Opinion | Arts and Culture in 2015 – what next?

The Audience Agency team give their predictions for 2015...

Now that we have settled into 2015 (resolutions anyone?) we’d like to divert your attention away from the remaining weeks of darkness and cold onto what the next 12 months will bring to the arts and culture sector.

The Audience Agency is uniquely placed to gain insights at both the micro and macro level embedded, as we are, regionally, yet working nationally across England and Wales.

Here are some thoughts from us as to the key trends we’ll see in 2015:

Adrienne Pye, Regional Director South East
“We are beginning to see the effect of Creative People and Places programmes nationally and I think this will gather considerable momentum during 2015. In some areas, it’s as much about giving a voice to it’s as much about giving a platform for local arts practitioners, who have suddenly found somewhere to go, to get involved and to make and create great suggestions for future activity as it is about audiences. By the end of 2015 we will see more clearly how the foundations have been laid for long term impact.”

Margot Walker, Regional Manager, Yorkshire
“It’s unavoidable that there are (further) lean times ahead and arts managers are going to have to make some tough business decisions about how to run their services and imagine what they could like in the future. They need to be able to make the most of their assets, physical and intellectual and take risks to generate income.”

Lucie Fitton, Head of Engagement
“Despite the crisis in the NHS there is an increasing recognition of the role arts and culture can play in supporting health and wellbeing. However, there needs to be more robust ways of evaluating the actual impact arts can have on health and it is in this area of evaluation that I predict we will see developments in 2015.”

Carol Jones, Director, Wales
“There will be a step change for many organisations in understanding, through research and data analysis, and communicating their core vision and values. Words like ‘lean’, ‘agile’ and ‘iterative’ – will be used a lot (in a good way).
More arts and culture organisations will consider the whole customer journey and we’ll see a greater emphasis on customer service and loyalty campaigns.”

Howard Buckley, Marketing Director
“More arts and culture organisations will experiment with additional paid advertising channels such as Facebook and Twitter. These need not be budget prohibitive but up until now the sector has been slower than others to experiment. This will change in 2015 with many organisations realising the opportunities afforded by supplementing organic social activity with paid.”

Pam Pfrommer, Head of Learning Resources
“I’d echo earlier comments about the need for diversification as a means of income generation. Essentially I think we’ll witness a rise in cultural entrepreneurialism with organisations having to earn income from things other than their core offer, while still needing to retain their brand authenticity.”

Katie Moffat, Head of Digital
"In my own area of digital I strongly believe that 2015 will be a year in which the arts and culture sector properly gets to grips with digital metrics, in particular of course Google Analytics. Measuring the value of activity taken, against objectives set, rather than simply reporting aggregate numbers and using data to make informed decisions on future digital activity. Mobile will continue to increase in importance as the main route to the audience and wearable tech will bring further innovation to venues and events. Some of the larger organisations will start to experiment with programmatic advertising but we’re some way off this moving into the mainstream."

These are just some of our thoughts on where we’re headed in 2015, we’d love to hear what you think is on the horizon?