What’s the point of culture?

An inspiring article by Frank Cottrell Boyce about how culture develops – through generosity, curiosity, open ended and in unexpected ways across time rather than through a utalitarian, transactional ‘investment’ approach.

“The powerful thing about the gift – as opposed to an investment – is that its consequences are impossible to predict.”

Audiences for outdoor arts tend to be representative of the local demographics

“Unlike audiences for many other artforms and cultural activities, audiences for outdoor arts tend to be representative of the demographics of the public in their area.”

The Audience Agency (UK) has published an interesting report about audiences for outdoor arts.

Art-ificial intelligence

Auckland Art Gallery’s new chatbot demonstrates art-ificial intelligence to give new access to 17,000 artworks. The chatbot is accessible via Facebook Messenger.

It is part of an initiative called Send Me SFMOMA headed by the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA), who launched their text message-based chatbot in July 2017. Following the project’s success, SFMOMA shared basic code behind the chatbot, so that institutions around the world could adapt it to their own holdings. Auckland Art Gallery’s project was initiated following a conversation with SFMOMA facilitated by Sabine Doolin, Audience Strategist from InsightUnlocked, and Anna Leary, Director of Objective Virtual Marketing.

Auckland Art Gallery press release:


(c) Auckland Art Gallery

Researching cultural value – have me made progress?

A US and a UK researcher discuss whether we have made progress in researching cultural value.

I like the idea of “moving away from ‘research for advocacy’ and towards research that helps those working in the cultural sector make better decisions”.

Welcoming diverse visitors – are you looking at the data in the right way?

A diverse audience is a much proclaimed goal for many cultural organisations, and rightly so. Public arts organisations need to be relevant to a broad population in order to be sustainable and funded long term. This means striving for an audience that is representative of the population.

The upcoming NZ census will tell us more about the ever-increasing diversity of the NZ population and with the update of the Audience Atlas by MHM and Creative NZ due in a few months, we will be able to compare cultural audiences with the population and understand the opportunities and challenges.

Here is a good perspective on how to look at such data and how to interpret (and not mis-interpret) it by Colleen Dilenschneider: Why Some Cultural Organizations Overestimate Success In Welcoming Diverse Visitors