By Tina

The UK has by many accounts an excellent cultural provision, with exceptional arts organisations and first-class museums and heritage. So why are we talking about “bad” culture here?

The cultural sector is by no means perfect and its successes unfortunately do not always extend across the UK and to all organisations or cultural policy-making. One of the main reasons is because the UK has many and different cultural organisations, varying in artform, size, resources, reach, remit, and region. And these factors, in addition to multiple others, play an important role in how well organisations do (financially at least).

Bad culture, or bad cultural policies, ignore these factors and the impact they have on cultural organisations and their fundraising achievements. They also often fail to recognise that the sector does not exist in a vacuum and that it’s not just internal factors related to organisations themselves that determine their performance (in the business not artistic sense of the word).

Any research in this area therefore needs to seriously consider the implications that external factors also have for the sector, or risk overlooking the true intricacies at play when analysing and making sense of private investment trends in particular. Even private investment itself comprises different types and levels of giving from different sources and driven by different motivations – if not explored in detail it is unlikely (or potentially impossible) to get the level of insight necessary to translate into recommendations that will truly yield the “returns” people are hoping for.

Understanding that the sector is competing for people’s time and money, against a plethora of other options is therefore imperative. And placing cultural organisations in the context of the wider charitable sector is also necessary, as is thinking about the economy and what impact this is likely to have on business objectives for sponsorship, and disposable income for individuals. And this is all coupled with the voluntary and unpredictable nature of charitable giving in general, which in itself is likely to have ramifications on policies in this area.

My posts over the following months, will therefore aim to look at these issues (amongst others) in more detail. And in line with the purpose of this blog they will also interrogate relevant articles, reports and policy recommendations focusing specifically on the themes of private investment, particularly from businesses (sponsorship) and individuals (philanthropy and crowdfunding).

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