Tactics for the Tightrope: creative resilience for creative communities

Tactics for the Tightrope: creative resilience for creative communities

By Mark Robinson


Part manifesto, part toolkit, Tactics for the Tightrope by Mark Robinson shows how creative resilience can be a process of resistance not co-option, and can help anyone connect, collaborate and multiply the voices of creative communities, to move from hurt to hope. Published by Future Arts Centres.

Free download (as PDF)

Packed full of ideas and practical tools, the book helps artists, leaders and anyone involved in running a cultural organisation adapt and build resilience.

Following on from the print publication in July 2021, the downloadable version has all the original tools included to help support idea generation and thinking individually, within meetings or workshops.

Responding to contemporary challenges, author Mark Robinson draws on years of research and work with cultural organisations to show how creative resilience can be a process of resistance. Contained within its pages are several tools and tactics to help anyone assess resilience and resistance within and beyond the cultural sector.

Reviews of Tactics for the Tightrope:

“Philosophical, poetic and hugely practical: I ended up feeling some of the ideas in the book as well as understanding them as concepts. The Tools and Tactics are brilliant and very immediately usable.”

Rachel Adam, Museums Northumberland bait


“In this generous book about agency and change, Mark Robinson offers tools and thinking to help those working in the arts and cultural sector understand and make the most of the assets we have, to make the change that we need.”

Moira Sinclair, Paul Hamlyn Foundation


Over the past few years, Future Arts Centres has brought together more than 100 arts centres from across the UK, to talk, think and work together in many different ways. Our instinct was that some vitally important developments in arts practice were occurring around the country in these centres, that were genuinely starting to shift who gets to make and experience arts and culture.

Many leaders within arts centres were stepping up to challenge the status quo and find new and different ways of working that embraced our key principles: to provide outstanding cultural experiences, maximise social impact and community cohesion, contribute to local economic regeneration and develop business models to support artistic risk-taking.

We wanted to expose these practices, to interrogate and challenge them, and to share them.

Through the generosity of Esmée Fairbairn Foundation, we were able to bring in Mark Robinson to work alongside us. Mark’s own practice, experience and influential research and writing was very much aligned with our values, and we are delighted to commission and publish Tactics for the Tightrope. It embraces many of the principles and considerations that are core to Future Arts Centres work, particularly the commitment to collaboration.

We hope it will inspire people to work together creatively, as well as interrogate their own practice. We want to encourage everyone to consider what leadership in the 21st century could and should look like and provide some practical tools to help in those moments when you feel yourself teetering on your own tightrope.

Gavin Barlow & Annabel Turpin
Co-leads, Future Arts Centres


Free download (as PDF)

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Mark Robinson has asserted his right to be identified as the author of this work in accordance with the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988.

© 2021 by Mark Robinson, licensed under Creative Common Licence BY-NC 4.0.

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Resource type: Guide/tools | Published: 2021