Each month I round up an eclectic mix of arts management insight and publish it in newsletter form. You can expect plenty of useful stats, some technology news, a dash of marketing and a little policy analysis from around the world.

Art in our digital lives

At the end of March ACMA released Australians’ digital lives, a useful snapshot of internet use across the country. It shows half of us now shop online, and that wifi hotspots are the fastest growing location for internet use. There’s a simple but informative 3-minute video if you’re short on time.

The digital marketing landscape continues to evolve with recent changes to Facebook newsfeed, which may affect the reach of anything but amazing content. Earlier in the month Google also began favouring mobile-friendly sites in search results (Stuart Buchanan has the low-down for arts organisations).

The Economist reports on the meteoric rise of online messaging serviceslike Whatsapp (and the decline of the much-loved SMS), which makes me wonder what the creative possibilities of such platforms might be.

Speaking of mobile, Blast Theory’s interactive-performance-art-app ‘Karen‘ and Punchdrunk’s warhol-theatre-vodka-game-app ‘Silverpoint‘, both now in the App Store, are very exciting developments in this area. Worth a look!

Future of museums

It’s been a big month for museum trendspotting. MuseumNext conference in Geneva filled our hearts, minds and twitter feeds with delicious insights for innovation in museums. If, like me, you were far from the action, analytics guru Chris Unitt has compiled a round-up of round-ups, and you can check out one of the most-tweeted-about presenters (and cheeky copywriters) MuseumHack here.

Image via MuseumHack

Image via MuseumHack

Earlier in the month Museums and the Web announced the ‘Best of the Web’ winners for 2015. Among the awardees was Museum Victoria’s Field Guide to Australian Fauna apps. Browsing the full list of awardeesmakes for an inspiring 10 minutes, and lots of them are really good fun, like VanGoghYourself and my personal favourite, Tate’s 1840s gif party.

For those thinking of starting a new digital project (in any sector), Anna Dinnen from England’s Digital R&D Fund for the Arts has some sage advice for getting started on the right foot. The Guardian also has some nice tips for creative enterprises seeking scale.

Funding the future of culture

In case you missed it, in March the Australia Council released Arts Nation, a new overview of the Australian arts sector, which I was lucky enough to advise on for the past year. Among a broad range of indicators, it shows that consumer spending is the main source of income to the arts (eg ticket sales for performing arts events generated $1.5 billion in 2013!). There are some nice looking and informative fact sheets for your pinboard, too.

Despite the dull title, Radio National segment ‘How important are Australia’s second major theatres?’ has an interesting discussion about experimental theatre, artistic tension and audience development in Australia’s major cities, which is worth a listen over lunch (20 minute audio).

Ahead of the upcoming UK election, analysis by academic Ben Walmsleytracks the decline in government support for the arts (falling over £100 million since 2009-10), with the sector increasingly reliant on growing lottery funding and local government decisions. A policy review of the creative industries insists government should be ‘sustaining and reinforcing state support of the cultural offer’, noting that the creative industries has grown faster than the rest of the economy during difficult times. Arts Council England has summarised the cultural recommendations in each of the party manifestos here.

Economics geeks like me might be interested to check out the recent US Arts and Economic Prosperity IV release, which underpins an impressive advocacy resource for American arts organisations. It combines recent estimates of culture’s contribution to the US economy ($699 billion in 2012; more than the $530 billion construction industry) with case making tools, templates and an impact calculator to help cultural organisations leverage the findings for advocacy in their local areas.

Insight calendar

The conference calendar is filling up with plenty of exciting opportunities to hear fresh insight. In the next few months I’m looking forward to Remix Summit on culture, technology and entrepreneurship, and the rest of the Vivid Festival in Sydney. The Australia Council is hosting its Marketing Summit over the same weekend in Cairns, and ArtsHub has just announced its second annual conference to be held at Doltone House in Sydney in June. Museums and the Web Asia conference is also coming to Melbourne this year from 5-8 October.

Finally, I’d like to thank Lisa Burns, Stuart Buchanan, Bridget Jones, Rachel Smithies, Fenn Gordon, Chris Pope, Mandy Whitford, Nick Herd and Kristy Wandmaker for their sage advice in my first month of operation as a freelancer. Your support is like oxygen to my newborn business – thank you.

Thanks also go to some of my ‘newsletter heroes’ Storythings, IFACCA, the Australia Council, Native and the Audience Agency who have inspired and informed this newsletter.


About the Author

Tandi Williams
Managing Director

Patternmakers’ Founder and Managing Director Tandi Williams is an experienced consultant and arts and culture research specialist.