The Arts and Culture sector is about as broad as any you can find, with extraordinary depth and reach. The variety of institutions, venues, operational models, cultural disciplines, skills and most importantly people working within them is almost endless. Each with its own character, direction, way of engaging and evolving.
However, this individuality is being challenged and the ability to evolve for some is becoming more about surviving. These challenges are arising as common themes across this hugely broad sector. Those of funding, and also of remaining current, interesting and relevant to the public. The importance of remembering the founding principle and vision of each organisation, holding dear to that individuality, but also having a very clear strategy for how to stay on course to deliver that vision is becoming crucial. The absolute need to maximise the assets of each organisation, and spend a far greater amount of time in engaging with existing, but also new and future audiences. These are all the challenges being faced every day in the sector.
In a reflection of the breadth of the sector, we feature two senior figures within the Arts world in this edition of Canvas.
Firstly, we have interviewed Dr Xa Sturgis, Director at the renowned Ashmolean Museum at the University of Oxford. Talking about the relationship between a museum and a higher education institution, Xa looks at how new doors and worlds can be opened up, whilst reflecting on the challenges of delivering this.
We are also delighted to have a bylined article from Ian Squires, Chair of Curve, Leicester, a theatre taking its work, created in Leicester, to an audience on a global scale.
Both bring an individual perspective, but draw very clearly upon common themes, opportunities and ‘dramas’ for the sector as it moves forward.
Stephen is co-founder and Chairman of Saxton Bampfylde. He began his career working for IBM and Whitehall, where he spent nearly 10 years before moving into top level executive search. For 32 years he has been involved in the recruitment of executives to senior positions across all sectors. He helped establish the worldwide professional association AESC in Europe and was its international director for a number of years. Outside executive search, he has been involved with the advisory boards of the Business Schools at Cambridge and City Universities, is a Trustee of the Yvonne Arnaud theatre, and was Chairman of the Guildford Cathedral Council. Stephen read Economics at Jesus College, Cambridge and studied corporate finance at London Business School.