How can everything we do be extraordinary?
The Galway International Arts Festival – a mutli-disciplinary arts event in Ireland - had a new vision to be the Festival of extraordinary experiences, with values to shape a supporting culture that’s smart, idiosyncratic, rigorous and flexible. A small core team is augmented throughout the summer by part time staff and volunteers, the challenge was for these ideas to take root and create an engaged culture that’s focused and energized by the strategy.
We are working with them on an 18-month programme to explore this question, using documentary film, curated experiences and the odd elastic band6…
6 The Elastic Band Test, The Decision Making Book, pp 22-23
What role does brand play in the management of heritage?
The Initiative of Heritage Conservation in Athens runs an MA programme and courses to promote excellence in Heritage Management, using Greece as the backdrop and canvas for exploration. The very concept of ‘heritage’ is a slippery thing, knotted together with questions of power, identity and control. Similarly the idea of brand provokes vociferous debate, either responsible for a reductionist Disneyfication of culture or an essential tool in the C21st: what happens when these worlds collide?
We are running a 5 day curated experience with theoretical presentations, field research, practical exercises and Masterclasses from Museum Directors to Digital specialists to explore the relationship between heritage and brand.
How can we reach a different audience demographic?
Manchester’s Buy Art Fair has an ambition to be the Art Fair of the North. But like so many arts organisations, a key question was how to reach out from the urban centre into the opportunities of a rural demographic? Chief Executive of the Arts Council England Darren Henley’s’ inaugural lecture described the opportunity and zeitgeist as the “M62 Corridor of Culture7”
A thought paper analysed the question through the lens of post-demographic consumerism and the push and pull of collecting. Drawing our own ‘3 characters in search of a painting’, it thought about how the Buy Art Fair might engage with their aspirations.
A next step is for research thoughts to be translated into stories, experience and revenue.
7 Darren Henley, Inaugural speech, Hull 28th May 2015. “A corridor of culturally driven regeneration linking Hull with Liverpool and taking in Manchester and Leeds”
What needs to happen next to realise our ambition?
The ambition for Campasino, the home of artist Jason Martin in Portugal, is to be a self-sustaining social enterprise for the local community. With wine ready to be bottled in the summer of 2015, artisan food ideas of honey and oregano and building ambitions for the site, the key question was what needed to happen next?
A week of on-site and library research created Jason’s “brief-in-a-box” to draw a map for future developments, supported by samples and books for insight/ inspiration.
How can we bring our retail strategy to life?
The Manchester Art Gallery’s ambition is to be a brilliant gallery for the people of Manchester, putting art upfront and approaching everything they do with a spirit of radical popularity – audacious, inclusive and big hearted. A retail concept was built on this foundation: to be the ultimate convenience store for Manchester, offering Brilliant Buys that are everyday necessities and necessary extravagances8.
8 The Gallery’s Brand Manifesto and Retail Strategy was work previously developed by Frances Croxford at Jane Wentworth Associates.
We are now working with the Gallery on a 6-month education, engagement and implementation plan of action. Kick started with a Retail 101 workshop, the shop will be re-merchandised as new product ranges are developed and sourced. The Seeking State will be the drum beat throughout the calendar.
As a Director of Jane Wentworth Associates:
Work took us from Warsaw to Istanbul, from Abu Dhabi to Moscow. Every encounter has taught us about people, cultures and life. We worked on cultural projects from the National Museum Qatar, National Museum Sweden, SMK Copenhagen and British Museum to performing arts including Glyndebourne, National Theatre Scotland, Royal Court and Edinburgh International Festival, from retail projects to educational clients including the Open University, University of Westminster and SOAS. An illustration of some of the questions we explored were: