Today we are really delighted to be publishing a new Artistic Policy statement for the Albany. It’s the first major piece of work I’ve led on in my first few months here as Head of Creative Programmes. At the Albany we are excited by what might look at first glance as something which isn’t hugely ground-breaking in the arts world – but for us it’s a great step towards further defining what this brilliant and much loved arts centre puts on its stage(s).
The reason behind developing this artistic statement was to try and take a more strategic approach to how we programme our work here at the Albany. I started thinking about it last year as I was going through the recruitment process for the role. I talked to many people, both in and outside of the arts world, both local to the Albany and not. Overwhelmingly I found that there was a lack of understanding as to the type of work we put on as a venue. People didn’t really know what we stood for artistically, or what they were likely to find on at the venue. This was despite the same people having a real sense of the Albany as a place for the community and a general ‘good feeling’ about it. Then, when I started working for the Albany, I was overwhelmed by the volume of programming proposals that came in on a daily basis and how to go about choosing which ones were a good fit. I felt a clear strategic rationale would help with both those things in time – making deciding between proposals clearer, and making it clearer to the public what kind of things they could expect to see in our programme.
So, following on from that ‘informal’ consultation (basically – me chatting to people) we had some more formal conversations at the Albany. I asked staff members and our Board and people that we work with what they felt the Albany did best (and what didn’t work so well). What we eventually came up with is the statement that you can go on to read now.
The other important thing that we wanted to do was manage people’s expectations about what we could offer to them as artists or partners. We are really committed to being as transparent as we possibly can about the type of support we can provide, and about not making those offers in unintelligible ‘arts speak’. We want people to understand our financial situation and to make sure that we understand and are supporting theirs too. We are also keen to make sure people understand the type of information we need to have before we can make a decision about giving them an opportunity.
I hope that we’ve gone some way to doing that and that if you are an artist or an organisation who wants to work with us, this information is useful . Please have a read here and tell us what you think!
Head of Creative Programmes