By Jonathan Tuchner, Director of External Relations
If you visit Tate Modern during the next few days, go down the ramp and turn right into The Tanks. On the opposite wall you will find images and notes celebrating thirteen years of the Unilever Series at the Turbine Hall.
It is a quiet celebration; a gentle place to reflect on what has arguably been the most significant arts and business partnership over the past decade or so. Many will forever recall the glow of Ólafur Elíasson’s The Weather Project, the thrill of Test Site by Carsten Höller, or the structure of Rachel Whiteread’s 2005 Embankment. Unilever’s money made all this happen.
Tino Sehgal’s These Association is the final work in the Unilever-sponsored series, which has attracted almost 30 million visitors over the past dozen years. Unilever says “It was planning a change of direction in its sponsorship programme, which is more focused on sustainability and the environment.” Where does that leave the arts?
Between 2000 and 2012, Unilever provided £4.4m sponsorship in total, including a renewal deal of £2.2m for a period of five years which was agreed in 2008. This is big money for arts partnerships and it created huge public interest and media profile for Unilever.
Unilever has had a long and important relationship with the arts over many years. This has ranged from the creation of the Lady Lever Art Gallery in Port Sunlight through to in-house amateur dramatics in the 1960s and an astonishing programme called Catalyst which ran over much of the last decade using the arts to inspire and engage their staff. Their relationship with Tate began when Niall Ferguson was in charge and I recall him early on saying it was his passion for art that drove the investment. Clearly there was passion but what was the business case?
The rationale seemed to revolve more on the important task of promoting and supporting the Unilever group name rather than the individual brands that they make. Then again, could, or should, (or even would) a publicly funded gallery promote the many individual brands that make up the portfolio of a consumer goods company who sponsors them? Does it look strange if a gallery is happy to sell a copy of Andy Warhol’s print of a Campbell’s Soup Can in their shop but refuse to sell the soup itself in their cafe?”
The end of the Unilever series follows fairly hot on the heels of the end of the Orange Prize for Fiction. Following the London Olympics, will 2012 be remembered as the year sport became essential to our lives and the public’s belief in the arts fell away? As we lose two of the best known, most widely celebrated arts and business partnership – is there a wider significance to these business decisions? More importantly who can pick up the mantle, and become our next high profile partners of the arts?
New kids on the block
We feel cautiously optimistic. There are always new players coming to the fore, be they locally or nationally. Last Thursday saw the first in the Ignition Series created by Sky Arts. Sky Arts Ignition: Doug Aitken - The Source is a fast moving portrait of modern creativity housed on Liverpool’s historic Albert Dock in a structure designed by Aitken in collaboration with British architect David Adjaye OBE.
The commission forms part of the seventh Liverpool Biennial, and will be Aitken’s first public realm installation in the UK, showcasing his ambitious approach to contemporary art.
James Hunt, director of Sky Arts says, “Sky Arts Ignition Series is not just about the creation of artwork, it is about collaboration and shared experiences with astounding artists like Doug Aitken and great institutions such as Tate Liverpool.”
There is more good news - Travelex’s partnership with the National Theatre going from strength to strength, the RSC announcing record profits, Bloomberg’s work with contemporary dance and new art.
When Arts & Business was founded over thirty years ago the juxtaposition of the words ‘arts’ and ‘business’ felt both a necessary clarion call, and a leap of faith – proclaiming as it did that the future of both the arts, and of business, would burn more brightly if they worked closer together.
The arts simply cannot flourish without the support of business, and the relative importance of business to the arts will continue to increase in the years ahead.
Arts and commerce, culture and business, creativity and philanthropy are all inextricably linked. Moreover the stakes have never been higher. If we collectively fail to deliver on the requisite opportunities for growth, we place more of the cultural vitality of our communities at risk.
Arts & Business is about to release our full analysis of the state of private investment in the arts. Yes, we are are at a crucial juncture, a cross-roads, call it what you will. The Government no longer sees itself as the most “reliable funder of culture”; the economy shrinks, grass root sport is all the rage – where are the arts in all this?
As this new act unfolds in the drama of arts funding, with new players playing lead roles, we know there are opportunities for business growth.
There will always be businesses keen to snuggle up to the arts community as it gives businesses a key into its biggest commodity, namely human thought. This is a good thing.
At the same time there are too many people yet to discover the ecstasy, spirituality, sustenance and meaning art can bring to their lives.
When they started their partnerships, Unilever clearly understood this, so did Orange. Soon, there will be other names to join their ranks in recognising how starting a partnership with the arts can bring real advantages. Business brands, and the support, know-how and passion of their people need to be at the core of all new arts activities.
Director of External Relations
In response to “Goodbye Arts & Business, hello…what exactly?” by David Dixon
By Philip Spedding
“I hope that David Dixon does not see our recent merger with Business in the Community as, in any way, the end of Arts & Business.
We plan to continue with much of the same work we have always done. We will focus on working with corporate members BP, Sky arts, The Prudential, PwC, The Co-operative, Google, Bank of America, Ernst & Young etc to enhance and promote their support of cultural projects across the UK. Our Board Bank programme, placing individuals in business on the boards of arts organisation, remains extremely popular. Our training of the arts has gone from strength to strength (our major annual symposium, “Growing, Not Going” is on 29 February with speakers from Tate, Cambridge University Press, Google, British Museum, Ingenious Media and featuring the BBC’s Will Gompertz and the philanthropist Dame Stephanie Shirley – don’t miss out, book now!).
Our arts consultancy clients range from an amateur theatre in Cheshire to a major art gallery in Italy. And, of course, our engagement with business will get stronger, working with and building on the very successful membership model created by Business in the Community. So in many ways, it is business as usual.
But we will also remain very much in the philanthropy debate.
Indeed, one of David’s longstanding criticisms of Arts & Business has been his belief that we only focus on business. In fact we were keenly aware of the growing importance of individual giving even before the DCMS funded us, 12 years ago, to start a more active programme in this area. Since that time we have produced the most comprehensive figures on individual support of culture each year, written the UK’s first arts specific manual on raising money from individuals, trained hundreds of arts organisations in the skills needed, undertaken a shelf of research which continues to be frequently quoted (and were one of the primary funders of Theresa Lloyd’s definitive book on “Cultural Giving”), fed into the Treasury’s thinking on tax issues and created both the Prince’s Medal for Arts Philanthropy and the local Cultural Champions programme.
Given this, we were happy to accept ACE’s invitation to be one of the regular speakers at the recent Catalyst Workshops across England that looked at individual philanthropy and fundraising and were pleased that those who came seemed to value what we had to say.
Indeed, we wouldn’t see fundraising from individuals and from business as two entirely separate forms of activity. The list of those people who have received the Prince’s Medal for Arts Philanthropy over the last four years underlines what most fundraisers already know: the top business people who decide whether their company sponsors the arts can often be significant individual supporters of the arts as well. The relationship between Lloyd Dorfman, Travelex and the National Theatre is one obvious case in point. Likewise Michael Oglesby in the North West shows how a passionate business leader, of Bruntwood fame, can also do an enormous amount of good for the arts in a personal capacity. The arguments needed to encourage businesses and individuals to invest in the arts may be different but they both require as a foundation a good relationship between the person making the decision and the arts organisation. And exploring how that relationship can be strengthened has been one of the central tenets of the work of Arts & Business for the last 35 years.
What is difficult to do without subsidy is run those elements of our work that cannot support themselves financially. We remain a charity and any income we generate from our more commercial activity will be ploughed into our other less commercial areas of work and much of that is arts focused. We absolutely agree with David that training and networking remain important and Arts & Business has, of course, a strong track record in delivering both, helping arts fundraisers to share and learn from each other. What we now need to do is to look closely at what other provision exists to see where we can still add value – however, we would agree with the many arts organisations over the years who have told us that cultural fundraising is, in many important ways, different from wider charity fundraising and that those who specialise in that, such as the excellent Institute of Fundraising, may not be best placed to help the arts as well.
There is much to decide and much to do and we are excited about remaining a vital part of the cultural landscape, in all meanings of the word ‘vital’. Colin Tweedy will remain central to that as the interim leader for now and as a Vice President thereafter.
Some of Arts & Business will remain the same and some will change – but whatever Arts & Business becomes, it would be a shame if we didn’t continue to inspire David Dixon to write his occasional broadsides. We know that David likes to “stir things up” occasionally but whether he is accurate or not in what he says, it is vitally important that these debates happen in the arts.
Ultimately, they make us all stronger.
Senior Manager, International & Individual Giving, Arts & Business, 6 February 2012
First published in Arts Professional.
‘Growing, Not Going’ - book your place at our annual symposium on arts funding, 29 Feb 2012, London
Our Digital Campaigns Manager Patrick Hussey will be speaking and presenting at two digital networking events in the North West this February and we’d love for you to join him…
Firstly… In Manchester (16 Feb)
Patrick will be presenting @ CING Coffee Club’s Digital Networking Series’ first event on Digital Networking, Thursday 16 February 16, 12pm at Innospace (AHW Room), Minshull House, Chorlton St, Manchester M1 3FY.
The rest of the series will cover Social Commerce, Boosting Your Google Ranking and Legal aspects of Social media.
This workshop is all about using Twitter to further your career. It is an incredible medium for reaching out to new people and Patrick will cover all the tactics you’ll need to do so. Please note, this will be a highly interactive workshop and we seriously recommend bringing along a laptop or tablet device in order to get the most from this session.
!!!Attendees should ensure they have in place a Twitter account and a Hootsuite account linked to it prior to arrival at the workshop!!!
Click here to book your place! http://www.meetup.com/C-I-N-G/events/47313252/
And then… In Bolton (21 Feb)
Patrick will be speaking @ Enabling: Digital Development in the Arts Tuesday 21 February 2012, 10am – 4.15 pm, Bolton College.
In the current changing economic climate it is important for organisations to keep up with fast moving digital development, whether using new technology to support promotion, income generation, protect intellectual property rights or to offer something new and innovative to clients. ‘Enabling: Digital Development in the Arts’ will help your business get a grip on digital technology.
To book your place and for further details visit: http://enablingdigitaldevelopment.eventbrite.co.uk/
About our Digital Campaigns Manager
Patrick is our Digital Campaigns Manager and was employed to create a social presence from scratch.
As a result, Arts & Business now has over 15,000 followers on one of the most followed and influential Twitter accounts in the cultural sector. In addition, we have 1,500 group members on LinkedIn, 2,400 Facebook fans and various other social and file sharing platforms. He also creates podcasts for several cultural clients including Horizon Literary Magazine and The Independent as well as being a freelance editor of fiction.
By Dipak Mistry
Senior Consultant, Arts & Business
A new public arts programme for Anglia Ruskin University recently got underway. Its theme is technology and innovation with the aim to bring arts and technology together.
The programme has three strands:
• Artist in Residence (Dancan Speakman http://productofcircumstance.com/)
• Technology Collaboration
I am fortunate to be leading on the Technology Collaboration strand, which launched 23 January 2012 and marked the first stage of a project where scientists from Philips met with some artists. The long-term plan being that Phillips will work with one of them for a period of 6 - 12 months.
What will they do, you may ask? Well this strand is primarily a Research and Development project so they will respond to two of Philips main strategic business areas; Mobile & Sensor Communication and Health & wellbeing.
The artist will work closely with the scientists to explore how the arts can help with these issues and what social and community benefits can be gained from them. In return, Philips will share in-depth knowledge and information and demonstrate new and emerging technology so the artist can explore alternative and new interpretations.
It is expected the collaboration will be showcased to the public in July, but watch this space for upcoming events!
We also expect these results to be shared with the wider arts and technology communities via an API (Application-Programming Interface) … this means others can use this new content to develop their own software or programmes!
Details can be found here: http://visualisecambridge.org/?page_id=33
And here from Philips
More will be revealed, but in the mean time, please do contact me for further information or leave a comment below!