Arts leaders unite to explore the art of leading with an audience focus

On Thursday 23 April over 100 cultural leaders from across England will start a national debate about the role of cultural organisations and their audiences at the From ‘Them’ to ‘Us’ Leadership Symposium in London.

Hosted by The Arts Marketing Association (AMA) in partnership with The Audience Agency and supported by Arts Council England, the From ‘Them’ to ‘Us’ leadership symposium challenges arts leaders to generate new ideas, questions and opportunities around how to place their audiences at the heart of their organisation in order to move towards a more sustainable and relevant cultural sector.

Russell Willis Taylor, formerly President and CEO of National Arts Strategies in the United States, will open the symposium with a keynote about placing audiences at the heart of an organisation’s purpose. In addition, a panel of industry experts, including Fiona Reynolds (Master; Member of the College Council, University of Cambridge, formerly Director-General of National Trust), Kully Thiarai (Director of Cast in Doncaster) and Bruce Coppock (President and CEO of the St Paul Chamber Orchestra), will lead a panel discussion on their experience of adapting their organisations to be more audience focused.

Julie Aldridge, Executive Director at the Arts Marketing Association, says:

“The Symposium invites cultural leaders to come together for a national conversation about the role of arts organisations and their audiences. It will share ideas, raise questions and spark debate about how to hold true to our purpose and artistic vision, while also expanding to embrace new opportunities, to respond to audience contributions, and to adapt to remain relevant for the future.”

Anne Torreggiani, Executive Director at The Audience Agency explains:

“People expect to be much more involved in what their arts and culture look like. The Symposium will be a fantastic opportunity to have a national conversation about twenty-first century leadership and whether or not that means adopting a more porous, audience focused way of running cultural organisations. It will be an opportunity for leaders to identify brilliant practice, share solutions and solve some of their own challenges around becoming more attuned to the needs of their public.”

Chief Executives and Managing Directors of small, medium and large sized arts organisations are invited to find out more, contribute ideas for discussion and book their place at

The event will also include a post-symposium drinks reception and a networking dinner at The Fable Bar and Restaurant from 5.45pm onwards. Tickets for the Symposium cost £77+ VAT, while a ticket for both the symposium and networking dinner costs £106+VAT.

All the themes, questions and ideas generated at the symposium and online will reflect and supplement the on-going learning from the AMA’s best practice programme, CultureHive.