Creative Lenses

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EU Creative Europe

Creative Lenses Forum on Innovative Business Models in the Arts

Thursday 13 October 2016


Chelsea College of Arts, University of the Arts London, Banqueting Hall, 16 John Islip Street, London. SW1P 4JU

Cost: £30.00 Independent Professional or individual, £50.00 Full paying delegates

This one-day event brings together thinkers and managers from arts and cultural organisations, academia and business to explore business models in independent arts venues and performing arts organisations. Combining high profile keynotes with practical workshops and time for shared sensemaking, this event will give arts leaders and managers an opportunity to step back and ask what innovative business models are emerging in the sector, what is shaping change, and what models their own organisation might develop.

This event is part of Creative Lenses, a four-year cross-European action research project which aims to strengthen and develop the business capacity and sustainability of European cultural and arts organisations.


The day will comprise stimulating panel discussions, talks and hands-on workshops where delegates can engage with a range of topics such as how to make the best use of data, or the challenges and opportunities for small arts organisations.

Confirmed speakers include: Julie Aldridge (Arts Marketing Association), Catherine Bunting (Everyday Participation), Stefan Haefliger (Cass Business School), Francesca Sanderson (Nesta), Giovanni Schiuma (University of Basilicata), Mary-Alice Stack (Creative United), David Crow (Camberwell, Chelsea, Wimbledon at University of the Arts London), Andy Hamflett (AAM Consultancy), Lucy Kimbell (University of the Arts London), Robin Norton-Hale (OperaUPClose), Birgitta Persson (Trans Europe Halles), Adam Thorpe (Central Saint Martins at University of the Arts London).

Who is it for?

As well as researchers and academics, this event will be of interest to small to medium, not-for-profit arts organisations including venues, companies and festivals.

Why does it matter?

Art centres and performing arts organisations are under pressure, especially in the context of austerity reducing public sector funding. Creative Lenses will produce and share know-how and will support arts venues in developing new business models and new ways of engaging audiences and managing their resources, enabling them to contribute to societal and cultural change. Through three phases of work, Creative Lenses will explore current practice, develop and test new models, and synthesise and communicate learning.

How to book

Book your place

About Creative Lenses

Creative Lenses is a four-year cross-European action research project which aims to strengthen and develop the business capacity and sustainability of European cultural and arts organisations. Funded by the Creative Europe programme of the European Union, this project brings together some of Europe’s leading arts and cultural organisations to share and distill knowledge about the current and future business models and ongoing sustainability of cultural and arts organisations. These are the organisations who are involved in the project:

These are the projected outcomes of the four year project:

21 workshops, 2 conferences, 8 forums, a 10-month ‘Catalyst’ programme for seven of the partners to test new business models, the publication of a book, a business models development toolkit, a digital benchmarking tool and academic reports.

Creative Lenses Focus group

The workshop was organised as a focus group and facilitated by Lucy Kimbell in collaboration with the researchers from the University of Basilicata, Italy.

As part of the EC-funded Creative Lenses project, UAL organised a focus group in collaboration with researchers from University of Basilicata, Italy. 

The workshop enabled researchers to engage with London arts organisations, venues and performing arts companies through a structured session to share expertise and perspectives about developing viable and sustainable business models. Participants included The Place, Creative United, Arts Catalyst, Battersea Arts Centre, Corsica Studios, Furtherfield and Vortex Jazz. Findings will be combined and compared with outputs from similar workshops across Europe. 

This was an invite-only workshop, held in February 2016.

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