How dynamic are you?

11 May 2022

What we used to think of as ‘contingency planning’ is now just planning, says Patrick Towell. That is what it means to be ‘dynamic’.

DCMS study moots major new data platform

25 May 2022

Report recommends new cultural sector data platform to help make the case for increased funding across the arts.

Evidence Centre to provide theatre sector analysis 

24 May 2022

Society of London Theatre (SOLT) and UK Theatre, two of Britain's leading industry membership associations, have announced a partnership with data and insight specialists Baker Richards to develop an Evidence Centre that will provide analysis of the theatre sector.

The centre will use the latest technology to gather data from multiple sources, including automatically extracted ticket transactions, data on demographics and infrastructure, as well as attitudinal survey data and open government data.

It will allow SOLT and UK Theatre to identify trends in sales and audiences, evaluate theatre's economic impact, classify workforce data and demographics and present in-depth analysis that contributes to demonstrating the value of theatre to national and local government. 

“Over nearly two decades, Baker Richards has developed a rich understanding of the UK’s ever-changing theatre industry, promoting and creating measures and metrics which have been widely adopted,” said Robin Cantrill-Fenwick, Chief Executive of Baker Richards. 

For the new Evidence Centre, analysts will use innovative approaches including experimentation with machine learning and AI. The first iteration of the data tool is scheduled to be ready for use at the end of the year. 

President of SOLT Eleanor Lloyd said the new centre will be “a fantastic resource for our members to access”, facilitating “more sophisticated data and business intelligence, to assist our members with their marketing campaign planning and budgeting”.

Stephanie Sirr, UK Theatre President, said that while making the case for government support of the theatre sector during the pandemic, they had identified “some gaps in what we evaluate in order to make a well-rounded and informed case for theatre in a way that corresponds with government evaluation tools”.

“This new Evidence Centre will give us access to sales and economic data at a deeper level, which will help our members make the strongest argument yet for supporting UK theatres as key strategic partners in their many communities,” she said.

Comparing apples to oranges

image of a light bulb
17 May 2022

Arts organisations increasingly use data to inform their decision making. But, argue David Johnson and Sarah Thelwall, if it’s not relevant, it risks being distracting, or even misleading.

Audit highlights UK's 'world-leading' art and music research

13 May 2022

Results from the assessment will determine the allocation of around £2bn in annual government funding.

Heritage sector ‘confident about future'

Barnard Castle in County Durham
09 May 2022

Survey finds positivity among organisations across Britain and confidence to weather possible future waves of Covid-19.

'No clear reason' why people don't access digital arts

27 Apr 2022

Most people struggle to identify a specific reason why they don’t engage with arts online, a government survey has found.

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport's Participation Survey which provides estimates of physical and digital engagement with the arts, heritage, museums and galleries, found that around one in four (27%) people had engaged with art digitally over the past year.

Of those who hadn't, when asked about the barriers they face, 45% said there was "no reason in particular", with 29% saying they were "not interested", and 11% saying they "don't have the time".

Other barriers to digital engagement included having a health problem or disability (8%), it being too expensive (8%), having no access to internet (5%) or "not knowing what is available" (3%).

The study found a negative correlation between digital engagement in the arts and areas of deprivation. The most deprived areas showed 20% engagement in the arts, compared with 31% in the least deprived areas.

Meanwhile, 32% of those in higher managerial, administrative and professional occupations engaged digitally in the arts, compared with 23% of respondents in intermediate occupations and 17% in routine and manual occupations.

E-marketing in the time of GDPR

Alice - A Virtual Theme Park
27 Apr 2022

Charlie Morley unpicks how the legislation introduced to protect customer data has had unintended consequences for staying in touch with audiences.

Performers need protections from AI abuse

19 Apr 2022

Performers are increasingly losing their jobs, faces and voices to artificial intelligence, a new report claims. What can be done about it?

NPOs' carbon emissions plummeted during lockdown

13 Apr 2022

Some organisations found more time to plan and solidify environmental commitments, while others used more electricity and gas during the closures.

ACE seeks audience data system provider

14 Mar 2022

Arts Council England is offering £1.6m for a new system for National Portfolio Organisations to submit audience data.

A contract out for tender since late February says the software must enable organisations and Creative People and Places projects to share their audience numbers and the postcodes and demographics of a "fully representative sample", as well as allowing them to draw insights from the data.

The insights function should be able analyse box office transactions, provide anonymised data reports, and support benchmarking against population statistics, the tender says.

The arts council is open to a single contractor or a consortia of companies so long as they are the "most economically advantageous" provider.

The system is due to launch by April 1 next year.

NPO timeline revised over funding delay

16 Feb 2022

Delays in agreeing a settlement with DCMS have pushed back the application dates as ACE shares its expectations for the new portfolio.

Employment in culture outstrips pre-pandemic levels

14 Feb 2022

Employment in the cultural industries has continued to grow despite the pandemic, official figures suggest

New data from DCMS covering the period October 2020 to September 2021 records an estimated 696,000 people working in culture - 8,000 people more than the same period across 2019 and 2020, and 20,000 more than before the pandemic.

The figures appear to illustrate the success of furlough and the failure of the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme in supporting the sector: what was a 50-50 split in employed and self-employed cultural workers is now 54% in favour of the employed.

There are also about 10,000 more culture professionals in working in London than in 2019/20.

Despite the advent of Brexit at the end of 2020, there are still as many EU nationals working in the sector.

ACE to mandate social class reporting on audiences

13 Jan 2022

The Culture Secretary has asked the Arts Council to collect the data and consider NPOs' "track record" when they apply for funding. 

Purple Seven acquired by TRG Arts

29 Nov 2021

The arts data companies' partnership during Covid-19 has evolved into a union that aims to "accelerate" results for clients.

EU scheme offers artists grants to explore misinformation

23 Nov 2021

UK artists can apply for up to €40,000 for projects exploring misnformation, data, technology and social media.

The EU-funded MediaFutures scheme aims to make awards of that size to collaborative work, and to give up to €30,000 for pure arts projects. Start-ups can apply for up to €65,000 to create new products, or €80,000 to work with artists.

Applicants should demonstrate how their work would "counteract the negative impact of misinformation and disinformation within society". 

Mentorship, legal support, networking opportunities and tech help are available to the successful candidates. 

Applications open on Thursday (November 25).

Distanced performances 'crucial' over winter

23 Nov 2021

Venues face a choice between offering lower capacity events or losing up to a third of their audiences, surveys suggest.

One fifth of NPOs fail to report environmental data

05 Nov 2021

Exemptions are available, but four times as many organisations fail to report without one.

Climate change needs more than lip service

05 Nov 2021

There are better ways for the arts sector and its funders to tackle the climate crisis than slipshod data collection.

Data are cultural: what does that mean for understanding well-being?

26 Oct 2021

For thousands of years philosophers have asked: ‘What makes for the good society?’, or ‘the good life?’ Susan Oman revisits these questions, asking how data help us understand - differently. 

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