Private Sector Revenue Generation in the Contemporary Performance Sector

Private Sector Revenue Generation in the Contemporary Performance Sector

By Arts Quarter


A study looking at future opportunities to develop giving within the contemporary performance sector.

Introduction & Methodology

As all subsidised arts organisations continue to live with the implications of declining levels of public sector support, many throughout England and indeed elsewhere continue to develop their fundraising capacities in order to recoup these losses, re-calibrate their business models and improve likelihoods of financial resilience in the longer term. Three such organisations from within the contemporary performance sector who have been seeking to understand possible ways forward are Forced Entertainment, Gob Squad and Quarantine who have received funding under Arts Council England’s: Catalyst Arts – Capacity Building programme in order to explore and evolve their collective and individual fundraising models. Part of their proposed methodology for developing effective models of giving, for which they have received support from Arts Council England has been to explore how their own wider community of organisations is now operating within this ever-changing environment. Their methodology proposed to capture learnings so that not only these three but the wider body of artists and organisations which make up the contemporary performance community can learn from recent experiences, share aspirations and act accordingly to further enhance their fundraising and wider revenue generation capacities.

With financial support from Arts Council England’s: Catalyst Arts – Capacity Building programme, Forced Entertainment, Gob Squad and Quarantine commissioned Arts Quarter to work with them to devise and disseminate an online survey to capture data as possible about the on-going evolution of business models within the UK and overseas contemporary performance community. This report contains the overall findings from that data capture exercise.

Where narrative responses and opinions were sought from those taking part, these too have been presented in full and as given by respondents, thereby providing a clear voice for those members of the contemporary performance sector who took part and shared views and insights as part of this project.

This AQ online survey was launched to the world-wide contemporary performance community of artists and organisations on 9th January 2014 and remained available for completion until 3rd March. The Survey was launched initially via email to AQ’s own email list of 2,854 individuals working within the UK arts sector. It was also promoted via the Arts Council England website and by others working in the sector including Arts Professional, Arts Admin and the Live Art Development Agency. The three commissioning organisations, Forced Entertainment, Gob Squad and Quarantine also distributed a link to the online survey to their own networks of artists and organisations within the contemporary performance community. As always, we are grateful for the interest and support of these bodies in enabling as many working in and representing the contemporary performance sector as possible to take part. Over the course of the ‘live period’, organisations were periodically re-prompted to take part.

In all, some 127 responses were received from individual artists as well as organisations located throughout the UK and overseas. A summary respondent profile can be found towards the end of this report.

We are particularly grateful to those working within the contemporary performance community who have taken time out of their day to take part in this research project. For many, this represented a considerable contribution of time particularly given that the majority of respondents operate within small organisations or teams where time to take part represented a significant commitment to this project. We hope that they and indeed all within the contemporary performance community will take great value from these findings in understanding that they are not alone in facing up to the challenges of fundraising and will make great use of them in determining the scope and scale of their future fundraising.

Download the report to read more

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Resource type: Research | Published: 2016