Culture Everywhere wins UK open data startup challenge

Culture Everywhere wins UK open data startup challenge

Culture Everywhere, a new platform that helps organisations develop fundable arts projects for social good, has scooped a £50,000 cash prize.

The project has won the Heritage & Culture award in the Open Data Challenge Series, a national competition run by Nesta and the Open Data Institute that drives the use of public data to create innovative businesses.

While grassroots arts and heritage organisations can often reach out to people and communities more easily than mainstream institutions, they typically don’t have the same resources available to invest in researching and writing successful bids to fund their projects.

Culture Everywhere makes it easier for those organisations to research for, develop and demonstrate the impact of their activities so they can spend more of their time delivering better social outcomes.

The online tool makes it easy to see not only who, where and what has received arts funding in the past but also where there may be gaps in cultural provision. It does this by making it easier to access and explore data from various public sources, including the National Census, Lottery Grants and Arts Council England.

Grassroots arts organisations and fundraisers can use Culture Everywhere to make sure they are developing the right projects to serve the needs of their communities. The data-driven evidence they find through the platform is used to support funding applications that are more compelling to grants givers, corporate sponsors and individual donors.

As well as registering interest to use the platform and shape its development at, organisations can follow @deliverculture on Twitter to keep track of progress.

The Culture Everywhere Team

Culture Everywhere is a collaboration between two Sheffield-based community enterprises – open data champions The Better With Data Society and participatory arts organiser Ignite Imaginations. The team initially came together in January 2015 to work on the idea for Hack the City, a hands-on workshop series that gives citizens, policy makers and entrepreneurs the chance to explore how open data can be used to address civic challenges.

The project developed into a strong candidate to enter the Open Data Challenge Series competition for Heritage & Culture, and went on to become one of three finalists in February 2015. After an intense incubation period spent validating the product idea and exploring sustainable business models, Culture Everywhere emerged as the winning project, beating City Radar and Rabble Days, another project that took shape at Hack the City, to the £50,000 development award.

Jag Goraya, Co-Founder, Culture Everywhere, comments:

Open data, like culture, is a powerful thing, but there’s still much to do to make it accessible and widely enjoyed. Our team is passionate about both, which is why we entered the challenge. Culture Everywhere puts open data into the hands of arts and heritage providers that don’t have the time, capacity, skills or inclination to become data experts. It gives them the insight and evidence to create better targeted projects that can help them engage their communities with culture.

Briony Phillips, Programme Manager, Open Data Challenge Series, adds:

The Heritage and Culture challenge was a particularly close-run competition. I’m pleased we are able to support Culture Everywhere as they increase access to open data across the arts sector and hope to help level the playing field for smaller grassroots arts organisations. The platform has the potential to help arts organisations more easily apply for funding, provide opportunities and measure their impact thereby creating a virtuous cycle for the future.


For all media enquiries please contact Jag Goraya: [email protected] / 07968 948 527.

About Culture Everywhere (, @deliverculture on Twitter):

Culture Everywhere helps organisations deliver better social outcomes through culture, by making it quick and easy for fundraisers and grassroots arts and heritage organisations to develop fundable projects. The platform helps organisations evidence the need for their activities by using open data, helping them showcase their portfolio of work, find partners and funders, and to track their impacts and social outcomes.

It is being developed by The Better with Data Society ( which helps people discover the value of open data for their businesses and communities and Ignite Imaginations (, a leading creative arts provider.

About the Culture and Heritage Open Data Challenge and Open Data Challenge Series:

The Culture and Heritage Open Data Challenge forms part of the Open Data Challenge Series which is led by Nesta and the Open Data Institute (ODI). The specific challenge question was: How can we use open data to engage more people, and more diverse people in UK heritage and culture?

The challenge invited teams including business, start-ups, social enterprises and community groups to collaborate and compete with each other to use open data to build new products and services. For more information on the Open Data Challenge Series which is funded by the Department for Business Innovation and Skills visit:

About Nesta: ( is the UK’s innovation foundation. We help people and organisations bring great ideas to life. We do this by providing investments and grants and mobilising research, networks and skills. We are an independent charity and our work is enabled by an endowment from the National Lottery.

About the ODI: ( The Open Data Institute catalyses the evolution of open data culture to create economic, environmental, and social value. It unlocks supply, generates demand, creates and disseminates knowledge to address local and global issues. Founded by Professor Sir Nigel Shadbolt and Professor Sir Tim Berners-Lee, the ODI is an independent, non-profit, non-partisan, Limited by Guarantee company. It has secured £10 million over five years via the UK innovation agency, the Technology Strategy Board, $750,000 from global philanthropic investor Omidyar Network, and is working towards long-term sustainability through match funding and direct revenue.