THE fifth and final round of AmbITion Scotland funding for digital development saw over £100,000 awarded to 15 cultural and heritage organisations across Scotland yesterday.
With a total of 64 funding requests received, this final round attracted more applications than any of the four previous funding rounds, and saw more funds awarded than ever before.
Since the first Make:IT:Happen funding awards were announced 12 months ago, AmbITion Scotland has awarded over £450,000 to more than 50 organisations, helping cultural venues, artists networks, touring companies and heritage organisations to ‘get digitally fitter’..
Julie Tait, chief executive of Culture Republic, the organisation responsible for delivering the AmbITion Scotland project, said: “The cultivation of digital skills has never been more important for our sector: as people choose to interact with culture in new ways, more and more opportunities for engagement and participation between organisations, their peers and their audiences are developing online.
“The enthusiasm that we’ve seen for the AmbITion project since its inception is clear and encouraging evidence that cultural organisations all over Scotland are ready to embrace whatever opportunities digital innovation can unlock for the sector as a whole.”
Consistently, the Make:IT:Happen fund has attracted excellent applications from across the length and breadth of Scotland, from projects representing the full range and variety of the country’s arts.
This latest round of funding is no exception.
Hannah Rudman, of Rudman Consulting, founder of AmbITion and lead consultant for the AmbITion Scotland programme, explains: “There’s been a real difference made in the arts, culture, and heritage sector here in Scotland as organisations have been supported by AmbITion Scotland to go on digital development journeys.
“We’ve seen companies develop new artistic products with digital tools, we’ve seen organisations developing new digital ways of engaging audiences with culture.
“We’ve also seen cultural businesses develop new digital business models and operational practices. AmbITion Scotland’s support has ’made it happen’ in the arts across the nation.”
Round Five awards will support organisations with projects focusing on four distinct areas of digital development:
AmbITion Approach awards are for organisations exploring new digital directions, providing support to help them progress ideas and identify solutions that best match their own capacity, circumstances and future plans.
Funds were awarded to the Scottish Sculpture Workshop, Huntly, for the development and implementation of a digital content strategy; Edinburgh-based Art in Healthcare, to improve their current online offer and develop an alternative income stream; and Off the Rails Arthouse, Ladybank, to design a digital infrastructure that will support their future development plans.
Organisational Development funding is for organisations that wish to take advantage of digital technologies to grow their business, improve their efficiency or increase their capacity, and with over 30 excellent applications, this was the most hotly contended of the four award categories.
Five organisations were chosen for funding this week, two of which are receiving AmbITion funding for the first time: Paragon Music, Glasgow, will drive participation and audience engagement through the development of rich media content, and Dance House, also from Glasgow, have been funded for the adoption of a new cloud-based CRM system.
Previously funded for Digital Content Development, Toonspeak Young People’s Theatre, Glasgow, will use their Organisational Development funding to begin work on phase two of the development of their CRMS; Puppet Animation Scotland, Edinburgh will build on earlier funding from the same stream, updating their current CMS with open source solutions; and Uist Wool of Grimsay return to build on previous AmbITion Approach and Organisational Development funding awards, using this latest grant to establish an effective CRM system; train staff in digital/IT operations and develop e-commerce.
Digital Content Development funding enables organisations to create new digital content, or to make better use of the content they already have. Assessed by peer review, the Digital Content Development application process is itself designed as a learning journey for organisations, as they critically assess one another’s applications to determine where funds should be awarded.
Edinburgh International Film Festival have been funded to create and develop a year-round digital content strategy and La Banda, also based in Edinburgh, will develop an online community-building tool for the Struileag Shore to Shore event series.
Meanwhile, in Dundee, North East of North (NEoN) plan to publicly document five years of festival activity, making a previously hidden archive of digital assets available online.
Sustainable AmbITion funds help organisations to exploit digital technology to become greener in their operations, helping the arts and cultural sector establish itself as a force for environmental good.
Awards this week went to Touring Network, Inverness, who plan to develop their Tourbook platform to improve environmental impact across rural touring; Applied Arts Scotland, Edinburgh, to build environmental sustainability into their current process of organisational review; Scottish Music Centre, Glasgow, previously funded for Digital Content Development, who will develop online tutorial videos to make their training opportunities available nationally, and the National Theatre of Scotland, also based in Glasgow, for the development of a web-based Health and Safety management tool and a new Extranet facility.
AmbITion Scotland project manager, Ashley Smith-Hammond, has been a member of the expert assessment panel for AmbITion Approach, Organisational Development and Sustainable AmbITion across all five rounds of funding to date: “We’ve seen a consistently high quality and quantity of applications from Scottish cultural organisations and practices throughout the AmbITion programme, and for this final round the demand has been greater than ever.
“That’s a clear signal that this sector is already making real progress through digital technology when it comes to building skill sets and infrastructures, as well as making connections with their audiences.”
Designed and delivered by Culture Republic 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 – Technology Digital Media & Market Development, at Creative Scotland, said: “Creative Scotland are proud to support the AmbITion project and the Make:IT:Happen fund. It’s great that such a high calibre of applications was received from across Scotland and I’m sure the projects selected will offer opportunities for people to engage and interact with culture in new ways.”
More than simply a digital funding programme, the true strength and value of AmbITion Scotland and the Make:IT:Happen fund is reflected in the connections that the project has fostered across the sector.
Through formal and informal networking events, as well as through new connections forged with expert digital consultants and with peer organisations on parallel learning journeys, AmbITion Scotland is committed to making a lasting difference to the organisations that it supports.
Whilst Make:IT:Happen funding applications are now closed, AmbITion Scotland continues to support funded organisations through ongoing digital training and networking opportunities throughout Scotland.
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NOTES FOR EDITORS
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. Creative Scotland has four objectives: to develop and sustain a thriving environment for the arts, screen and creative industries; to support excellence in artistic and creative practice; to improve access to and participation in, arts and creative activity; and to deliver our services efficiently and effectively. In 2013/14, we will distribute over £100m in funding provided by the Scottish Government and the National Lottery.
For further information on Creative Scotland please visit www.creativescotland.com.
About Culture Republic
Culture Republic deliver a 360 degree view of how people engage with culture in Scotland, for professionals who need to develop audiences, grow revenue streams or understand the impact of changing population trends.
Follow Culture Republic: @culture_public
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 Republic
0141 530 2491 / firstname.lastname@example.org
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Contact: Jo Cowper