Is it possible to develop viable business models for cultural organisations without compromising artistic integrity and values? This is the key question that Creative Lenses, a four-year collaborative action research project supported by Creative Europe, attempts to answer.
On the 13th of October 2016 more than 130 participants gathered at Chelsea College of Arts, University of the Arts London (UAL) for the first Creative Lenses forum, a day of high-level presentations, discussion and workshops exploring business model innovation in the arts and cultural organisations.
Lucy Kimbell, Director of the Innovation Insights Hub of the UAL, opened the forum by exploring why now is an appropriate time to engage with innovation in business models. She contextualised this by pointing to the context of multiple, interconnected crises to which cultural organisations are forced to react and adapt. David Crow, Pro Vice-Chancellor of UAL, welcomed participants – about a third of whom were from out of the UK – and stressed that in times of anxiety, actively seeking solutions that sustain European and other international ties is the appropriate response. Giovanni Schiuma from the University of Basilicata emphasised the role of culture in connecting people and the critical importance of sustaining the viability of arts organisations to guarantee a cohesive society. Ultimately, he noted, this can only be achieved by using all the tools available, including business approaches.