How Golant Media Ventures can support you in your bid to The Space commissioning round


1 June 2018, John Denton

Do you need funds for that digital arts and culture project you’ve been considering? Then you should apply to The Space 2018 commissioning round before 29 June

Dance Umbrella 'Vertical'. Commissioned By The Space. Photo Foteini Christofilopoulou.

Dance Umbrella ‘Vertical’. Commissioned by The Space. Photo: Foteini Christofilopoulou.

We constantly hear that ‘Culture is Digital’ but what does this mean for your organisation?

Since April, if you’re an Arts Council England National Portfolio Organisation, this means you now have a digital policy and plan to implement over the next four years. But having a plan and a vision still needs you to create the time and energy to deliver something meaningful. 

In launching the ‘Culture is Digital’ report in March, Matt Hancock, Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, said: “…Britain’s bread will be buttered at the link between cultural brilliance and technological excellence…” There’s now some ‘dough’ available for this courtesy of The Space, funded by ACE and the BBC, which has two commissioning strands availablebut be quick as the submission needs to be in by Friday 29 June (midday).

To be eligible for one of these strands, your project must be primarily arts focused and you have to be an arts or cultural organisation (museums and libraries count) whose registered office is in England.

1. Low-cost R&D strand

This is focused on projects that can be turned around relatively quickly and have a measurable audience outcome. They should help you increase the digital reach of existing work or collections, ideally to diverse or underserved audiences.

As these are research and development projects then they should test approaches to extending your work digitally, while allowing your organisation to acquire new skills and gain practical, sustainable experience in the creation of digital content and engaging online audiences. We would recommend adopting a service design approach with a very defined audience group and detailing desired outcomes that you hope to achieve, which you should then test against.

The Space is particularly interested in applications from diverse-led organisations.

Key points to note:

  • Budgets for each project are expected to be in the range of £5,000 to £15,000. The minimum amount of funding from The Space per project will be £3,000 and the normal maximum funding per project will be £11,000, though this could be higher in exceptional circumstances. 
  • Organisations must provide at least 25% matched funding, in cash or in kind.

2. Capture strand

In partnership with the BBC, this strand is very much focused on the capture, broadcast and digital distribution of live arts performances and events for audiences that showcase and increase the reach of existing activities.

Key points to note:
  • Project budgets will typically be between £75,000 and £120,000. 
  • You must be able to contribute at least 30% of the project budget in cash or in kind, either yourselves or via third party funding. 
  • The maximum budget contribution from The Space will usually be £70,000, rising to £85,000 in exceptional circumstances.
  • The project must be suitable for BBC TV broadcast and wider digital distribution. 
  • It should help to build production and audience development skills in your organisation.

For both strands:

  • The project must produce content that is made available to public audiences and help to build digital production and audience development skills in your organisation.
  • The project must be published by 31 March 2019.
  • You should be willing to share insights gained from the project with the arts and cultural sector via a case study published by The Space after project completion.

One of our Golant Media Ventures Associates, John Denton, has successfully won and delivered two previous commissions so has a good knowledge of how to construct a winning bid. He has created a short checklist to help you decide if you should bid:

Artistic considerations

  • Do you have full (broadcast) rights over any material you choose to film? If not would these be straightforward to acquire?
  • What new angle would filming bring to an existing performance piece? For example, is this a straight recording? Will it have the addition of additional footage such as archive? Or will it create a framing device to enable the work to be understood by a wider audience?
  • What audience would you aim this at and why? Do you have any research on this audience and their needs?

Operational considerations

  • Do you have the capacity to manage another project? 
  • If not who could help you deliver it and would they be able to demonstrate a commitment (letter of support/ budget view) to include in any bid?

Filming experience

  • Do you have a video production team you have already worked with that could help you make a film? Or any experience yourselves?

For the research and development lo-fi

  • Are there any digital ideas you have been thinking about that could help you as an organisation reach more or new audiences?
  • The word around the arts is resilience! Is there something that digital could help you do that would make you more resilient and less reliant on arts funding or single funders? For example, handling data better? Developing a social media presence that delivers on ROI?
  • And again do you have the capacity to manage this?

GMV has a great track record of helping arts and cultural organisations win funding for digital projects, so we would be very happy to talk with anyone considering a submission.

The clock is ticking: you have until midday on 29 June 2018 to submit your bid, so get in touch now.

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