9 years ago, in March 2013, I wrote a call to action for the performing arts presenting sector. It was an adjunct to the seminal Value of Presenting Study that I wrote to instigate sectoral action to secure the relevance of the sector in the mid- to long-term.
These Reflections and Recommendations were:
1. Strategy and organizational design to nurture capacity for change, strengthen relevance and resilience, come into the 21st century organizationally, in terms of marketing, programming and so forth
2. Building Meaningful Statistical Frameworks – Culture Satellite Account and Mapping the sector
3. Strengthen / Role in Communities – invest in competencies and professional development as a community leader, design for community impacts, ongoing awareness raising of value and benefits of the performing arts
4. Demography and Access – Know your community and your market; Access for seniors (technology-enabled), Partnering with Indigenous peoples, Partnering with recent Immigrants (EDI)
5. Digital Technologies – embrace online and mobile distribution of live arts, create a cross-functional working group to explore digital distribution in the live arts
6. Redefining Competition (focus on non-arts industries) – Define competitive value proposition (relative to non-arts competitors)
7. Experience Design – Brand-first relationship building (not merely transactional), secondary markets (digital impact)
Most of these feel as relevant as ever to me, showing how much more progress the live arts sector needs to make to join the contemporary world with all its complicated dynamics.
In light of COVID and the early stages of – and the vagaries of – COVID recovery in 2022, I have been talking about these 9 trends requiring urgent attention in the sector if it wants to rebuild better:
1.Mental health impacts
3.Loss of expertise and talent – COVID
4.Digital transformation of society
5.Climate change and touring
6.Need new business models re: return to gatherings
7.Ways to support local artists
8.Digital Dissemination platforms
9.Justice, Equity, Diversity, Inclusion
In part it feels like the more things change the more they stay the same. It also feels like perhaps some of us have learned enough to really tackle the big issues.