Throughout April and May 2020 Adam Gallacher, Ambitious 4 Growth delivered a series of free AMA webinars encouraging cultural organisations to stay positive and resilient throughout the Covid-19 pandemic.
Here he sums up the series and tells us now is the time to shake-up tradition, test and explore, reform and respond.
Over the last few weeks I have been delivering a weekly webinar to encourage cultural organisations and artists to remain positive. It’s heartbreaking how many organisations and artists will struggle to get through this period, but I seriously hope they do, with increased vigor and strength.
As difficult and uncertain as things are, and we are all a little perplexed as to ‘the new normal’ awaiting us, we must see this as an opportunity for the cultural sector – to shake-up tradition, test and explore, reform and respond. In other words…now is the time to start mapping out and planning your future.
Whilst these times are unprecedented, the cultural sector has again confirmed its strength and resourcefulness; as it did when faced with significant funding cuts in 2007. What we know already…public interests are shifting; the consumption of art is changing; the funding landscape will shift (and hopefully be fairer); the development and production of art is exciting and new; engagement is finally hitting the underrepresented groups…but what does this mean for you?
In the webinar series I have shared three organisational development frameworks to support critical/crisis planning and decision making. I’ve also been sharing thoughts on the ‘new normal’ for the cultural sector - from accessibility, content, audiences, to the funding landscape; so do check these out.
As part of the series, I identified a three phased model - from the position the country is an at the moment, to an understanding of what the social and economic outturn might look like. This is a bleak image, especially to anyone who is struggling to think beyond their current infrastructure, output, limitations, and historic position and focus. But the cultural sector is not going anywhere, it will change and has to, like everything and everywhere else in the world – habits, behaviors, attitudes, community connectivity (if you aren’t thinking hyperlocal then NOW is the time), values, cash and priorities.
We’ve repurposed, adapted, listened and responded…so what’s the next pivot and how can we start to celebrate and embrace the ‘new normal’ for the cultural sector?
This is a big question, but critical, now is not a time to squirrel away with doubt and uncertainty in the hope all will be resolved when you resurface. The Strategic Road Map, which I talked through and shared in session #3 will help guide you through a process – the three R’s - reflect, reform and respond.
I am not suggesting this framework replaces a detailed business plan, setting out your rationale and ambitions, but it will get you started in a logical and creative way. What you end up with is a digestible plan which maps out your focus and direction, logically connecting vision with key focus areas, and can be added to/amended as you progress through the coming weeks/months - with greater clarity, opportunity and optimism.
Once refined it also serves as an effective communication tool that helps articulate strategic thinking – your purpose, the how, and how you plan to get there.
Adam Gallacher, Ambitious 4 Growth