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18th July 2011 Sara Lock

Brave New World

This year's Arts Marketing Association Conference takes place at a time of change, uncertainty and reduced resources. How do we respond to this situation? What is now required of us as arts marketers?

It seems like a good time to take stock of our strategy and practice. Over the course of three days (from 19th-21st July) more than 500 delegates will be examining these issues.

As a special starter and accompaniment to the conference, the Arts Marketing Association (AMA) has asked a select group of people to answer this question:

How should we work with people inside and outside the arts sector to build relationships with audiences?

Here, in the first of two blog posts on AMA Commons, are a few of their responses.

Matthew Taylor is Chief Executive of the Royal Society of Arts and has been Chief Adviser on Political Strategy to the Prime Minister and Director of the Institute of Public Policy Research. In this extract he puts forward four ideas that he'd like to hear arts organisations talking about when dealing with the public.


Picking up on Matthew Taylor's last point about arts organisations becoming part of the debate about place, this leads naturally on to Cornerhouse in Manchester. It has placed itself at the centre of its local community as well as establishing a wider reputation internationally and online. Key to this has been strong and innovative management.

Dave Moutrey, Director of Cornerhouse, board member of organisations such as All About Audiences and fellow of the RSA reflects along these lines.


Listening attentively and actively isn't always easy. There is so much going on, so much data to look at and all those social media channels to manage.

Sarah Thelwall is a strategist and consultant in the creative industries and founder of, an online financial management and benchmarking business tool. She looks at the importance of focusing on what it is we are trying to achieve.


Incidentally, MyCake has just launched its own free benchmarking tool for Arts Council England RFO's, available here.

Before getting too carried away with our UK-centric point of view, it's worth looking at what other arts organisations are doing around the globe.

Craft Victoria, in Melbourne Australia is  a membership based organisation that provides support for established and emerging practitioners through professional development and promotional services. Joe Pascoe, Chief Executive and Artistic Director talks about how they involve artists and audiences in their work here.


Craft Victoria collaborates closely with Made By Hand, which is producing a delightful series of video segments on their local community Channel 31 about craftspeople in the Melbourne area. A new episode is launched every Wednesday.

And so to the subject of partnerships and collboration which is the subject of the next special conference blog post.

… and feel free to comment on this post of course!

Jonathan Goodacre (AMA Commons Editor)

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