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I felt like a racing car #FutureProofMuseums

Yasmin Khan, Covalent Creative Partnerships

Cultural consultant, Yasmin Khan speaks with the AMA about her new insights gained since embarking on the AMA’s Future Proof Museums Fellowship.


What motivated you to apply for the AMA’s Future Proof Museums Fellowship?

As a freelancer, I enjoy tremendous autonomy, flexibility and personal satisfaction through working on a diverse range of projects and initiatives. Incessantly ‘living life on the edge’ over the last five years has made me increasingly conscious about ensuring the sustainability of my own work practice and my personal capacity to operate a versatile portfolio which aligns with my values and ethos. My immediate priority is to optimise the long-term stability of my own consultancy so I can ultimately focus the bulk of my time on developing innovative content, solutions and quality services to future clients and be in a stronger position to influence the vibrancy and resilience of the museum sector in the best way I can, whether that’s through strategically empowering more creative projects, offering 1:1 coaching, or driving advocacy initiatives across the cultural sector.


What were your key highlights from the residential?

Amongst the many memorable features that stood out for me was getting a 360-degree MOT of my business plan. I’m so glad I seized the opportunity to book a series of individual surgeries with each of the trainers which proved invaluable in rethinking some aspects of my business strategy. Looking back, I felt like a racing car being expertly dissected and reassembled by a Formula 1 team of mechanics; any tyre punctures detected were dealt with and not a single loose bolt was left untightened.

In terms of group interactions with others on the cohort, it was mutually reinvigorating to hear from a wide mix of different perspectives and professional experience from each participant during the group discussions. Those refreshingly candid conversations with peers from across regional museums will stay with me for a long time. The range and depth of topics covered during the residential sessions were eye-opening, thought-provoking and right on the pulse. Thanks to Mark Wright’s explanation of the FIRO-B psychometric tool we were administered, I’m looking forward to re-watching Shrek with a new perspective on understanding the self in relation to other people’s behaviours – many nuggets of wisdom to be found here!


What next?

The initial stages of my Future Proof Museums Fellowship provided me with the framework and opportunity to study the game-changing business model canvas devised by Alexander Osterwalder which I have used as a template to experiment and produce different iterations of business models. My next steps are to refine and then test my business plan; at the heart of this will involve drafting a manifesto to help articulate my value proposition to different client segments and orientate me towards undertaking fulfilling work that I can deliver best. My experience on the programme has already proved to be a cerebrally rigorous and much-needed tonic that is propelling me to stay focused, keep momentum and look to the future with increased perceptiveness, positivity and vigour.


What advice would you give to others thinking of applying to the programme?
Go for it  I can’t emphasis enough how much the programme will help to sharpen your business acumen, leadership style and emotional intelligence skills.


Yasmin Khan is Director of Covalent Creative Partnerships Ltd. 

Twitter: @Ya5min_khan 


Find out more about Future Proof Museums Fellowships.

Prosper with the AMA

We’re delighted to be a partner on Creative United’s new business support programme, Prosper.

Prosper, the new Arts Council England-funded business support programme for the arts, museums and libraries, will be open for applications on Monday 27 March 2017.

The programme is designed to improve confidence and capabilities with business planning and modelling, sustainability, diverse finance and funding streams and strategy, contributing to increased resilience and investment in the sector as a whole.

It offers the opportunity for around 70 arts and cultural organisations, companies or individual entrepreneurs in England to participate in nine months of free, dynamic and impactful business support activities, such as 1-to-1 business advice, masterclasses, workshops, webinars and meetups.

Alongside this, the Centre for Business in Society will be carrying out vital research into the provision of, and demand for, business support for arts and cultural organisations in England and Scotland. The learning from this, plus business support resources such as templates, toolkits and blogs, will be shared via CultureHive.

Additional funding for the programme is provided by Access – the Foundation for Social Investment, and Creative Scotland (for research activities in Scotland).

Mary-Alice Stack, CEO at Creative United, said:

“Leading on from our successes and learning from the Creative Industry Finance programme, Prosper signals another way that we can drive the growth and development of our cultural and creative sectors, and build a sustainable and resilient creative economy.

“We are delighted to be working in partnership with the Centre for Business in Society and the Arts Marketing Association to deliver this programme, and look forward to revealing new insights into the provision and benefits of business support for the arts, museums and libraries.”

Jane Tarr, Director of Organisational Resilience and Environmental Sustainability at Arts Council England, said:

“Through the programme, we wanted to understand more about the business support our sector needs nationally and to share information about the existing offer more widely. We’re delighted Prosper will be working across the country over the next year with a wide range of cultural organisations. It’s an exciting partnership and will also help us develop future support for creative businesses of all sizes to keep growing.”

The deadline for applications to receive the free business support offered by the Prosper programme is 12 midday on 31 May 2017.

A series of morning briefings have been organised around England for potential applicants to learn more about this national programme and meet the partners:

  • Mon 27 March, London, The Foundling Museum, 9:45am – 11:00am
  • Wed 29 March, Hull, Northern Academy of Performing Arts, 8:45am – 10:00am
  • Fri 31 March, Norwich, Writers’ Centre, 9:45am – 11:00am
  • Mon 3 April, Coventry, TechnoCentre, 9:45am – 11:00am
  • Thu 6 April, Liverpool, Play Space, 9:45am – 11:00am
  • Tue 11 April, Southampton, City Art Gallery, 9:45am – 11:00am
  • Thu 13 April, Newcastle, Arts Centre, 9:45am – 11:00am

Those interested in finding out more about the programme, how to apply, or to register to attend a morning briefing, should go to the Creative United website or contact Genevieve Pace.

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