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Reflections from our first Partnership Forum

On the 29th of October we hosted our first Creative Informatics Partnership Forum at The Old Dr Bells’ Baths in Leith, and we were delighted that 40 of you were able to come along and join us. Partnership Forums will take place twice a year, offering a chance for the creative community in and around Edinburgh to voice their thoughts, insights and frustrations about the programme.

CI Partnership Forum at The Old Dr Bells’ Baths

Following a quick introduction from the team, everyone sat down at tables to feed back on the way that we have been engaging, messaging and processing information about the Creative Informatics programme.

Now that we’ve had a few weeks to digest your comments, questions and ideas, we wanted to share some of the key themes raised at the forum, and tell you how we plan to respond to them. We, of course, welcome any additional thoughts on these themes, so please feel free to contact us at anytime.

What you told us

You felt that the language that is used to promote and attract interest in the Creative Informatics programme is currently too business orientated, sometimes too technical, and not inclusive enough.

What we plan to do about this:
We are reviewing how we communicate what we do and welcome feedback on this. Creative Informatics is absolutely for the creative industries and we want to find the right ways to make sure our language reflects this. 

Application and Pre-Application Process
Although we are continuously adapting our application processes for all funding strands, you expressed concerns about understanding what to apply for and when and how to contact our team for support and feedback.

What we plan to do about this:
We continuously review our application processes, building on feedback from those who consider or do apply for funding, as well as feedback from our selection panels and event evaluation forms. In our second call for Challenge Projects and Resident Entrepreneurs, we introduced Discovery Workshops, providing an opportunity for potential applicants to scope and develop their application ideas with support from the Creative Informatics team. We would encourage anyone interested in applying for funding or finding out more about Creative Informatics to attend one of our Discovery Workshops or Events. Our team are also available for one to one chats where further support is required.

CI Partnership Forum at The Old Dr Bells’ Baths

Following the Partnership Forum and our first round of funding calls, we have substantially reviewed and improved the feedback we provide to individuals and organisations that apply for Creative Informatics funding. We fully acknowledge and appreciate how much work goes into an application and how important understanding a final decision is. We will continue to review and develop our approach depending on how feedback is received.

Is it right for me?
Creative Informatics has a variety of funding strands to support creative practitioners of all disciplines, you told us that it was sometimes difficult for you to find the strand that best suits your needs.

What we plan to do about this:
We are considering how we can provide additional information – including more visual guides – to help you navigate our various funding strands. We’ll share more stories about projects that we have funded so far, helping you to think about areas of your work that could be developed with support from Creative Informatics in the future. And, where we receive applications for projects that don’t quite align with the criteria of this programme, we will continue to signpost to other funders and opportunities that may be relevant to you.

Data visualisation of CI Lab and CI Studio demographics
Who do we reach? Information on our audiences from the first 7 CI Labs and 2 CI Studios which we shared at the Partnership Forum as part of our introduction.

Reaching New Audiences
Since our first CI Lab in March 2019, we have been making inroads into the creative ‘ecosystem’ in Edinburgh and South East Scotland. In the last nine months we have reached a high proportion of the subsectors within the creative industries, but you told us that we need to develop our engagement with existing and hard to reach communities. 

What we plan to do about this:
We already work with partner organisations and different speciality/geographically located event spaces, to provide new routes into the programme but we know there is more work to be done. Our CI Labs programme for 2020 will target subsectors that we have not had as much engagement with so far including craft, architecture and publishing. We are collaborating with organisations that work with hard to reach audiences and looking at how we can encourage them to get involved in the programme. We are also working with Data Driven Innovation programme colleagues to help us reach creative communities beyond the centre of Edinburgh. If you know of other avenues and connections that we should be exploring, please let us know!

Data visualisation on creative sectors participating in CI Labs and Studios
Who is engaging in our events at the moment? A view of the subsectors represented at CI Labs and CI Studios to date – “Other” includes a huge range of creative, cultural and wider areas.

Skills and Confidence
You highlighted that many creative professionals want to improve their data literacy, but need support to do this.

What we plan to do about this:
Our newly opened E11 studio space at Edinburgh Napier University will provide a base for Creative Informatics Studios in 2020. CI Studios will offer opportunities for creative individuals to get hands on experience of working with data and data-driven technologies in an informal and friendly environment, it will also offer more ad hoc and/or tailored sessions by request. Additionally, we will continue to work with partners to support and signpost to other relevant opportunities for skills and training.

Who is applying to our
Who is applying for Creative Informatics activities? Information on our Creative Bridge applicants from our first three runs of the programme (Cohort #0, Cohort #1, Cohort #2) which we shared at the Partnership Forum as part of our introduction.

You told us that we need to do more to make sure our communications reach the right audiences at the right time. 

What we plan to do about this:
We are looking ahead to 2020 and planning various changes and additions to our communications. We know our E-newsletter is being well received but we know there is much more we could do. We have a number of website changes and additions planned – including some visual content we think you’ll be excited about. We will also be using more video content where appropriate and practicable.  We welcome any suggestions you may have about alternative ways to share our work and/or locations and communities we should be reaching out to especially as our new resources emerge. 

Things you wanted us to know are going well…
You shared positive feedback on the programme noting that:

  • Creative Bridge was helpful to bring ideas to reality. 
  • You appreciate direct contact with the CI Delivery team in developing ideas and applications. 
  • This funding allows R&D to take place that might otherwise be too risky or take too long or be too expensive and that is hugely appreciated. 

And in your feedback on the night we were really pleased that you felt positive about Creative Informatics: 

Graphic showing responses to our question How do you feel about Creative Informatics after today’s event?
Voting tokens: How do you feel about Creative Informatics after today’s event? (14 out of 26 participants voted – 54%)

So, how else are we taking forward your feedback and ideas?
We care a great deal about your experience of the Creative Informatics programme, and we value everybody’s insights into making 2020 an even better year. We have shared your feedback with our steering board and have already started to adapt our processes (see above). The next Partnership Forum is scheduled for May 2020 and we hope that you will join us then to tell us how you think we are doing and where we need to do better.



If you have any questions about Creative Informatics, please contact us.

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