Media Release: Scotland’s arts, culture and heritage organisations receive over £91,000 for digital development

Make-IT-Happen teaser

SCOTLAND’S arts, culture and heritage organisations today received more than £91,000 in 14 separate National Lottery funding awards that will enable recipients to access and make the most of the opportunities presented by digital technologies.

From Comar, a new, island-based arts organisation keen to embed essential digital skills at the earliest stage of its organisational development in order to become an exemplar of rurally based arts practice; through to choirs, orchestras and film festivals such as NYCOS, NYOS and Take One Action that are exploring the power of digital to reach new national audiences and stakeholders, the list of grant awardees includes organisations at every stage of digital growth.

Today’s awards represent the fourth round of Make:IT:Happen funding from AmbITion Scotland, a digital development project that represents a core strand of Creative Scotland’s Cultural Economy Programme.

Project manager, Ashley Smith-Hammond, said: “Although AmbITion is a digital programme, one of its biggest strengths is the way that it helps arts and cultural organisations to build stronger businesses through links with peers all over the country. Lots of the applications we see are about helping organisations build the right relationships – with audiences or with contacts and advisors who can help them develop their business systems and processes to move their work forward. It’s about digital development, but it’s very much about real life connections, too.”

Divided into four distinct funding streams and dispersed through five rounds of awards from October 2012 to September 2013, the fund has been designed to allow organisations to graduate from one area of support to the next, as their digital confidence and capacity grows. A total of £272,900 has already been awarded to nearly 40 cultural and heritage organisations through Make:IT:Happen funding rounds one, two and three; the fifth and final round of funding is now open for applications.

Scottish National Jazz Orchestra (SNJO) began their Make:IT:Happen journey in October with an award from the entry-level AmbITion Approach stream, followed by a second award in May under the Digital Content Development stream. At a recent AmbITion networking session, SNJO’s Lyndsay Robertson enthused: “We wanted to drive more people to our site and let more people hear about concerts, as well as making the site more interactive. AmbITion’s consultant helped us to put together the next stage of development and the new site is well underway.’’

From Scotland’s central belt to the islands of Skye and Mull and the kingdom of Fife, the 14 organisations that received funding through round four today are as diverse geographically as they are in their cultural and artistic practice.

Birds of Paradise, an Edinburgh-based theatre company promoting the profile of disabled artists; Comar, the Mull-based arts organisation emerging from the fusion of An Tobar and Mull Theatre; Stills photography centre in Edinburgh and Creative Stirling are the latest recipients of AmbITion Approach funding, providing them with up to £5,000 funding as well as the contacts they need to engage an appropriate specialist who can help them assess and develop a wide-reaching strategy for organisational change.

Take One Action (TOA), the Edinburgh-based citizens’ film festival; Traverse Theatre, also in Edinburgh; Toonspeak Young People’s Theatre of Glasgow; Glasgow Film, and audio-arts company Hands On Studios of Skye all received Digital Content Development funding of up to £10,000, supporting them in the creation or better use of digital content.

Lung Ha’s Theatre Company of Edinburgh, NYCOS (National Youth Choir of Scotland) and NYOS (National Youth Orchestra of Scotland) will be building on previous AmbITion Approach awards with up to £10,000 funding under the Organisational Development stream, designed to help cultural organisations maximise the benefits of digital technology as they grow their businesses. Abbot House Heritage Centre of Dunfermline have also been awarded Organisational Development funding today.

Sabhal Mor Ostaig, National Centre for Gaelic Language and Culture on the Isle of Skye, have been funded through the Sustainable AmbITion stream to develop and promote a car-sharing website that will enable them to implement the final part of their carbon reduction plan. Sustainable AmbITion offers awards of up to £5,000 to support organisations in becoming more carbon aware and improve their green credentials through digital measures.

Hannah Rudman of Rudman Consulting and Envirodigital is lead consultant for the AmbITion Scotland programme – she explains: “The great thing about AmbITion’s Make:IT:Happen fund is that it provides such a wide range of support for digital development across all aspects of an organisation or practice, so it’s relevant for arts, culture and heritage businesses at every stage of their digital journey. The range of applications we received for the latest round of funding were impressive in both their breadth and quality, proving a real need and demand for this fund, and AmbITion Scotland’s wider programme of learning and networking opportunities. It’s a privilege to be able to work with such a wide range of organisations on some really impactful and imaginative projects.”

Through the first three rounds of funding awards and the networking sessions that accompanied them, the Make:IT:Happen fund has already helped nearly 40 organisations progress their digital journeys and share their experience with digital peers from Eigg to Aberdeenshire, and from Findhorn to Govan.

Designed and delivered by Culture Sparks and Rudman Consulting, the AmbITion Scotland programme and the Make:IT:Happen initiative are funded by the National Lottery through Creative Scotland.

Morgan Petrie, portfolio manager for Technology Digital Media at Creative Scotland, said: “The Ambition programme helps to ensure Scotland’s cultural sector has a sustainable digital infrastructure and can adapt to digital change. It’s great that this penultimate round of Make:IT: Happen funding is able to support more organisations, doing fantastic work across the country, developing their digital capacity.”

The final application period for Make:IT:Happen funding is now open, with final funding announcements due on 1 November 2013.

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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, which aims to develop the cultural economy by building the long-term organisational resilience and financial sustainability of the cultural and creative sector in Scotland. 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.

About Creative Scotland

Creative Scotland is the national organisation that funds and supports the development of Scotland’s arts, screen and creative industries. We are here to ensure that the arts, screen and creative industries continue to thrive and can achieve their full potential. Through the support that we provide, with others, Creative Scotland is committed to opening up these experiences and opportunities for everyone.

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.

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
Jo Cowper, associate director (Marketing), Culture Sparks
0141 248 6864 /

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Contact: Jo Cowper