Explore key outcomes and learning points from the Digital R&D Fund for the Arts programme in this evaluation by Tom Fleming Creative Consultancy.
The evaluation scope and methodology
The aim of this evaluation, undertaken by Tom Fleming Creative Consultancy (TFCC), is to provide an overview account of the Digital R&D Fund for the Arts programme and to give the Fund partners an independent assessment of the effectiveness of the programme in meeting its overarching purpose and objectives. It provides an aerial view of key outcomes and introduces a set of learning points and strategic questions for funding partners and the wider sector to consider.
The methodology included:
- Interviews with a sample of funding and strategic partners.
- Case study interviews with eight funded projects (eight arts/cultural; seven technologists; five research partners (see Section 5 for a sample of longer cases studies – shorter case studies are included within the body of the report).
- Participation in two events: The Digital R&D Fund for the Arts Learning Event at Nesta HQ on 11 June 2015, and the annual Digital R&D Fund for the Arts showcase event ‘Making Digital Work’ in Birmingham on 7 October 2015.
- Document review; including a sample of the 52 final project reports, the three Digital Culture research reports, and other programme related documentation (see Appendix 1 for list of documents reviewed).
The evaluation approach is shaped by the Digital R&D Fund Logic Model. This is an advanced version of the model designed by partners at the start of the programme. It aims to capture the core intended outcomes – greater engagement with audiences and new business models – articulated in the overall aim, as well as a broader set of targets indicated through the Fund objectives and original logic model. Our revised logic model was developed with the Fund partners and priority outcomes to explore were agreed. These included both short- term outcomes to have been achieved within the life of the programme and medium-term ones anticipated beyond the lifetime of the programme
Section 3 of this report presents the findings for each of the broad outcomes. Where there is crossover, a number of the outcomes are brought together under a single heading. The priority outcomes this evaluation explores are:
Reaching and engaging audiences
- New ways of engaging audiences – new audiences and deepening relationships (short-term outcome).
- Greater audience engagement through digital means (medium-term outcome).
New business models
- New business models – mechanisms for generating income and public good (medium-term outcome).
Collaboration to support innovation
- Greater understanding of three-way collaborations – arts, tech and researchers – in supporting innovation (short-term outcome).
- More arts/tech/research collaborations inspired (medium-term outcome).
- Culture change within funded partner organisations: arts organisations embedding digital; tech organisations, embracing cross-sector working; researchers generating new insights and practices in cross-sector collaborations (short-term outcome).
Increased digital capacity in arts and cultural organisations
- Increased digital capacity in arts organisations (short-term outcome).
- Greater understanding of what is possible with digital and how to apply technology (medium-term outcome).
Improving the knowledge base
- New body of research and evidence of arts sector R&D and digital innovation (short-term outcome).
- Better understanding of R&D in the arts and cultural sector and among policymakers, researchers and investors (medium-term outcome).
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