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Arts Business Models

Expressions of interest to be partnered with a successful arts organisation for an 8 month peer learning relationship, supported with seed funding, are now open. Whilst this project is primarily focused on Hampshire Solent museums, one or two museums from other parts of the Museum Development South East or South West regions will be given the opportunity to take part.

Opportunities are still available to be matched with one of four inspiring case study organisations: Aspex, Portsmouth; Graeae Theatre Company; Lighthouse, Brighton; Multistory. Battersea Arts Centre and Tobacco Factory Theatres have already been matched with museums. Contact your local Museum Development Officer to find out more about how this project can help your museum and to discuss which partner organisation might be the best match for your ambitions.

This project explores:

  • Why are museums thinking about business models?
  • What do we mean by business models?
  • What are other cultural organisations doing?
  • What do museums need to do?

The project is designed to enable museums to learn from successful arts business models through a peer-to-peer approach.

By ‘business models’, we mean the model by which an arts organisation operates as a business, including its value proposition, sources of revenue, customer base, services or products, operating systems and processes, financial arrangements, relationships with suppliers and partners, workforce arrangements and organisational culture

We commissioned arts business experts Alchemy Research & Consultancy to undertake a significant piece of research to identify 6 case study arts organisations with successful business models, willing to share their learning with museums.

Through the research project, six case studies have been written and warm contacts brokered with the case study organisations:

Aspex, Portsmouth
Battersea Arts Centre
Graeae Theatre Company
Lighthouse, Brighton
Tobacco Factory Theatres, Bristol

As the next stage of the project, we are now offering the opportunity for six museums to each be paired with one of the case study organisations, in order to embark on an 8-month partnership of peer learning.

The case study organisations have been chosen to demonstrate a diverse range of approaches to success in the arts. They show the rich variety of ways in which successful organisations work to ensure their financial future and to build positive relationships with communities and other stakeholders.

In addition, Alchemy has written a report providing an overview of key business models found in the cultural sector: what are established and new approaches, which models are emerging as ‘successful’ in the sense of enabling organisations to continue to deliver on their missions in a sustainable way? How can museums improve their own sustainability by learning from other arts organisations’ business models? We are publishing this report to provide valuable learning to the wider museums sector.

Read the report and case studies and apply to be paired with one of these successful arts organisations.