Insights from AEA Consulting | View in browser

AEA Consulting: The Platform

As we all try to make sense of what the COVID-19 pandemic means for the world, for the cultural sector, and for ourselves, we thought that it might be helpful to stitch together a weekly round-up of some of the more incisive material that we have been circulating internally and discussing at AEA. Call it an experiment – let us know if you find it helpful or not by replying to us at

AEA Team

Does this change everything?

How the World Will Look After the Coronavirus Pandemic

Foreign Policy asked global experts on how the world may change due to the coronavirus pandemic. Pithy predictions range from the slowing down of globalization and the rise of nationalism to more robust supply chains and health care. (Foreign Policy

Why This crisis is a turning point in history

John Gray is generally among the most dyspeptic and dystopian commentators around but here he argues that a more fragmented world is coming into being that in some ways may be more resilient. “The task ahead is to build economies and societies that are more durable, and more humanly habitable, than those that were exposed to the anarchy of the global market.” Culture has a place in there somewhere… (New Statesman)

From Cholera to Coronavirus

David Runciman of Talking Politics speaks with historian Richard Evans about the history of cholera epidemics in the 19th century and what they can teach us for today. (Talking Politics) But remember as Elizabeth Kolbert writes in The New Yorker: The trouble is that, for all the common patterns that emerge, there are at least as many confounding variations. Adam Kucharski, a professor at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine [...] points out, “There’s a saying in my field: ‘if you’ve seen one pandemic, you’ve seen. . . one pandemic.’”

How pandemics are worse than wars

Felix Salmon arguing cogently for expecting long term behavioural changes following the end of the pandemic. Americans who lived through the Great Depression were affected for life by the experience and exhibited a level of caution and frugality that only their boomer children would eventually overcome. (Axios)

Why the Global Recession Could Last a Long Time

“The psychology won’t just bounce back,” said Charles Dumas, chief economist at TS Lombard, an investment research firm in London. “People have had a real shock. The recovery will be slow, and certain behaviour patterns are going to change, if not forever at least for a long while.” Conversely, Marie Owens Thomsen, global chief economist at Indosuez Wealth Management in Geneva states “I am attached to the notion that this is a temporary crisis… You hit the pause button, and then you hit the start button, and the machine starts running again.” (New York Times)

Closer to Home

Movie Theaters and Concerts Could See Major Attendance Drop Post-Pandemic (Study)

In the US, a survey of 1,000 consumers found that 44% of respondents said they would attend fewer large public events, even once they are cleared by the CDC, with 38% saying they’d attend about the same number, and 18% saying they’d attend more. 47% agreed that the idea of going to a major public event “will scare me for a long time.” (Variety)

Thoughts on Experience Design in the age of COVID

When asked about the primary challenges of navigating the coronavirus pandemic, Jumana Brodersen says, “We must acknowledge that it isn’t going to be enough just to ramp up disinfecting practices to make guests comfortable in returning to theme parks and other attractions, and we are going to have to rethink the design of new attractions and retrofit the older ones.” (InPark Magazine)

New York is one of the world's great cities for the arts – but the damage from the pandemic is proving to be catastrophic 

Likewise, Glenn Lowry, director of the Museum of Modern Art in New York, states “You have to assume it will be a long time, years not months, before we return to levels of operation approximating where we were just a couple of weeks ago.” (Washington Post)

How COVID-19 is Impacting Intentions to Visit Cultural Entities

Colleen Dilenschneider compares the intent to attend cultural organizations by audiences from the past two years and now. “Intent to visit cultural organizations within three months decreased by 16.7% from February 28 to March 13 as the coronavirus outbreak was categorized as a global pandemic and the United States declared a national emergency. However, three-month intentions to visit are now only slightly depressed compared to this same time last year.” (Know Your Own Bone)

Public Libraries’ Novel Response to a Novel Virus

Libraries around the US have been proving their commitment to communities in times of crisis from grab and go meals to 3-D printing of PPEs. (The Atlantic)


Streams Before the Flood?

Perspectives on streaming theatre performances – from legal and technical challenges to the accessibility and the longer-term lifespan of these events. (American Theatre)

Virtual Music Events Directory

An overview of what's out there (and what's possible/realistic) in terms of live-streaming – both paid and free options. The introduction also charts how the music-industry mindset around live-streaming is slowly shifting from dismissing the format as a “niche” or “nice-to-have,” to embracing the format as inevitable amidst extreme conditions such as a pandemic. (Cherie Hu)

CI to Eye with Matías Tarnopolsky

Matías Tarnopolsky, President and CEO of The Philadelphia Orchestra, on switching to be a virtual orchestra overnight, and how to think about the longer term. (Capacity Interactive)

The Morning(ish) Show

Conversations with leaders about their work in the arts and cultural sector, specifically looking at the health of organizations and the people who work for them. (Work. Shouldn’t. Suck.)

Fundraising & Philanthropy

A Sector in Peril: Philanthropy’s Role in Responding to COVID-19

Alan Brown writes of the role philanthropy will need to play when responding to the COVID-19 pandemic – what and/or who should be prioritized, and how the sector can work together to overcome the crisis. (WolfBrown)

London Funders statement on COVID-19

The membership network for funders and investors in London, London Funders, released a statement recognizing the impacts of the global pandemic, and has committed to work with affected organisations to provide flexibility to funding agreements. (London Funders)

The Case for the Arts & Culture

New Research: Charities speak

The Creative Industries Policy & Evidence Center released Charities speak, a new report that shows why arts and cultural organisations are vulnerable and why they could be so important to society’s recovery. (Policy & Evidence Center)

The Great Shutdown – What Will the Arts Do to Bring Cities Back to Life?

Simon Mundy writes for United Cities and Local Governments reminding us of the role culture has played during times of hardship, citing the start of great festivals of Lucerne, Edinburgh, and Sarajevo to “provide a sense of renewed energy and hope…” (Culture 21

Views from Elsewhere

Glimpse’s Consumer Impact Tracker

Glimpse has tracked consumer purchasing trends during the COVID-19 pandemic. Here are some that may not be so obvious. (Glimpse)

Museum World’s King of Memes Brings Humor to Lockdown

Humour and effective social media at the RCA London “Arts and heritage can’t possibly fix coronavirus, but we can try and do something to help the sadness and fear.” (New York Times) 

This is a time for making sacrifices. It's also a time for checking on your own strategic stockpiles. No matter your preparations, we hope you remain safe and healthy during this time. 

AEA Consulting is a global firm setting the standard in strategy and planning for the cultural and creative industries.

We are known for our candid and impartial advice that draws on deep knowledge of the cultural sector as well as robust research and analytical insight.

Since 1991, we have successfully delivered more than 1,000 assignments in 35 countries, helping clients around the world plan and realize vital and sustainable cultural projects.