Digital Innovation in Art nominee: Cultural Heritage Project Scan the World / by Aleksandra Art


Both companies and individuals submitted numerous applications for the Digital Innovation in Art award, supported by .ART for the third year. The Award recognises the innovators in the art industry that are using digital technology to push the traditional boundaries of the art market. This year’s awards ceremony will take place on October 3rd in London and in the meantime, a series of interviews were conducted with the shortlisted candidates.

Jonathan Beck is the Founder of an online cultural heritage project Scan the World, an initiative that archives objects of cultural significance using 3D scanning technologies. Since its inception in 2014, the platform has created over 16,000 downloadable artefacts and received over 60 million views to its page. Every day about 4000 enthusiasts, researchers, students and hobbyists download an object to print at home or use for research purposes

“Initially, Scan The World started as an art project… the idea of community and open sharing appealed to me” says Jon, as he found himself getting further into using technology to democratize the arts. To create the first models, he would simply show up at museums and take as many photos of sculptures as he could before being noticed. These photographs would be combined (using photogrammetry technique) and used to create digital copies of the objects. Since then, the relationship with museums has grown into formal partnerships.

When asked about the direction he would like to take forward Jon doesn’t wait too long to respond, he answers “to make every object as discoverable as possible.

Recently, The Victoria and Albert Museum has commissioned two 3D printed sculptures to mark the reopening of its Cast Courts. The notable two halls host reproductions of some of the most famous sculptures in the world and now 3D printed pieces became a part of it. Apart from V&A, Jon is also working with over 50 institutions to make their collections accessible through Scan The World. “The project looped my interest across cultural heritage, identity, global heritage and the Internet” he comments.

Read the full interview on

Read more about the award here