Ashley Smith-Hammond

The national digital development programme provided capability, confidence, capacity building, learning opportunities and direct grant funding to Scotland's arts, culture and heritage organisations.

AmbITion Scotland was a strategic digital development project for the cultural sector, which was delivered across Scotland for five years beginning in 2010. It took place in two phases (2010-12 and 2012-14); both were managed by Culture Republic in partnership with Rudman Consulting and made possible by National Lottery funds from Creative Scotland.

Digital Development Impact

Thousands of people from across Scotland’s arts and cultural sector were involved with AmbITion Scotland as direct project participants, event attenders, users of bespoke web resources or part of the online family. Over the five years the programme delivered:

  • learning events – 65 events between January 2010 and March 2014 with over 3300 sector professionals attending from over 1,000 organisations right across Scotland, many of them webcast live and on-demand for the widest possible access;
  • direct support – the first phase saw 15 partner organisations benefit from intensive consultancy and an additional 40 organisations participating as associates. Organisers used the learnings from phase one and redesigned phase two to offer small targeted grants for practical projects. The Make:IT:Happen fund awarded 71 grants totalling over £478k to 59 arts and cultural organisations in Scotland to support new ideas, and develop digital strategies and approaches. It received almost 200 applications over its 16-month run;
  • online learning materials – toolkits, learning journeys, case studies, filmed documentaries, video archives of seminars and podcasts – all of which drove over 17,000 unique visitors each year to AmbITion Scotland’s website; and
  • a peer network – built on a Ning platform, it was a resource for peer-to-peer sharing and learning with over 1,250 members online, supplemented by personal brokering and more intimate in-person events.

The national programme provided capability, confidence, capacity building, learning opportunities and direct grant funding. AmbITion Scotland facilitated new connections within the digital media, technology and higher education sectors. This enabled Scottish arts, culture and heritage organisations to take advantage of the opportunities of digital technologies, becoming more efficient in their operations. It helped organisations become more innovative in their business models, experimental in their art and content creation, and effective in their engagement with the public.

As Scotland’s cultural engagement hub, part of Culture Republic’s mission is making sure that digital development support remains accessible to Scotland’s cultural sector. The AmbITion Scotland legacy has been an important component of the services we continue to offer:

  • Training workshops and hands-on support;
  • Access to an online library of digital learning materials allowing anyone, anywhere, anytime;
  • National databases of digital engagement and arts attendance, with data mined from online activity and box office systems across Scotland;
  • Partnership with cultural organisations across Scotland to deliver bespoke research, marketing and digital consultancy.