James McVeigh: A collaborative story


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James McVeigh, Head of Marketing and Innovation, Festivals Edinburgh

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  • These four areas provide a focus and clear agenda for the work of Festivals Edinburgh.Unaddressed, they represent significant threats to the festivals and to Edinburgh as the world’s leading festival city. Addressed through our own work and in collaboration with our stakeholders and funders they offer significant opportunities.
  • Working with the Scottish Government to create and develop the Festivals Expo Fund as an investment vehicle for the creative ambitions of individual festivals
  • Our starting point for much of our innovation work was to identify, understand and work with those groups that often mediate the festivals relationship with their audience ............
  • From that basis and following further discussion and consultation we designed a series of projects and programmes in partnership with those groupings aimed at affecting the engagement process.......and we’d like to give you an overview of some of this work before moving into some general thoughts on what we’ve learned
  • An Application Programming Interface or API is a technology by which one data source makes itself available to being used as the input for services by outside parties. During the 2011 summer festival period, for the first time an API providing Edinburgh festival listings were openly available to anyone who wanted to do something useful with them. There are two types of user of the festivals listings API: press/media users and developer users. Press/media users such as newspapers and magazines are able to take the listings and reproduce them through their own channels and third party developers are able to use the listings as inputs or as the basis for new apps and services. In 2011, the API served ten press/media users and approximately twenty third party developers who used the API to power services like Festafriend, Festivals Review and data visualisations. Users access the API through a secure registration system with the data updated regularly to ensure quality and the data is provided under specific license terms to ensure users keep their applications up to date. The festivals listings API initiative is the largest of its kind in the world. In its first year it included seven summer festivals and in 2012 included all twelve festivals as represented by Festivals Edinburgh.Putting all the techno-babble to one side there are two main reasons why the Listings API project is important.Firstly, it provides an automated system by which any press or media outlet in the world can have access to individual or collective festival listings - thereby raising the reach of event information. Prior to the API, festivals would manually provide customised listings files to a select group of press/media partners - a task that was labour-intensive and provided static information despite the dynamic nature of listings changed. The APIautomates this process and allows a simple way for the number of press/media partners to scale.Arts organisations typically publicly provide their listings either through a printed programme or their own website. However by providing the listings also through an API, the festivals allow third party developers and entrepreneurs to create useful new apps and services that the festivals would not have the capacity or interest in building themselves. The scale of Edinburgh Festivals and their audiences mean that there is a lot of interest in this kind of activity and the API enables the potential creation of new services that are useful for audiences, performers and local businesses. These can then be supported informally or formally by the festivals themselves depending on what they do.
  • Culture Hack Scotland was a hack-day that ran for 24 hours from Friday May 6 - Saturday May 7 2011 at Inspace and the Informatics Forum in Edinburgh. 50 developers and designers from Scotland and the North of England attended alongside 50 cultural professionals. A hack day is an event where an event where developers, designers and people with ideas gather to build new digital prototypes in a short time. Culture Hack Scotland was the first time such an event has been held in Scotland.While hosted by festivalslab, the event was open to the wider sector. Therefore as well as a number of cultural workshop participants and other attendees, a large number of Scottish cultural organisations openly released data alongside the festivals - many for the first time. These included National Museums of Scotland, National Galleries of Scotland, City of Edinburgh Council, The List, The Skinny, ARIKA, Glasgow Film and NVA. Thisdata was then used as the basis and inspiration for the projectsIn the 24 hours, 30 new projects were made which ranged from visualisations to audience services to mobile games. Following the event 8 of those projects were developed further into full production. It was an extremely popular event with one experienced technologist who had attended many such hackdays before considering it the most productive hackday he had ever seen.Culture Hack Scotland showed four important new ways for cultural organisations to make more out of what they were doing with regards digital innovation.Firstly it validated the business case for open data, showing that if organisations are able to release previously proprietary data, that otherwise latent asset can be used as the basis for useful new products & services that the data owner either would never have thought of or would not have the capacity to develop and deliver.Secondly it demonstrated the importance of prototyping as a way to accelerate one’s innovation practice. Many organisations rarely have tangible results in proportion to the amount of time spent on discussing digital strategies. By creating actual prototypes very quickly, although they will inevitably be only proofs-of-concept, allows for a much more efficient innovation process.Thirdly, events like CHS help move organisations beyond a transactional relationship to digital talent. Instead it showcases digital talent as creative professionals rather than simple service providers which open up new possibilities. Finally and perhaps most importantly they help organisations create a network of digital talent that they would perhaps not otherwise have access to which can be used as an ongoing resource of advice, support and inspiration.
  • EF Targets - Beijing,Berlin,Edinburgh,Jaipur,Melbourne,St Malo,TorontoBC Targets - Cairo,Cape Town,Istanbul,Krasnoyarsk,Kuala Lumpur,Lisbon,Trinidad
  • James McVeigh: A collaborative story

    1. 1. Edinburgh’s Festivals:A Collaborative Story ©Festivals Edinburgh 2012
    2. 2. History and Context©Festivals Edinburgh 2012
    3. 3. History and Context1947 1950 1978 1983 1988 1990 1994 1995 2004 ©Festivals Edinburgh 2012
    4. 4. History and Context• 12 Festivals• 25,000 Artists• 1000+ producers• 2,000+ accredited media• 3,000+ shows• 4.2m audiences ©Festivals Edinburgh 2012
    5. 5. History and Context Attendance (numbers) Jan Feb March April May June July August Sept Oct Nov Dec Summer Festivals ©Festivals Edinburgh 2012
    6. 6. History and Context• CEC Festivals Strategy• Economic Impact Report• Thundering Hooves ©Festivals Edinburgh 2012
    7. 7. History and Context4 Key Strategic Areas:1. Strategic Planning around the needs, ambitions, threats and opportunities of Edinburgh’s festivals2. Joint marketing of Edinburgh’s Festivals and of Edinburgh as world’s leading Festival City3. Supporting programme innovation and development4. Addressing infrastructure issues affecting the festivalsOpportunities and Threats ©Festivals Edinburgh 2012
    8. 8. History and Context FESTIVALS FORUM CEOs of key public sector stakeholders plus independent experts Mid to long term planning, including funding and decision making concerning Edinburgh’s competitive position as the world’s leading Festival City. THUNDERING HOOVES STEERING GROUP Managers/Officers of key stakeholders Monitoring and ensuring implementation of the action plan; following through decisions made at the Festivals Forum FESTIVALS EDINBURGH FE Board: 12 Festival Directors/CEOs FE : 8 staff ©Festivals Edinburgh 2012
    9. 9. CollaborationModel©Festivals Edinburgh 2012
    10. 10. Collaboration: AimsMission: Help to sustain theFestivals’ and Edinburgh’s pre-eminence as the world’sleading festival cityKey Objectives:• Act on behalf of and represent the collective strengths of the Edinburgh Festivals• Develop and deliver collaborative projects and initiatives ©Festivals Edinburgh 2012
    11. 11. Collaboration: MembershipMembership Criteria for Festivals• Exists for a charitable purpose• Accepts membership fees [sliding scale]• Promotes a programme of events that is: – open to the general public – takes place predominantly within Edinburgh –for the most part concentrated within a period of not more than 1 month, not less than 3 days – is delivered either annually or biennially• Successful record of at least three years standing• Has governance and infrastructure in place• Commit to working to deliver the joint principles• World class in its quality and delivery• Position of established leadership• High degree of distinctiveness and pre-eminence• Positive contribution to the current mix ©Festivals Edinburgh 2012
    12. 12. Collaboration: Governance FESTIVALS EDINBURGH FE Board: 12 Festival Directors/CEOs FE Staff: 8 FTE What is required to achieve our objectives and enhance our position? Programming WORKING Environment GROUPS Marketing • FestivalStaff Members • Chaired by a board Innovation member Professional Development • Supported by FE staff member Development [Fundraising] ©Festivals Edinburgh 2012
    13. 13. Working Groups©Festivals Edinburgh 2012
    14. 14. Process Fundraise GO REVISING Agree with Board Exploring Funding Opportunities Evolve Action Plan Agree with Board Evolve Strategy Cross-festival working group Commission Research Board agree exploration Future STOP STOP STOP Gaze ©Festivals Edinburgh 2012
    15. 15. Programming• Investment: Scottish Government Edinburgh Festivals Expo Fund• Talent: World’s elite and emerging artists• Internationalism: Country/Regional showcases across Festivals, internationational Gatherings ©Festivals Edinburgh 2012
    16. 16. Programming: Diplomacy• Identifying Key International Areas• Mapping Key Partner International Relationships• Building Cultural and Diplomatic Partnerships• Aligning ambitions and work with tourism, education and business agendas in Scotland ©Festivals Edinburgh 2012
    17. 17. Marketing A fun, unforgettable cultural experience in an iconic city Promise Creative buzz Something for everyone Benefits The world in Edinburgh A Scottish renaissance person Witty & flamboyant Charismatic Personality Cultural & informed Authoritative Genuine uniqueness Welcoming Enriching Values Leading edge 12 Festivals 1000s of performances Year round Staged in Edinburgh 100s of venues Attributes Artists and thinkers 100s of genres ©Festivals Edinburgh 2012
    18. 18. Marketing: 2012Enhanced Programmes• International campaigns – N. America & EU (VB/VS)• National campaigns – London, SE & North (VS)• Website, EF microsite [languages]• Social Media – facebook, twitter, youtube, flicker• First multi channel integrated campaign • Scotland: Bus Shelter – Glasgow • UK: Print – Times & Guardian, National • UK: Radio – Bauer Radio, North England • UK: Rail – Partnership with East Coast Trains • UK: Online – Partnership with expedia • International: Media / PR – online press syndication• International: London Media Centre [20,000]• International: Media visits program with London 2012 and VS/VB [staff]• International: Scotland House – London facility [message]• Digital: media microsite, int. mapping, QR [CRM]• Digital: online ‘ticketing basket’ functionality ©Festivals Edinburgh 2012
    19. 19. Environment• Responsibly manage the environmental impact of Festivals• Incorporate environmental practices into core business• Need to engage audiences, venues and artists• Research, behavioural change and communication• Launch of Green Venue Initiative - http://www.efgreen.co.uk/ ©Festivals Edinburgh 2012
    20. 20. EnvironmentLaunch of Creative Carbon Scotland• Cultural organisations working towards a low carbon Scotland• Initiated and led by Edinburgh’s Festivals• Working with Federation of Scottish Theatre, Visual Arts and Galleries and key sector leaders to develop a sectoral climate strategy• Audience, Artist Impact Reduction Strategy (AIR)• Research, Innovation and Implementation ©Festivals Edinburgh 2012
    21. 21. Innovation ©Festivals Edinburgh 2012
    22. 22. Innovation Designers Staff Academics Audience Students Media Developers ©Festivals Edinburgh 2012
    23. 23. Innovation Open Data Media Inform API Culture Developers Enrich Hack Ideas Audience Engage Challenge Staff Empower ProjectLab SMART Academics Explore Tourism Festival Designers Enhance DNA Social Students Enable Media ©Festivals Edinburgh 2012
    24. 24. Innovation: Open Data API Application Programming Interface [integrated listings database] Single output ‘live’ feed available in different formats [e.g. xml, json etc] Tourism Developers Access Environment Media Partners ©Festivals Edinburgh 2012
    25. 25. Innovation: Open Data API ©Festivals Edinburgh 2012
    26. 26. Process Fundraise GO REVISING Agree with Board Exploring Funding Opportunities Evolve Action Plan Agree with Board Evolve Strategy Cross-festival working group Commission Research Board agree exploration Future STOP STOP STOP Gaze ©Festivals Edinburgh 2012
    27. 27. Process: Funding• Programming: £6,750,000 over four years• Marketing: £1,250,000 over four years• Innovation: £330,000 over two years• Cultural diplomacy: £100,000• Environment: £60,000 into environmental practiceThree year ongoingcommitment of £6million, plusadditional £1.3million in 2012 ©Festivals Edinburgh 2012
    28. 28. Next Steps©Festivals Edinburgh 2012
    29. 29. Next Steps: 2012 Results Paid attendances up by 5% - and significant financial increase Increase of 9% in sales income and 11% in number of tickets Est 1.85m tickets issued for 279 venues, being only 1% decrease Most visits in history, with ticket sales up 3% Sold out 14th consecutive year, with UK broadcast reaching 5.4m 50+ major exhibitions & 8 new public art commissions, UK media coverage doubled ©Festivals Edinburgh 2012
    30. 30. Next Steps: Positioning• Events – Edinburgh International Culture Summit [37 countries] – Edinburgh World Writers’ Conference [60] – World Fringe Congress [18]• Delegation programme – Partnership with – Cultural policy makers [knowledge and appreciation] – Arts & culture professionals [markets and collaborations] – Arts audiences & participants [ideas and issues] ©Festivals Edinburgh 2012
    31. 31. Next Steps: Positioning• Partners• Targets – Print [Scotland House -FPA] – Broadcast [BBC luncheon] – Online [Travel Bloggers]• Immediate v Long Term – UK – Europe – North America/Australia – Emerging Markets ©Festivals Edinburgh 2012
    32. 32. Festival Cities [In] Direct Routes Switzerland [Basel, Geneva & Zurich]Russia [Moscow] Turkey [Istanbul] Austria [Salzburg, Graz, Innsbruck & Vienna]UAE [Abu Dhabi] Spain [Barcelona] Italy [Naples, Verona & Pisa]South Africa [Grahamstown] Norway [Oslo & Bergen] Spain [Alicante, Malaga & Madrid]Japan [Tokyo & Kyoto] Belgium [Brussels] Sweden [Stockholm & Gothenburg]Korea [Seoul] Finland [Helsinki & Tampere] Brussels [Sofia]Canada [Vancouver] Czech [Prague] Iceland [Reykavik]Malaysia [Singapore] Italy [Rome & Venice] Poland [Gdansk & Lodz]Argentina [Buenos Aires] Poland [Poznan & Krakow] Portugal [Lisbon]Cuba [Havana] UAE [Dubai] Hungary [Budapest] Twin CitiesUkraine [Kiev] Greece [Athens] •Munich, 1954 •Nice, 1958 •Florence, 1964 •Dunedin, 1974 Germany [Munich, Dusseldorf] & Berlin] •Vancouver, 1977 France [Paris & Lyons] •San Diego, 1977 France [Avignon] Holland [Amsterdam] •Xi’ian, 1985 Holland [Rotterdam] Ireland [Cork / Dublin] •Kiev, 1989 India [Jaipur] Denmark [Copenhagen] •Aalborg, 1991 China [HK & Shanghai] USA [New York] France [Nice, Bordeaux, Toulouse & Poitiers] Malay[Singapore] Germany [Bremen & Frankfurt] Friendship Link Brazil [Rio / Sao Paolo] Canada [Calgary, Toronto & Vancouver] •Kyoto, 1994 Canada [Montreal] USA [Orlando & Philadephia] Australia [Sydney, Adelaide & Melbourne] Partner Cities USA [Austin, Chicago, New Orleans & San Fran] •Krakow, 1995 Best Cities Global Alliance •Cape Town •Copenhagen South Korea •Dubai New Zealand •Edinburgh Sub-Saharan Africa •Houston •Melbourne •San Juan •Singapore •Vancouver Programming Countries ©Festivals Edinburgh 2012
    33. 33. Lessons Learned©Festivals Edinburgh 2012
    34. 34. Lessons LearnedTrusted Facilitation and Facilitated Trust• Clarity of Purpose• Common Agenda• Agreed Principles• Shared ownership• Evidence Based Advocacy• Investment of resource• Constant communication• R&D: embracing experimentation• Generosity of spirit: Tolerating complexity• Respect and passion ©Festivals Edinburgh 2012
    35. 35. Lessons LearnedUnfruitful Collaboration• New approaches to funding• Social investment and capital• Redefining ourselves as a ‘community’• Agreeing shared collateral for large scale sponsors – difficult in tough economic times ©Festivals Edinburgh 2012
    36. 36. Lessons Learned ©Festivals Edinburgh 2012
    37. 37. Directors’ Thoughts ©Festivals Edinburgh 2012
    38. 38. Edinburgh’s Festivals:A Collaborative StoryQuestions and Answers ©Festivals Edinburgh 2012