Unravelling the mysteries of resilience

25 September 2018, Sophia Woodley

  • How is resilience currently understood in the arts and culture sector?
  • Are organisations becoming more resilient and, if so, how are they doing this?
  • What opportunities might there be to develop the sector’s resilience in the future?

We’re pleased to announce the publication of our report for Arts Council England, which aims to answer the questions above.

With the help of The Audience Agency we did five months of research, engaging over 1,000 people from across the sector. We discovered that there is no shortage of opinions on the subject!

Here are a few of the things we found:

  • Resilience is not just about survival – it’s about evolution, transformation and ‘bouncing forward.’ This is widely understood both within the literature and within the sector.
  • The arts and culture sector is already extremely resilient and this should be celebrated. Recognising and valuing a multiplicity of ‘outside’ stakeholders – and considering ethical, social, and cultural impact – is still quite radical in the corporate world, while it’s often business as usual for the arts and culture sector. 
  • While the sector recognises the importance of resilient behavior, there is a significant gap between perceived importance and practical adoption, which lags significantly behind. 
  • Senior staff are far more likely to think their organisation has adopted resilient behaviors.
  • Resilience is not just about organisational health. Achieving a resilient sector means looking out for the wellbeing of individual artists and freelancers 
  • Similarly, building resilience requires attention to the health of wider ‘ecosystems,’ not just individual organisations
  • There is a need for better and more consistent standards for measuring and benchmarking resilience across the sector – including non-financial as well as financial measures.
  • Advocacy for the value and importance of the arts is seen as central to the resilience of the sector.

Want to read more views on resilience? Our report is being discussed:

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