Digital R&D Fund for the Arts: Participants two years on

Arts Council England,
11 January 2018, England

This report is an evaluation of the participants of the Digital R&D Fund for the Arts, charting their ongoing work and perceptions in relation to technology.

The research focused partly on detailed interviews with 11 of the 52 arts organisations funded through the Digital R&D Fund for the Arts. 

Key findings

  • Five have secured additional funding to continue their R&D project
  • A further four projects created a product or service that has remained ‘live’ and in use, although often with minimal updates (e.g. bug fixes only) and with no extra funding
  • In a number of cases, the project has lived on in other ways: through evolving partnerships, or a subsequent generation of projects inspired by the Fund
  • Nearly half of the interviewees said that in the two years since the Fund closed they have continued to reap benefits from their projects in terms of reaching and engaging audiences


Arts Council England and Nesta commissioned MTM to study the long-term impact of the Digital R&D Fund for the Arts. The Fund ended in 2015, however several projects continued to be active in the period 2015 - 2017. This report looks at the longer-term impact of the R&D fund on the participating arts organisations, along with providing some additional comparison between funded organisations and the wider arts and cultural sector.

The study uses data from Arts Council England and Nesta’s Digital Culture survey 2013 – 2017, along with qualitative interviews with 11 of the funded arts organisations.