TRANSFORMING THE ARTS SECTOR
Lessons from the ground
WHAT IS TRANSFORMATION?
“Transformation literally means going beyond your form”
- Wayne Dyer, American author and motivational speaker
Since the onset of COVID-19, the $75M Arts and Culture Resilience Package announced in 2020 has helped to safeguard the livelihoods and key capabilities in the arts and culture ecosystem, and enhanced the sector’s capacity to digitalise
to meet immediate survival needs. But beyond immediate needs, COVID-19 has also highlighted the importance for arts organisations to address long-term strategy, sustainability and growth.
NAC introduced the Organisation Transformation Grant (OTG) on 8 March 2021, to support arts organisations to transform, so that they remain resilient and nimble to adapt to the ever-changing environment. Over 90 projects were supported by the grant, and the combined experiences of the project teams represent rich learning on how arts organisations can transform.
Through selected case studies, we want to shed light on some important questions: What is transformation? Why transform? And how does an arts organisation transform?
Many arts organisations used the OTG exercise to reflect upon these questions:
- What is their Unique Value Proposition as an arts organisation? What differentiates them from everybody else?
- How do they see themselves growing in the next 5-10 years?
- What is the right mix in their portfolio of products (including digital)? How do all their products/ services connect with one another?
- What do their target markets want as a great user experience?
Ultimately, we learnt that transformation is holistic: it requires a system of different interventions, across Products (or experiences), Processes, Systems and People. A good transformation process requires the inter-locking system
of interventions across these 4 areas.
We also saw that companies that focused on their Core Purpose had a greater motivation to transform in order to deliver that Purpose - whether through new products or revenue streams, improving efficiency or reaching more audiences. One company said: “[We were] reminded of our core values. We overlooked that we have lots of things to offer.”
Get ideas from these selected OTG projects to kick start your own journey.
Creating shared resources for the arts sector is simply good common sense - it brings productivity gains to everyone, reduces duplication and is good for the environment. The act of sharing, above all, is an act of generosity that brings the arts community closer together.
Typically strapped for manpower, time, budget and bandwidth, productivity is critical for many arts companies. Technological solutions are key to not only saving time but also for distilling precious information that empowers better decisions.
Orchestra of the Music Makers - Bespoke Volunteer Management System
Singapore Book Council –Audience Database with Data Visualisation
The Theatre Practice – Technology for Digital Theatre
Resource List - Digital Tools Used by OTG Recipients
The way audiences search for, purchase and experience art is rapidly changing due to digital technology, and exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Artists who have successfully integrated art forms with digital technology have grasped that the entire creative process requires modification, not just the final form. Those who do this well can open up whole new markets for their art.
Any transformation would not succeed without investing in people. Teams need to be trained to sustain an investment in technology; volunteers need to be developed with the right skills; stakeholders need to be engaged to support the journey of change; artists need to be provided with accessible tools to create and distribute their works. An organisation embarking on a transformation journey must first consider how to set its people up for success.