Shakespeare Birthplace Trust - Mapping the future of the Shakespeare Collections in Stratford-upon-Avon

"GMV brought a sense of scale and ambition and challenged us to think about exploiting our collections more effectively." Dr. Diana Owen, Director, Shakespeare Birthplace Trust

As part of an Arts Council England funded project, we worked alongside a team of consultancies to consider the question "Is it worth the RSC and SBT working together to make their collections more accessible to the public and users?"

Our remit was to focus on the innovation – particularly revenue-generating innovation – enabled through digital technologies.

  • How could innovation enabled by digital technologies make for a better future?
  • Which combinations of offerings and business models could generate revenue?
  • Where should responsibilities sit to best foster digital/commercial innovation in the next 10 years?

Brought together stakeholders across the RSC and SBT for a two-day co-design workshop
Rather than working in isolation, we used the project to build bridges, involving stakeholders in co-designing potential future digital offerings and considering the commercial possibilities of exploiting digital assets. At the heart of this was a two-day workshop in Stratford-upon-Avon bringing together stakeholders from across the RSC and SBT to envision the future of their partnership. It initiated a design process where participants considered opportunities combining physical and digital, content and customer relations.

Made recommendations to transform the RSC/SBT partnership
We recommended that the RSC take back responsibilities for commercial exploitation of assets in which they owned rights - and that the two organisations should create a service agreement with the RSC agreeing to bear the full net cost of managing its assets.

Over the two years following the project the SBT and RSC have taken steps to re-structure their partnership along some of the lines we suggested. They have created an archives service agreement, including RSC funding for management of assets held by the SBT, and are concluding a commercial agreement in which the RSC will take back responsibility for licensing and exploitation of its assets. Meanwhile the SBT is taking steps towards further exploitation of its own holdings, including exploring agreements with picture libraries.

"Clarity about our relationship with the RSC has set us free and given us the confidence to focus on our own assets. Since the project was completed we have put our relationship on a more business-focused, stable footing and provided clarity around management arrangements for the RSC collections."  Delia Garratt, Director of Cultural Engagement, Shakespeare Birthplace Trust