Our predictions for 2017
Our agents predict what may be in store for arts and culture in 2017...
2017 will see the most resilient organisations stepping
outside the arts and cultural bubble. To not only survive, but thrive,
organisations need to constantly question who they are to their communities –
that’s everyone from visitors, participants, schools, families and volunteers.
Developing partnerships, new avenues to funding, and learning from totally
different sectors – health, media, commercial is key for this. Opening a
dialogue – talking and listening – to audiences and other sectors is more
important than ever. I think through this, the sector will have more confidence
around taking risks, trying new things – within the context of having insight
into what audiences want.
In 2017 we'll see video continue to dominate, both the increase of real-time video and video as a preferred delivery mechanism for content. One practical tip; if you're putting video on Facebook - always caption it, research shows that 85% of Facebook video is watched without sound. Other digital trends for 2017 include the rise of chatbots and the increasing use of VR and AR. It'll also likely be a very interesting year for Twitter - they've have a very up and down year in 2016 and although it's still a platform loved by the media, celebrities and those working in certain industries, they're still failing to capture a mainstream audience.
With the reported recent growth of private funding (albeit unevenly distributed) and organisations striving to be more resilient through an increasingly mixed model eco-structure, there will be a growing pressure for arts leaders to manage bigger and bigger portfolios of work. That might be managing multiple, often new, funding relationships; kick-starting resilience initiatives such as CRM implementation or new membership schemes; at the same time as giving a more strategic focus to existing income streams such as cafes or shops. This necessary portfolio expansion will mean senior management teams are pulled in lots of different, and at times, new directions. Therefore, 2017 will be the year it becomes even more important to ensure that good centralised insight and data can support teams to make evidence based decisions, keep a steady hand on the wheel and ultimately take calculated, but creative, risks.
In with a bang - if the sold out firework extravaganza on
New Year’s Eve is anything to go by, the appetite for Hull’s much anticipated
UK City of Culture status marks the start of what is predicted be a brilliant
year for cultural tourism across the UK. Manchester International Festival and
the British Ceramics Biennial both return for 2017, highlighting the continued
impact arts festivals have in attracting visitors to our cities and the
important role they play in the cultural economy.
Hull 2017 UK City of Culture | Manchester International Festival, 29 June – 16 July 2017 | British Ceramics Biennial, 23 September – 5 November 2017
In 2017 we will see more evidence of our fractured world. Some of the commentary on the EU referendum and on the Trump election have been too simplistic, but it is worrying how much these seem to be symptomatic of a wider disaffection that people feel about their lives and the society around them. However, we should avoid despair or merely taking satisfaction in our own liberal values and engage in debate and discussion. The arts have a vital role to play in this and I expect there to be a greater focus in the next year on the social impact of the arts and the way that it can influence a wider public.
2017 is a big year for a lot of organisations with the next round of NPO funding coming up. With that in mind, I think we’ll see a lot of organisations getting a better handle on the way that they talk about and make actual practical use of the data that they’ve been collecting. I also think that we’ll see resilience continuing to be a key theme for organisations, both in light of whatever the NPO funding brings and continued local authority cuts.
Next year more of the detail of the impact of Brexit will
come to the fore: whether about its impact on touring (both into and out
of the UK), specific legislation (e.g. employment law), or impact
on international collaborations and funding. The applications and announcements
of the new NPO portfolio will also dominate the year for many in the
sector, hopefully the need to increase the social, creative and
geographical diversity will be reflected: extension of Creative People and
Places would be very welcome too, for the same reasons. But whatever
happens, Hull 2017 is sure to be a highlight - when do you plan to
JAMs, Millennials and Niqabs? My prediction is that we’ll hear more hot air and see some knee-jerk policy-making in response to the stark realisation that we’re living in a society increasingly polarised on a number of different axes. Alongside, I’m optimistic that our understanding of shifting social sands will start to become more nuanced and realistic. Those that can respond in an intelligent and creative way will be the winners. I hope we’ll see some cultural players showing the way - let’s stop (just) talking about ethnicity, impairment and socio–economic group, and do what we can in terms of culture, expectation, aspiration and dialogue.