Open Culture 2011 – Funding Digital

Marco de Niet, Digitaal Erfgoed Nederland

All looking for new business models for digital – culture sector and commercial sector. Sometimes we are good a ‘doing’ but not so good at ‘sustaining’. – survey showed there is more budget available for digitisation than there is planning what to digitise and why?

‘Business Model Innovation Cultural Heritage’ – booklet about new value propositions. Look at different levels:

analog ‘in house’
digital ‘in house’
digital in controlled network
‘out there’ on the web (this is the ‘new world’ of social media; open data; linked open data; semantic web)

How can we think about our role in this move towards digital. Business Model Canvass (Alex Osterwalder) – has following components:

  1. Value propositions
  2. Customer segments
  3. Channels
  4. Customer relationships
  5. Revenue stream
  6. Key activities
  7. Key resources
  8. Key partnerships
  9. Cost structure

1-5 are outward facing things, 6-9 are ‘back office’ tasks

Major obstacles for cultural heritage to achieve business model innovation…

  1. Organisations in transition
    • Didn’t realise that as we embraced technology, so did our audience
  2. Open ICT infrastructure
    • IT moving to generic solutions in collaboration; tendency for orgs traditionally to do custom; in-house
  3. Clearing copyright – four ways to dealing with it
    • Opt out – put it online and take it down if people complain. Can get away with it if you are a small player
    • Clearing by the institution – costly; time-consuming
    • Clearing through an outside organisation – outsource risk
    • Changing legislation
  4. Creating revenue – how can we make money with digitisation – 5 ways
    • Put stuff online, hope people come to the institution
    • Become a broker of digital collection – e.g. put low res images online and sell high-res
    • Digital curator – provide context not just objects
    • Digital branding – create and build the brand – e.g. Powerhouse Museum – become world renowned
    • Product bundle: trans-media combination of various sources of income

Fiona Talbott, Heritage Lottery FunPolicy Changes:
Traditional HLF only supported projects that had real objects at core (although there could be some digital component). Now possibility of allowing digital only projects – needs approval though.

Use of digital technology – should this be compulsory in all projects – but this was seen as over prescriptive

Digital policy issues – want to see sustainability as key. Project Management will have to go beyond just the ‘launch’.

Projects have to be about Audiences first and foremost. Resulting content must be publicly accessible – not paywalled – think Guardian not Times…

Make use of resources – your staff are you most valuable resource …
Fiona see’s possibility of HLF funding hackdays
Don’t re-invent the wheel with technology – use stuff that is already there – off-the-shelf; open source projects

Exploit social media – already lots doing this, but needs to go across the heritage sector…

Emma Wakelin, AHRC

Weren’t cut as badly as some … but much tighter guidelines and more strings attached.
Realised big need to fund academic to work with others – not about consultancy but about knowledge exchange and creation. £20 million pounds available

New call coming out for a centre to look at copyright and business models – covering creative industries, including cultural heritage – this is cross funder initiative – £5 million available.

Invite people to think about the impact of digital technologies on the way we do arts and humanities research – a theme which will be active of the next four years…

Also fund the ‘Digging into Data’ challenge – largescale data analysis; European Net Heritage project (

AHRC won’t fund projects where sole aim is ‘to get stuff digitised’ – but can fund projects with digitisation components if greater aim in line with AHRC remit.

Jon Pratty, Arts Council England

Five main goals – and these are used when looking at funding applications:

  1. Talent and artistic excellence are thriving and celebrated
  2. More people experience and are inspired by the arts
  3. The arts are sustainable, resilient and innovative
  4. The arts leadership and workforce are diverse and highly skilled
  5. Every child and young person has the opportunity to experience the richness of the arts

Won’t necessarily have to meet everyone of these criteria – e.g. a digital project might meet 2, 3 and 4Arts Council going to be working with NESTA and AHRC…
NESTA R&D fund [£500k] – but this is to get moving in the direction of the ACE Digital Innovation and Development Fund [£15-20m]

Also announced with BBC ‘Building digital capacity in the Arts’ scheme (

The funding schemes broadly sector-agnostic – so not limited to specific areas or types of organisation.

Themes emerging from pilot period:

  1. User generated content and social media – harnessing the power of the Internet and social media to reach audiences and to give them a platform for discussion, participation and creativity
  2. Distribution – how digital can enable this
  3. Mobile, location and games – developing a new generation of mobile and location-based experience and service, including games
  4. Data and archive – making archives, collections and other data more widely available to other arts and cultural organisation and the general public
  5. Resources – using digital tech to improve way in which arts/culturla orgs are run – business efficiency and income generation and collaborations
  6. Education and learning – creating education resources/experiences for children, teachers, young people, adult learning etc.

Remember – existing ACE funding routes such as ‘Grants for the Arts’ are open to museums and libraries – Arts related collaborations or explorations – examples:

  • RAMM – artists working within collection
  • Fitzwilliam – China project
  • Hove – blacksmith artist ‘let loose’ in the collection

Will also be some millions as a ‘strategic digital’ fund – to fill gaps

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