Abandon Normal Devices (AND) www.andfestival.org.uk
Abandon Normal Devices (AND) describes itself as ‘a catalyst for new approaches to art-making and digital invention, commissioning ground breaking projects which challenge the definitions of art and moving image. With a distinct emphasis on creative enquiry and provocations, AND creates a space where artists can reflect on and play with the impact of new technologies. The AND portfolio consists of film happenings, exhibitions, performances, online projects, residencies, public realm interventions and a roaming biennial festival.’
AND was initially established as a fixed term cultural Olympiad project by its founding partners, FACT in Liverpool, Cornerhouse in Manchester and folly (since demised). A pioneering festival which engaged diverse communities and artists in digital cultural experiences across the North West of England, it made a major impact. It was so successful that it was awarded legacy funding from the Olympiad and thereby triggering an enquiry into its future role and business model. BK, working with artist Simon Poulter, supported the founding organisations and the fledgling AND in exploring how it might best be sustainable. This involved calibrating the optimal balance whereby FACT and Cornerhouse could support AND while allowing it freedom to develop its own identity and market niche complementary to its founders’ activities.
BK facilitated a collaborative process whereby individual cultural leaders could identify and agree goals, issues and solutions of mutual benefit. This included articulating a compelling vision, assessing funding opportunities and the development of partnerships across local authorities, universities and national agencies. Fundamental to designing an organisation fit for the purpose of sustaining AND’s innovative practice was the process of developing and evaluating options to achieve and sustain a set of agreed objectives. Risks and benefits were evaluated and, as a result of the process, a new organisation was set up following transition planning.
In June 2017 AND became part of the Arts Council of England’s National Portfolio of funded organisations.
Catstrand, New Galloway www.catstrand.com
Catstrand is a small arts centre in a remote part of the South West of Scotland with a small population (c2000). It has a varied arts programme and provides training and conference facilities, shop and café. It was created by members of the local community as part of an active response to the severely negative impacts of the local agricultural community through the Foot and Mouth disease epidemic in 2001
The Glenkens Community Arts Trust was successful in achieving both capital and time-limited revenue support to support the redevelopment of an old school and also the business start up.. As this time limited funding was due to end, BK worked with the trustees to remodel the business in a manner which was sustainable, allowing Catstrand to continue and develop its successful programme, craft shop and café at an appropriate scale.
For this project we drew on our experience with the Eastgate Arts Centre and Theatre in Peebles, where the business had to be significantly remodelled when the original model proved unsustainable.
Royal Opera House www.roh.org.uk
Following Tony Hall’s appointment as the Chief Executive of the Royal Opera House in 2001, BK worked reporting to him over a five-year period on a variety of projects including business planning, operational management, supporting the setting up of ROH2, the development of co-operative working across the House, the production of a board manual, a system of risk analysis (working with London Business School and middle managers within the ROH) and a cultural diversity policy (working with a steering group made up of representatives of all levels of the organisation, including board members).
Gulbenkian, University of Kent www.thegulbenkian.co.uk
Gulbenkian is the University of Kent’s Arts Centre offering innovative, engaging and high quality arts activity for the public, staff and students. It has a particular focus on the creative empowerment of children and young people.
The building contains a theatre, cinema and a café which incorporates an informal cabaret style space for live music, comedy and slam poetry and it runs a busy popular café.
Over the last five years it has significantly increased its activities, profile and programme including the Gulbenkian Youth Theatre and Youth Dance Company, run in partnership with Jasmin Vardimon Company. It is home to ART31, a cultural leadership project, led by young people, TECH31 , SCREEN31 and Tech(Y)31 and the international family festival- bOing! In 2015 it became part of the Arts Council of England’s National Portfolio for the first time.
BK reignited its relationship with the Gulbenkian after the appointment of Liz Moran as the leader of the arts centre, having previously worked with the theatre in the past. Liz had ambitious plans to extend activity and engagement and particularly to support young people and to commission high quality productions and festivals for young people. This required a review of the staff and structure and BK undertook this process, identifying the balance and nature of skills required to achieve artistic, business and audience objectives. We went on to design a new structure and support the recruitment of new posts. As the Gulbenkian has expanded, we have regularly reviewed progress and facilitated management away days.
BK’s relationship with the Gulbenkian an example where BK retains an overview of the organisation and provides support at key points. Similar relationships include with Dundee Rep and Scottish Dance Theatre, Theatre Royal, Newcastle, Yorkshire Dance and the Kings and Festival Theatres.