How the arts can survive in tough times
The All About Audiences conference in 2011 was framed by the increasing funding crisis in the arts. Arts marketers heard from keynote speakers Ivan Lewis MP (Shadow Secretary of State for Culture, Media & Sport), Mark Robinson (Founder and Director of Thinking Practice). Susan Royce (Change Management Consultant) and Paul Smith (Executive Director of Liverpool Biennial). Their speeches on how to help the arts survive are summarised here.
Susan Royce explored how new business models might be crafted, opportunities identified and exploited and how organisations can learn to live with, and even embrace, the challenges we currently face.
From the outset, Susan was keen to assert that a business model is not merely an income/expenditure account, but that business models are about value (whether social, economic or indeed financial), and are created in ‘the linear space between internal ambition and external reality… they are always changing, they are fluid’.
The current challenges faced by the sector will lead to the creation of new models that will (hopefully!) create even more value.
Income diversification is often seen as a solution to the now broken ‘Canvas business model’ used by most arts organisations today. However, income diversification offers a problematic and incomplete solution in Susan Royce’s view, because a reduction in core revenue (which can be predictable and easily understood) cannot easily be replaced by a portfolio of income streams (which are less predictable, can be expensive and can also demand organisational changes).