GLAM Labs – new IT Innovation challenge

Ashmolean featuring at the IT Innovation Challenges Showcase event, June 2018. Photo by Robbie Brock CC BY-NC-SA

We are excited to announce that the IT Innovation Challenges will be running three Calls for Ideas in the spring. In addition to the IT Innovation Challenges staff round and the Summer of Innovation call for students (see separate post), we can now announce the GLAM Labs Challenge, a funding opportunity for digital projects adding value to the user experience of GLAM’s collections, buildings, resources or programmes (GLAM =  Gardens, Libraries and Museums).

GLAM Labs exist to help create an environment within GLAM that can confidently develop, pilot, test and evaluate the use of technology to enhance the user experience of physical and virtual spaces. GLAM Labs is about creating an ethos of sharing expertise, developing digital skills among staff and collaborators, and of digital experimentation.

IT Innovation Challenges has already proven an effective vehicle for successfully seed-funding GLAM initiatives such as Cabinet, Oxford Stories and the Hidden Museum. This new GLAM Labs Challenge will be inviting ideas for innovative projects that seek to improve the user experience of both actual and potential users. Projects are expected to:

  • utilise technology to demonstrably and innovatively add value to the user experience of GLAM and its collections, buildings, resources or programmes.
  • encourage collaboration. The collaboration can be between staff from different departments or divisions, between institutions and students, or even with outside organisations and companies.
  • cost between £8-15,000 and be completed by February 2020
  • have an identified GLAM partner or host institution with a staff member from that institution to act as project sponsor. Projects can also run across multiple GLAM sites.

More information about the challenge will be announced before Christmas together with full details of how to apply. We will look to gather short proposals via the online portal by the end of January then invite shortlisted proposals to enter a more detailed application by mid-March with a view to successful projects starting anytime after mid-May.

Exploring Cabinet. IT Innovation Challenges Showcase event, June 2018. Photo by Robbie Brock CC BY-NC-SA

Of course, if you have a bigger ambition for an innovative GLAM project that costs more than £15K, you can apply through the normal Innovation challenges. Likewise, if you are a student and would like to work on a digital project affiliated with a GLAM partner, you can apply to our Summer of Innovation round (opening in Hilary Term).

So, get thinking!

Questions about GLAM Labs? Please visit the GLAM Digital Strategy page)

Questions about the IT Innovation Challenges in general or any of the calls this year, please contact

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