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TechniCulture Innovation Residency Awards

The Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance has announced the three organizations selected for the first TechniCulture Innovation Residency Award program, the next phase of the organization’s TechniCulture initiative to encourage deeper collaborations between Philadelphia’s arts & culture community and the tech sector. 

The selected organizations have been paired with technologists to help evaluate their digital needs and develop a plan to launch a project or application that will best suit their mission:

Christ Church Preservation Trust: The Christ Church Preservation Trust team is using its residency to pursue new strategies for encouraging donations and monetizing visitation at Ben Franklin's grave. The common practice is for visitors to throw pennies on the grave marker in honor of Franklin’s phrase, "A penny saved is a penny earned." However, this practice damages the grave by chipping away at the limestone. They are working with technologist Davis Shaver, Digital Products & Solutions Lead at Philadelphia Media Network.   

Philadelphia Young Playwrights: The Philadelphia Young Playwrights team is focusing on two distinct areas of work. The first is updating the website used by their teachers and teaching artists, which is a shared tool that holds resources and curriculum. With resident technologist Davis Shaver, Digital Products & Solutions Lead at Philadelphia Media Network, they are exploring expanding access of this shared space to other constituents and what that means for the password-protected site.  Additionally, they are interested in gaming software or app-based programming that activates, gamifies, and/or virtualizes some aspect of the playwriting process to help unlock student learning.

Tiny Dynamite: The Tiny Dynamite team is producing a cross-continent collaboration with a theater company in the UK, ultimately using the internet as a new performance medium.  Using set design and monologues that are streamed to a venue in the UK, Emma Gibson, artistic director, will perform in the piece from the US. The work will debut in April in the UK, and is slated to premiere in the US in 2017.  They are working with award-winning filmmaker and technologist Ben Kalina.

The selected organizations were chosen by members of the TechniCulture Advisory Committee, as well as handpicked experts in technology, innovation and venture capitalism.  Applications were evaluated based on the degree to which the proposal supported the organization’s mission statement; how innovative the proposal was in relation to the rest of the organization’s work; the degree to which the residency learning process would benefit the arts and culture sector as a whole; and the degree to which the scope of the proposal felt manageable and achievable.

Each residency will be seeded with a $2,000 stipend for the individual technologist or digital agency assigned to the cultural organization. After their residency, organizations will also be supported in winter 2016 with a curated "design challenge" of technologists, arts professionals, marketers, communications specialists and grant writers who will help them take their project planning to the next level and think through the next phases of development and implementation, including grant applications to seek full funding of their projects. 

At the next TechniCulture event during Philly Tech Week in April 2016, TechniCulture Innovation Residency Award participants will present their project proposals for the opportunity to receive additional support. Attendees will vote on their favorite project, and the most compelling proposal will receive additional services to help make their project a reality.