How do we locate our culture? What is it exactly, and of all our pursuits, which are culturally significant? The customs and ideas that gain acceptance in our society are precious. So too are the organisations - public or private - whose task it is to nurture, promote and preserve the components that make up our cultural identity.
These organisations face considerable challenges to maintain a position of trust and relevance in a time when content, or the output of our cultural pursuits, is expanding, accelerating and shifting from a vertically oriented elite to a horizontal, democratic mass. Their futures are by no means certain and they must find ways to cement their value in the public’s perception.
We work with a number of venerable cultural institutions and watch the fortunes of others. It’s no surprise that those who manage the balancing act of brave insightful programming with razor sharp focus on customer requirements are the ones that thrive.
The days when cultural destinations could take a lofty stance are over. But this doesn’t mean dumbing down. The public hunger for meaningful experiences is, and will remain, strong. How our galleries and museums tap into that, how they learn to share knowledge and collaborate, how they connect with visitors on the visitors’ terms, will shape what we record and celebrate as our culture in the very near future.