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Final Draft Research in Practice

Final Draft Research in Practice

Paper – Final Draft

After a frantic Christmas the ‘Research in Practice’ paper on Crowdfunding and Public Art has finally come together. I’ve completed a final draft with time left to refine it before handing in on the 14th January.


Information technology has not only radically transformed the way we communicate, but also the way we consume culture. Web based platforms have enabled artists to bypass traditional routes to both fund and sell their work. The purpose of this paper is to explore the extent to which digital crowdfunding platforms have enabled the delivery of small scale, community-based public art in the UK. A literature review found limited academic research on crowdfunding and the arts, however several papers on crowdfunding and findings from an Arts Council England funded pilot study have informed this paper. A variety of research methods were utilised including literature review, primary source analysis, survey and interview. Statistical analysis presents an overview of the 400 successfully funded public art projects found on and, a success rate of 59% across both platforms. It also outlines the type, scale and geography of work funded. The results showed that 54% of projects sampled for this paper were ‘artist led’ and that any artform can be financed through crowdfunding, as the perceived sociological values of the project are more relevant to successful backing than specific artform. Conclusions indicate crowdfunding provides an alternative source of finance to individual artists and organisations looking to fund small scale work and/or match traditional sources of funding. Furthermore, that rewards based crowdfunding platforms can support elements of community engagement activity, through the design of rewards and utilisation of integral tools for marketing.

Final draft can be read here 

A conversation with Vicky Roden – Birmingham Bull Rider

A conversation with Vicky Roden – Birmingham Bull Rider

Vicky Roden – Birmingham Bull Rider Vicky Roden is a Birmingham based artist working in performance and sculpture with a focus on the creation of mythologies. She runs an artist led project space called ‘Fail Better’ and works for Vivid Projects. Birmingham Bull Rider (2015) was inspired by the Manzoni King Kong which was a temporary sculpture sited in Bull Ring in the early 1970s. Devised as an experiment which built on Vicky’s motif practice of creating sock monkeys or ‘poppet simians’. She wanted to create a poppet simian of a size and scale that could interact with on street ‘monumental’ pubic art in Birmingham. The scale of the eventual work was based on the actual size of the King Kong sculpture. When Vicky costed up the project it was more than she could have resourced through self-funding. She approached Bullring Shopping Centre who didn’t offer support and discouraged the project. Vicky looked at other sources of funding and settled on crowdfunding via, this was her first crowdfunded project. She found the platform easy to use and had peer support to assess the project before launching, engaging people with the project. The project was initially promoted through social media networks and personal contacts, as well as a launch event ‘simians tea party in a city coffee shop’. It was successfully funded with 22 backers for £625. Reward production costs increased the overall project budget. However, Vicky also found the platform was useful way to engage with audiences and invited backers to join her and ‘Bull Rider’ on its grand tour of the city on a Sunday afternoon in August 2015. Around 25 backers and other interested people became part of the performance. Vicky has since successfully used crowdfunding to support small scale projects, and believes it is a viable way for artists to fund projects. See the Kickstarter Page here 
King Kong Statue in Birmingham City Centre, Birmingham Mail
A response!

A response!

So, today I had the first response to the survey from Plymouth based artist Elena Brake, who successfully crowdfunded for a project called  ‘Cleaning in Progress‘. Which was an ambitious, large scale interactive performance as part of Plymouth Art Weekender 2018.

Elena also suggested I look at Rachel Dobbs website, who has written a whole resource on crowdfunding for artists. 

The website contains a comprehensive step by step guide on crowdfunding and will be useful a refeercne point. 



I’ve now contacted 20 artists/projects, asking them to complete the short online survey. I tracked contact details from crowdfunding pages via links to website, google searches and through social media accounts. As many projects were several years old, some details were out of date and artists couldn’t be contacted, this was more so for student led projects.
I contacted the following projects; Big Chair 2 Belper Teenagers Enlisted During WWI Sound Art Residency: Suffolk Soundcamp PoetrySlabs – Foundation Stones for Public Poetry Ideas Shack The Birmingham Bullrider – A Poppet of Epic Proportions Riverside Geese Empty Walls Street Art Festival Cardiff Site Specific Kingston Chorlton Art Market Mural The Cornershop The Citizens Advertising Takeover Service (C.A.T.S) Constellation 209 Women Our friend Man on Bench #PIANODROME Is this a Waste Land? STRETCH at Exeter Cathedral Exeter Street Arts Festival 2017 The Artist’s Window Cleaning in Progress Beeston Street Art Festival Three Bridges Gallery
Crowdfunding – broadening the research

Crowdfunding – broadening the research

As I started writing the paper and further analysing the data gathered, the question struck me – why Crowdfunder and Kickstarter? I have used both sites before and somehow had decided these were the platforms to focus my research on. I at least needed to provide a good reason why those sites were chosen – other than instinct! I believe the research will be strengthened by comparing other sites.

There are hundreds of sites other than and Based on Go Daddys 2018 Top 20 the following platforms were identified. Most we’re not relevant to arts, with only Gofundme offering an at scale platform for arts funding. Whilst other sites did come up under a search for ‘Arts Criowdfunding’, these were mostly niche to music. 

Lending Club.
Funding Circle.

The comparison told me for whatever reason my instinctual choice to focus on and was right and has given me a better understanding of the scale of crowdfunded public art projects in the UK.

Based on searches of the two sites I will focus on, an average of 1 project per week has been funded over the decade these sites have been active.




I’ve completed my sampling of and – in total I analysed 60 projects. Of these 23 fit the definition of ‘community based public art’ for the paper. I’ve now created as survey and submitted it for ethical approval. As soon as I have approval I will contact artists/projects and ask them to complete the survey.

Draft Survey Questions


Email address

I confirm that I have read the information above. I have had the opportunity to consider the information. (tick box)

I understand that my participation is voluntary and that I am free to withdraw at any time (tick box)
without giving any reason.

I agree to take part in the above study. (tick box)


Have you successfully crowdfunded for public art? (sifting question)

If yes Go to Q2 – If no take to not eligible page

Did you crowdfund as an individual artists/s or as an organisation (tick box)
Other (please state)

Please briefly describe the work that you crowdfunded for including project title?

Q4. Did your crowdfunding activity provide all the funding for your project?

If no, where else did your funding come from (free text)

Would you have been able to deliver the work without the crowdfunded financial support?

Was your crowdfunding linked to a marketing plan for your project

How did you disseminate your crowdfunding page/project

Social Media
Direct email
Word of mouth
Video Appeal
Blogging –
Printed literature (Posters/flyers)
Artists/Project Website
Other (free text)

Would you say that crowdfunding helped raise the profile of your project within the community is was developed for/sited within,


If YES, please outline how? If NO Please give thoughts on how it might have helped raise the profile of your project

Did you design your rewards to enable a deeper engagement with donors



Have you maintained relationships with donors after the crowdfunded closed?

If Yes – Please give an example (free text area)

Do you regularly use crowdfunding to fund work?

Are you happy to be referenced alongside your project in the paper? Yes No

Thank you for taking time to complete this questionnaire.