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The Arts & Culture Collective: A Collaborative Cohort

Lucy Costelloe
2 November 2022
The Arts & Culture Collective: A Collaborative Cohort

Aimed at addressing proactive responses to challenges for the sector through a more informed use of data, The Arts & Culture Collective is a cohort that is forming all across the UK and Ireland with the purpose of understanding how we can use actionable insights from our data to make more informed decisions during times of crises. 

The challenges that await the sector are daunting and pressing, but we’re facing them collectively

The Covid-19 health pandemic has accelerated some of the challenges previously encountered by the sector, but it has also brought new uncertainties to our attention. When arts and cultural organisations closed in 2020, we were uncertain of what reopening would look like.

Two and half years later, we're living the reality and working through the recovery. While some anticipated audiences return in droves, attitudinal surveys show that a nugget of our most loyal attendees is yet to return. Over the past few months, we’ve listened to and joined plenty of conversations with concerned arts managers about audience re-attendance figures, ticket sales, the anxiety caused at the box office by last-minute bookings, and the pressure for additional funding and revenue streams. 

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Trends in English Theatre attendance last 12 months

A stat provided by Data Culture Change and the DCMS Participation survey 

Each we’re learning the complications of rising costs, climate change, and the uncertainty of booking trends and the impact of these uncertainties on the societal and community-focused aspect of the goals and objectives of arts & cultural organisations. With lots of questioning, a common thread is where priorities should lie. Audience development or driving revenue? Fundraising campaigns or lapsed customer enticement? We are also witnessing the frustrations caused by factors outside of the control of organisations from a governmental and policy level with additional pressures on organisations to report on their impact and requirement for additional funding when budgets are already on shoe-string budgets. 

ACE 'pauses' NPO announcement

Headline articles on the Arts Professional informing NPOs about the delay in the funding announcement. 


Tweet from UK Theatre regarding the funding delay by Arts Council England. 

While it’s clear that no one seems to have the answers to all of these questions, we’re proposing a proactive approach to a reactive response to uncertainties. As part of the Ticketsolve Research & Innovation stream, we are working on a project that will help us to understand how we currently use our data in times of great uncertainty and how can use it to inform innovation within our practices that will lead to greater sustainability throughout the sector. 

The Arts & Culture Collective Think Tank Series 

We have designed a collaborative and reflective workshop that supports arts practitioners in understanding the current blockers and barriers that are facing their organisation and identifying immediate action points that they can implement. TheArts & Culture Collective Think Tank Sessions are aimed at identifying the biggest challenges facing our teams currently and how we can look at our practices and the use of data to inform our decisions better and safeguard the sustainability of our organisations.

Energy Impacts: Taking Meaningful Action in the Midst of a Crisis

Report launched by Julie’s Bicycle - Energy Impacts: Taking a Meaningful Action in the Midst of a Crisis

Throughout this session, we'll look at a series of individual reflections, group brainstorming, and group sharing scenarios on some of the challenges that are impacting how arts and cultural organisations are operating. 

These scenarios aim to look at how unprecedented challenges and crises impact how you work and the performance of your organisation in terms of your goals, objectives, and mission. We'll aim to understand what is the biggest challenge currently facing your organisation and how you use data to make inform your decision-making around them.

Where to Now from Here? 

We’ve spoken with lots of organisations in recruiting for The Arts & Culture Collective Think Tank Series, but we’re widening our network and extending our invite. 

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Interested in making a difference and making a positive change? 

Participate in one of our workshops and let us know you’re interested below! 


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