Nesta R&D Report – Reclaiming Gift Experiences

Incredible experiences are the bread and butter of the arts sector. Yet when it comes to marketing unique experiences for gift buyers, the arts are strangely absent from popular gift experience sites. Why? And can this change?


So we set off with a very simple idea: let’s work with some of London’s hottest arts venues to explore whether it is possible to create and package cultural events as gift experiences.

To test this, we received support from the Digital R&D Fund for the Arts. The fund has been created by Nesta, Arts & Humanities Research Council and public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England.

We embarked on a year-long project with Dulwich Picture Gallery, Whitechapel Gallery, the Royal Academy of Arts, Design Museum, English National Opera and Barbican.

Our lead research partners were Fusion Analytics, the University of Salford and Judge Business School, University of Cambridge.


An introduction to some of the key insights and lessons we’ve discovered during the R&D project, we begin with insights looking at key trends in experience products, before considering the opportunities for the not-for-profit cultural sector, looking at market segments and four model templates for experiences. We then explore the relationship between gift experiences and memberships, considering the business models and strategies involved, before providing some practical next steps.

View the report here