The 2024 Studio Innovation Fund – applications now closed
This year, the fund aims to support greater collaboration and partnership working with Studio Residents to explore creative technology solutions that address pressing social issues.
The link between societal concerns and technological progress has never been more crucial or conspicuous. Beneficial creative uses of technology spans from employing digital tools to enhance environmental education and communication, increasing STEM skills, utilising social media as a platform for advocacy and activism, to advancements in technologies for health aimed at mitigating healthcare disparities.
Over the last three years of the Innovation Fund, we’ve seen a wide range of projects addressing local and regional need. These have included supporting young people to re-engage with learning through the creative use of AI; a sound device helping visually impaired people to connect through movement; the development of accessible theatre production design and support for neurodivergent artists; and raising awareness of the unethical patenting of botany and the indigenous communities affected via AR and performance. We will continue to focus on freelancers, micro-businesses, social enterprises and third sector organisations but now require that all projects involve at least one other partner – including a current Studio Resident – and together work to combine creativity and tech to address a social issue. The funding supports projects over a six-month period, beginning in February and ending with a showcase/dissemination event in July 2024.
Supported by the University’s strategic Centre for Cultural and Creative Industries, the fund utilises a UKRI Policy Support Fund grant from Research England, the purpose of which is to support new interdisciplinary programmes that help solve pressing public policy challenges. This links to the ambitions of the West of England Combined Authority (WECA) Cultural Plan and its visions for social change and the growth of the creative industries in the region, as well as the core policies of the Bath and North East Somerset’s Corporate Strategy.
We invite proposals from current Studio Residents as well as external freelancers, micro-businesses, social enterprises and third sector organisations who are interested in developing a new partnership for creative technology* projects that can be progressed from February to July 2024, and which take innovative approaches to achieve positive social impact*.
* By ‘creative technology’ we mean interdisciplinary projects where partners work creatively with technology across areas such as digital, arts, culture, science, or the humanities.
*By ‘social impact’ we mean the positive effect on people and communities that happens because of an action, activity, project, programme or policy.
Projects are required to involve a current Studio Resident, either as the lead partner or in a supporting role, which will ensure that one organisation has a base in Bath & North East Somerset (B&NES). Other partners can be based anywhere, and projects can be working to address a social issue locally, regionally, nationally or beyond.
Project proposals must include defined outputs, including the desired social impact. Projects can be research-based, business-led, and/or about developing a product or service. For example, outputs could include a research paper, a prototype or product, collaborative or co-created community-based R&D, or engagement / profile-raising activity with specific groups.
The fund can support work that is already underway to help push it forward with a new partnership approach, and equally, we hope that projects will continue to progress beyond the fund period.
This year’s total fund is £30,000, and from this we expect to issue awards of different sizes, allowing for a range of organisations and partnerships to apply with projects that have different scopes. Applicants will be required to identify which level of award they are applying for and provide a budget breakdown.
The fund is available as follows:
- TWO awards of £2,000
- THREE awards of £5,000
- ONE award of £10,000
- And ONE top-up award of £1,000 is available for awarded projects to fund specific future showcase or fundraising activity
Awards are issued in instalments, with the final payment made in July 2024 on completion of an end of project evaluation interview with The Studio Impact Officer.
- Projects must involve innovative and creative approaches to and/or uses of technology for positive social impact.
- Projects must involve at least two partners with one acting as the lead applicant.
- Lead applicants can be either a freelancer, micro businesses, and/or social enterprise or third sector organisation. Other partners can be outside of these categories.
- All projects must involve a current Studio Resident, whether the lead applicant or not.
- Interested parties who have not already received funding from The Studio are especially encouraged to apply, (but previous awardees are eligible to apply for a second time only).
- Only one award can be applied for per individual/organisation as the lead applicant, however they can be a named partner in other applications.
The deadline for proposals is 10am, Monday 15th January 2024. Shortlisting will be completed soon after this, looking first at eligibility, and then the spread of project partners, aims and approaches, and the identified areas of social impact.
The decision panel will include: Jane Prophet, CCCI Co-Director, Anna Garner, Principle Enterprise Officer at B&NES, and Nona Hunter, Creative Industries Lead at WECA. All applicants will be notified of the outcome later in January, and then the fund period and project work will begin from February 2024 (to the end of July).
There will be some creative producer support for awarded projects throughout this time along with a follow up networking event focusing on supporting fundraising and next steps.
Applicants will also be required to provide feedback during the fund period – and at two points up to 12-months after the fund delivery – to support impact evaluation and the ongoing improvement of the Studio Innovation Fund for successful applicants within this round and for those applying in the future. The impact evaluation time is a contractual requirement of fund recipients and one hour time allocation is incorporated into the fund allowance.
The expected fund timeline is as follows:
|6-8pm, Tues 19th December 2023
|Testbed event at The Studio – meet Studio Residents and find collaborators
|10am, Mon 15th January 2024
|Deadline for project proposals
|By end of January 2024
|All applicants informed of panel decision
|July 2024 (date tbc)
|Projects completed & showcase event
End of Project Impact Interview, online or in person – up to 30 minutes
|Project Legacy Impact Interview, online – up to 15 minutes
|Project Legacy Impact Interview, online – up to 15 minutes
How to apply
Applications are now closed.
In the form, you will need to provide details of the partners, a project overview (min 500 words) outlining how it is innovative, the desired social impact, and what will happen and when including project outputs. You will also need to provide a budget (which could include areas such as staff / research time, materials, equipment, overheads, marketing, travel, etc).
Please include any links to websites of previous work or research to support your application where available. There is also the option of uploading any additional relevant supporting documents, if wanted.
If you have any questions about the fund, making an application, or if you need any support or alternative ways of accessing the application form, please contact Louisa Clark, Project Manager, on firstname.lastname@example.org. The information you supply will be stored in compliance under current GDPR regulations. See details in The Studio’s Privacy Notice.
Find out more about The Studio Innovation Fund, and our previous awardees, on the funding page.