Arts Council Creates Fund For Arts To Enter Digital Age

“The Arts should embrace new business models and technology” – Ed Vaizey

Culture Minister Ed Vaizey, speaking at the Culture Change Conference in London last week, announced that the Arts Council and NESTA will draw up proposals for a scheme to support the notion that, The arts industry should explore innovative and creative ways of serving its audiences and generating revenue”. This aim will be supported with up to a million pounds of seed funding for smaller projects that will share their learning. The scheme is intended to be available across cultural and creative industries, whether they receive Government funding or not. The grants are focused on helping organisations become more business-like, and to offer practical help with the ‘nitty gritty’ of business.

This announcement comes with the release of new research by the Arts Council, which shows how the British population is evolving in their approach to engaging with the Arts. The Internet is being used by more than half of the population to access the arts and the study finally outlines the importance of this vehicle. It was compiled in two phases and shows the growing importance of the Internet in ways the arts are experienced by the public. Every day millions of Britons engage with the arts and cultural sector through digital media. This engagement comes in many forms and is in a constant state of evolution, driven by technological change.

It has finally realized that five years ago, mobile phones were for texts and calls and Facebook barely existed. Today, a quarter of us have a smartphone through which we can listen to a song, or watch a trailer for an artistic performance. Over 40,000 people track the Royal Opera House, and over 58,000 the British Museum, through Facebook, while FACT in Liverpool has 7,000 Twitter followers. 

This research represents the first time that this online engagement with arts and culture in England has been captured and quantified.

The findings in this report confirm that engaging with the arts through digital media is now a mainstream activity. Crucially, this engagement augments, rather than replaces, the live experience. Just as live music has grown stronger in the era of iTunes, so people still want shared, live experiences in other arts and

cultural genres. However, this is not to demote the Internet to the role of marketing channel: a significant minority of us uses the Internet to consume, share and create artistic content. Specifically, our survey of a 2000-strong sample of the English adult online population finds that:


1. Over half of the online population (53%) have used the Internet to engage with the arts and

Cultural sector in the last 12 months:

The most common activities centre around discovery of information about a live event or

artist/performer (33%) and ticketing (20%)

Other key activities include watching or listening to a clip of an arts performance or exhibition (16%),

Whilst a further 8% had watched or listened to a full arts performance

6% say they have used the Internet to “create something artistic” in the past 12 months.

Online arts and cultural activities

Found out more about artist/performer or event/exhibition 33%

Viewed work of others that is creative or artistic blogs/YouTube


Purchased tickets 20%

Viewed/listened to a clip of an arts performance or exhibition 16%

Found out how to improve your creative skills 15%


Investigated ways of taking part eg lessons, clubs or societies 13%


Viewed/listened to recording of full arts performance/exhibition 8%


Uploaded something creative or artistic that you created yourself

eg music, animation, photos you took as an artistic activity 7%


Used a forum for discussing arts & culture/commented on a blog 7%


Downloaded software/mobile phone app(s) related to the arts 


Used internet/mobile to create something creative or artistic 6%

Publicised something related to arts and culture 5%

Base: English online population (n=2000)

Down load full report  To download the research report by MTM London, click on






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