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Igniting intelligence & innovation

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Notes from our chair

Cindy Sughrue, Chair of the Board, looks back on 2011/12:

“2011/12 was another lively and successful year for Culture Sparks. Our experience, the power of collaboration, and the impact of strategic working really began to pay off. We continued to focus on three ‘pillars’ of strategic activity: cultural audience intelligence; data, sales & marketing support; and digital innovation. Our in-house team delivered a range of dedicated a la carte consultancy – so important to each individual organisation in meeting their audience development objectives – as well as facilitating larger scale, national projects. The latter are the result of horizon scanning, aggregating intelligence and developing solutions to meet the needs of a range of our members, clients and stakeholders – not just one.

“What’s clear from our work is that developing cultural engagement is a long-term business and that, more than ever before, arts organisations need scalable information and evidence about audiences as well as practical support to make this real. This gives them significant competitive advantage in the marketplace and in making the case for public funding, and the insight to make better tactical choices at home. Most important of all, our members and partners have shown their commitment to acting on this intelligence strategically, embracing new relationships and ways of working and improving what they do every day, despite the challenging economic, social and political environment in which we live.

“We expect conditions to be just as challenging in 2012/13. However, with the Commonwealth Games in 2014 and a Scottish referendum in the offing, there has never been a better time for Scotland’s arts and culture to be centre stage. We are taking the longer view and strengthening our role in the sector, extending our reach throughout Scotland through partnerships with colleagues at The Audience Business in Edinburgh to give our members, subscribers and new partners the value and service, intelligence about audiences, and innovations they demand.

“I thank my Board colleagues for their hard work and guidance over the past year, and I pay tribute to the outstanding Culture Sparks staff team under the energetic leadership of Julie Tait. Their dedication will ensure that we rise to the challenges of the coming year and continue to offer excellent services and support to Scotland’s cultural sector.”

Cindy Sughrue