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Creative Lenses

Creative Lenses was a 4 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 brought 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.

The team included cultural organisations, specifically cultural venues and performing arts companies, cultural networks, universities, incubators for ‘creative business’ and consultants with experience of the sector. This meant some of us were seeking to make change and support the process of change; others were interested in understanding the causes and consequences of the type of change occurring in the cultural sector and others were interested in reflecting on the role of policy interventions in shaping the nature of change.

Project partners

For more information on the project journey, research designs, and project findings, please read the Project Implementation and Findings.

Past projects and related events

SULA Conference Helsinki

The Creative Lenses UAL team presented at the SULA conference in Helsinki on 12 October 2017

In their presentation, Lucy Kimbell, Sarah Rhodes and Bethany Rex, outlined the parameters within which the research has developed, as well as sharing initial findings relating to the concept of business model change for arts and cultural organisations. Prior to the conference, UAL facilitated a workshop involving all project partners where the team used future-orientated methodologies from design research to stimulate reflection on the first phase of the catalyst programme. You can read a report about the conference and the workshop by Bethany Rex.

Creative Lenses Forum London

The forum, 'Innovative Business Models in the Arts' held on 13 October 2016 at University of the Arts London brought 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 has given 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. Read an overview of the Creative Lenses Forum by Rosa Perez Monclus.

The Market of Forms was set-up as a pop-up market run by London-based creative practitioners, civil-society groups, practice-based researchers and others. The event explored critical and creative forms of organisations to highlight their potential.

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.