Vogel Wakefield blog

Vogel Wakefield blog


The purpose of an arts organisation

AMA Commons, the blog of the Arts Marketing Association, has published a piece by me on the relationship between the artistic purpose and the social purpose of arts organisations:

“People in the arts tend to have a strong sense of vocation and to take as self-evident that the arts are a good thing. But they are curiously embarrassed to articulate the benefits the arts create. It can be invigorating for arts professionals to inquire into that deeper sense of purpose and to communicate it to audiences and funders alike.”

Read the full piece on AMA Commons.


Searching for a silver lining

My latest article for Arts Professional tries to unearth opportunities in the approaching austerity in arts funding.


Nobody likes cuts. But is it too outlandish to see an upside to financial uncertainty? Perhaps not. Organisations that navigate the storms ahead may gain more autonomy to set their own destiny. A possible outcome could be that they reconnect with their fundamental purpose and refresh how they deliver value to audiences.

This may sound panglossian. In austerity, our energies concentrate simply on survival and the niceties of maintaining and delivering a vision recede to the sidelines. But it can be a mistake to treat the values that inform an organisation as too costly a luxury to merit attention at a time like this. Clarity about what an organisation exists to achieve is central to making good decisions in the face of challenge.

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Why do people turn to the arts?

The Angel of the North, Gateshead


Arts companies seem to be developing a healthy interest in the intrinsic benefits of the arts, if this week’s annual conference of the Arts Marketing Association is a guide. This seems slightly counter-intuitive. At a time when many companies are feeling the loss of public funding, you might expect the arts to intensify their focus on the public policy objectives which secure grants – such as their economic impact. Possibly, the more challenging financial environment is freeing the sector to think outside the box.

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