Module 4

Unit 4.2

Project Management & Cultural Perspectives

Part II Stages of Management

University of Malta
Institute for Tourism, Travel & Culture

Success factors: management responsibilities

An important element contributing to a cultural / tourism organisation’s success is its mastery of innovative processes within each of its projects. This is not always natural / innate. Some might think that creativity is the exclusive concern of the artistic project, and that this inevitably implies innovation.

This is not necessarily so.

It is important for creativity to emerge in all sectors of the organisation, though more importantly is that it is harnessed & transformed by the different projects into innovation processes.

The management team is responsible for developing this dynamic synergy. However, this approach should be part of the organisation culture. It needs to seep into all areas and overcome the very natural instinct of resistance before the embracing of change. 

The creative project works together with others…

The artistic project should drive the ‘soul’ of the art / culture organisation, and be very close to the ‘heart’ of the tourism aims. The artistic team, the technical team and ancillary areas, including those managing relations with tourism agents, local, regional or national tourism authorities, transport & other service providers, accommodation & restaurateurs, need to develop a coherence in ‘language’ and approach that is also visible through a clear and accessible communication campaign. The territorial dimension, and the members of staff / outsourced operators responsible for the ‘cultivation’ of this aspect, needs to be the ‘seed bed’ of such action, inspiring and being inspired in turn to contribute further to a coherent whole / cycle. 

The production project: operationality

The production project makes the whole operational (in terms of overall artistic / cultural / tourism-oriented programme). Its function consists of:

-Scaling the project / the programme
-Coordinating the different teams of people
-Coordinating the different the technical infrastructures
-Coordinating the material resources
-Coordinating the logistics necessary to implement the programme

This involved taking into account the economic resources and time available in order to deliver the programme activities in optimum conditions.

The territorial project

The territorial dimension lies at the ‘heart’ of diverse motivations, sensitivities and understandings (conceptual grasp and interpretation) of the overall programme and the vision, mission, objective and strategy of the cultural organisation.

The territorial dimension provides the reference point, physically and conceptually, to the programme. A cultural organisation that develops an arts event programme aiming at the (further) generation of its tourism dimension needs to centre operations on:

-A symbolic dimension that stems from the territory
-Interacts with the territory’s communities
-Reaches out to all the necessary stakeholders
-Manages its resources effectively (human, economic, material, time)
-Communicates well
-Is keen on innovation and manages change successfully.

b. Arts, culture & events projects in relation to tourism

The construction of the arts project lies in a number of factors:

-Intentionality and coherence of themes proposed for development to management (strategic)
-Ability to excite and engage with all levels (political, strategic, operational) and teams therein through clear, strong, enthusiastic and convincing communication
-Ability to adapt to circumstances of time and space, including seasons and venues
-Quality of works developed
-Level of engagement with target audiences
-Balance between continuity in repertoire / programme & innovation in content & form of delivery & communication

The element of the arts

Apart from these factors, there are other strategic ones to consider:

-Development of a clear position in the market on the basis of exciting, fresh programming balanced with continuity in content approach (form & style)

-Maintain reputation
-Definition of self (or cultural organisation) in terms of premieres, capacity to produce or participate in (international) coproductions, relevance to its audience’s interests, furthering the image / brand / identity generated with its directors, managers, operators and stakeholders (other internal and external)
-Timely delivery of productions
-Efficient and effective use of budget
-Ability to raise funds (e.g. patronage, sponsors, support)

The artistic element contributes something ‘special’ to the cultural setup:

-A singularity that lies in the ‘art of art’, the ability to ‘conjure’ the beautiful, exciting, emotional, socially appealing (through pleasing or challenging material) through the combination of many arts & crafts: song, visual arts, lighting, sound, theatre, engaging with (large) numbers of diverse people & being meaningful

-The transmission of the values is essential, as this is main aspect of the cultural organisation’s communication (understood in the general, wide sense of the word)

E.g. Cameron Mackintosh: combining art & enterprise

“Cameron helped to create the success story of the current West End theatre. His shows have become global earners and proof to the world of the talent and imagination of which Britain is capable,” says John Kampfner, chief executive of the Creative Industries Federation, a membership group for UK arts and creative organisations. “He remains a genuine enthusiast — he wants the whole sector to succeed.”

This does not mean he is universally popular. “He’s very dynamic, very opinionated and very forceful. Those qualities can be constructive, and they can also cause frictions,” says Robert Fox, the West End play producer. “He has a clear view of how things should be and likes people to follow it. It does not always make him loved but I don’t suppose that bothers him. He’s got an enormously kind and supportive side as well as the tough one.”  

Interview: Cameron Mackintosh

Qualifying an artistic project

An artistic project may be more or less implicit or explicit in the way it expresses its vision through its mission and operationality.

In can be the result of the driving force and stimuli emanating (coming from) the cultural life of the territory – or not at all, i.e. at odds with it.

It may be close to, or distant from, the political and management levels, and express itself in varying degrees of autonomy or symbolic registers.

‘Constrained circumstances can bring the best out of you.’ Cameron Mackintosh
Read more at:

Factors influencing the artistic project

Bonet and Shargorodsky identify 6 such factors:

-The cultural organisation’s institutional background
-The cultural norms (context) where the organisation is situated
-The relationship with the media (influence on and by; perception)
-The nature of the season, frequency, nature of performances: indoors, outdoors, seasonality
-The physical characteristics of the venues used
-The artistic teams available: own, hired, outsourced, temporary, permanent

Others may be added: innovation, embracing change, relationship with audience including tourism sector (stakeholders & public).

Programming criteria

These are the result of conceptual and aesthetic assessments made on the basis of:

-The institutional mandate
-An assessment of the resources available (e.g. social or artistic conditioning factors in terms of contexts, traditions, censorship, literacy, exposure…)
– An assessment of human and physical resources available (skill, technique…)
-Profitability sought by the cultural organisation
-Regulatory conditions including labour, IP…

Programming criteria are not usually explicit but can be deduced from the programme. Roughly speaking there are 3 groups of criteria:

Cultural criteria:
-Originality, introducing authors or works that are new
-Setting artistic quality bar
-Presenting innovative, provocative, ground-breaking work
-Incorporating works within a canon (established, being established)
-Aiming for a balance between the classic and the contemporary

Economic criteria:

-Tried and tested with a proven track record (economic)
-Sharing risk with coproducer / presenter / other stakeholder (including tourism organisation / other)
-Economic break-even on a show-by-show basis, as opposed to more complex risk-taking balancing novel programming of greater risk with tried pieces
-Choosing one’s market in view of competing producers / presenting organisations to safeguard market share and income
-Social profitability, prestige and PR

Territorial development criteria:

-Putting oneself on map in tourism circuit
-Connecting with social / cultural questions that may attract attention and acknowledge contribution made by programme
-Satisfying audience expectations
-Discovering and incorporating best local / international talent
-Prioritising types of collaboration with other cultural and tourism agents (networks, associations, touring companies, accommodation & restaurateurs, local groups, crafts / lights / musicians etc.)

c. Production aspects

Production is a complex and collective process, ‘where certain artistic, technical, administrative and management practices converge and are undertaken by a set of people in an organised way, and they require various resources to achieve the materialisation of a project as a show’ (Schraier 2006).

The production of a programme and / or event / show consists of various simultaneous qualities:

-Sticking costs established in a budget
-Respecting the production schedule
-Attracting the target audience planned
-Achieving quality set
-Delivering artistic project envisioned

The production director (e.g. in a theatre venue)

-Assumes maximum responsibility with regard to executive production
-Coordinates the teams of the different areas of production
-Develops close relations with the executive heads of the different teams
-Risk control
-Licensing rights
-Operational budget
-Works closely with technical director
-Resolving conflicts among different team members (e.g. operational & technical)
-Communicating back and forth across teams to ensure harmony

Different phases to production

There are different links to the chain of production:

-planning phase of the design of the production
-mapping of the necessary resources
-obtaining and managing rights of works
-definitions of schedules
-schedules of resources to be used (e.g. through Gantt Charts, etc…)
-planning adequate remuneration for resources used (from rights to salaries)

Management tools: planning

  • There are a variety of planning management tools.
  • The main resources to manage and plan are time and financial/human/other resource.
  • The pre-planning phase is very important for the implementation of projects within budget, on time, and successful on a human level, including internal satisfaction, in order to inspire following cycles.
  • Gantt charts are one such useful tool, structuring duties and jobs over a time period.
  • They can be simple of complex. The next 2 slide show different examples.

Heart of producer’s work

Executive production:

-Technical assembly, coordination and logistics of rehearsals
-Organisation of the production of the various elements including: construction of stage set, props, costumes, make-up, management of musical scores, etc.)
-Works closely with artistic and technical directors
-Delivers on the plans with accord and coordination of teams
-Knowledge of technical levels performed: carpentry, metal work, lights, sound, etc.

‘On the night’ responsibilities of producer

Presentation at venue:
– Ensuring correct presentation of project / programme / event /s
-Correct operational incorporation into event as per artistic and / or technical directors’ notes
-Adjusting timings, stage management, changes in light / sound
-Maintaining control, and discipline of, artistic and technical teams, that may deteriorate after the ‘buzz’ of the premiere / opening is over
-Avoiding the generation of unnecessary costs e.g. overtime

Following the first presentation, follow-ups

Tours, exploitation in other media, spin-offs:

-When a production is successful, it can take off in other media or engage in other tours in other venues
-Plans for this will have been drawn up, and need to be redefined, calibrated and executed if new forms (spin-offs) allow ways of furthering mission, production and operation, as well as income generation and audience development, of the cultural organisation
-Includes technical matters like scaling work, enabling dismantling and set-up, allowing for flexible light, sound and vision design
-Assessing (further) recordings, distribution, digitalisation, new formats…

End of Unit 4.2

Unit 4.1
Unit 4.3