation from the outset.

National Youth Choir of Scotland
The AmbITion Approach will assist us in generating a clear, comprehensive and confident plan for the organisation’s future digital development. By improving efficiency, communication and hopefully sourcing new income streams this will provide a solid foundation for our ambitious artistic plans in the years ahead.

Lung Ha
Lung Ha’s Theatre Company has a two strand ambition 1) To be a market leader in delivering dynamic digital communications to a wide audience 2) To be a leading example of how to open up digital communications to give people with learning disabilities the best possible opportunity to engage with our work through digital media.

Edinburgh International Science Festival
The AmbITion Approach is the first step in developing a coherent strategy for increasing the reach of Edinburgh International Science Festival including development of digital projects to engage wider audiences. This fund will allow us to commission external support to assess our current position and make decisions on future investment.

Cupar Arts
Cupar Arts will undertake the AmbITion Approach to support its plans to develop mobile resources for its festival attendees. Cupar Arts plans for ongoing staff development around mobile tools and opportunities for audience engagement in order to enhance its overall digital capacity.

Digital Content Development

YDance, working in partnership with Graphical House, plans to develop a digital hub to more effectively engage with current and potential audiences. This hub would host a range of digital content and resources created to inspire, encourage and support ongoing audience engagement and break down existing barriers to that engagement.

Archaeology Scotland
As part of our wider “From the Ground Up” project Archaeology Scotland will create an interactive, searchable, map based webpage displaying information on new archaeological sites, activities and finds as the work is reported. We will engage with the active archaeological community and reach out to the many groups not currently reporting.

Scottish Music Centre
The Scottish Music Centre will digitize the cream of its collection of sheet music and sound recordings, making it available to a world-wide audience, with access copies integrated in the online catalogue and online shop, as well as allowing the Centre to carry out similar work for third parties.

Organisational Development

Bodysurf Scotland
Bodysurf’s ambition is to develop a new engaging and dynamic website as enjoyable as our programme, supporting the aspirations and expectations of our customers in an exciting and usable way as well as to create an innovative interface integrated with a customer database, enabling the tailoring of resources for our clients’ diverse interests.

Plantation Productions
Plantation Productions will produce a community digital channel and associated digital marketing services, raising the profile and increasing the reach and accessibility of the South West Arts and Culture Programme.

Galgael Trust
Galgael Trust will launch a new web based outlet for our craft products. At the same time it will re brand across the board providing a fresh look for our organisation and a new online shop.

Sustainable AmbITion

Regional Screen Scotland
Regional Screen Scotland will undertake pioneering research work that will allow us to articulate the carbon footprint of a Screen Machine programme and how it can be reduced, to stakeholders and customers.

Notes to Editors:

1. About AmbITion Scotland

AmbITion Scotland is a digital development programme specifically designed to support individuals and organisations working in the arts, culture and heritage sectors in Scotland. It helps organisations and individuals grow in their capability, capacity, creativity and confidence to make the most of the opportunities of digital technologies.

AmbITion helps organisations become digitally fitter so they can adapt to the social, cultural, and economic changes of the digital technology revolution.

AmbITion Scotland is supported by The National Lottery through Creative Scotland, and is a core piece of Creative Scotland’s Cultural Economy Programme. AmbITion Scotland works strategically with digital development programme partners to offer a range of opportunities for digital learning and development, experimentation, and innovation to the Scottish cultural sector

2. About Creative Scotland

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. 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. More information about the programme can be found at:  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. More details can be found here: 

3. About Culture Sparks

Culture Sparks is the intelligence and innovation partnership for the cultural sector.  Creative organisations across Scotland work with us because we unlock innovation, encourage experimentation, promote collaboration and make knowledge about people as audiences, visitors, producers, participants and creators real.

4. About Rudman Consulting

Rudman Consulting helps organisations and individuals maximise the opportunities, minimise the risks, and manage the impacts of getting digital.

We work to envision and build business models or rejuvenate and adapt existing ones, according to the opportunities of digital technologies.

For further information/images/interviews:

Wendy Grannon T: +44 (0) 07916 137 632 E:

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Contact: Wendy Grannon