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AEA Consulting: The Platform


A round-up of articles focused on commentary and analysis of current developments in the cultural sector.

Some articles may be behind a paywall. 

Does this change everything? 

Visits to World’s Top 100 Museums and Galleries Fall 77% Due to COVID

A survey carried out by The Art Newspaper found that visitor numbers at the world’s top 100 museums and art galleries went down from 230 million in 2019 to just 54 million as the pandemic forced closures in 2020. (The Guardian)

From Lockdown to Full Capacity: Opening Up Down Under

President and CEO of the Tessitura Network, Andrew Recinos, writes of the 10 things cultural organizations in Australia and New Zealand have learned since re-opening. (LinkedIn)

The Future of Towns and Cities Post COVID-19

KPMG released a report which looks at the impact of the pandemic on towns and cities in England, also considering what needs to change, if they are to continue to be vibrant places to live, work and visit. (KPMG)

What’s Next for Life at Night in our Cities?

As we begin to contemplate our post-pandemic lives, a transformation of our night lives may be one of the most interesting and significant changes wrought by COVID. If the UK lost almost 5,000 nightclubs in the decade leading up to the pandemic, how many more did it lose after a year of forced closures? The health and prosperity of cities depends on something new and interesting taking its place. (Resonance)

Art Basel / UBS Report: Global Art Market Shrinks by Almost a Quarter to $50.1bn During COVID-19 Crisis

Global art and antiques sales shrank by 22% to $50.1bn in 2020—the biggest dip since the 2009 recession when sales totalled $39.5bn, but a less steep decline than the 30%-40% slump expected in a year when the relentlessly event-driven art world practically ground to a halt. These are the findings of the latest Art Market report, published today by Art Basel and UBS. (The Art Newspaper)

Hong Kong’s M+ Museum Promises to Comply with National Security Law Amid Pushback from Pro-Beijing Figures

After a group of pro-Beijing politicians and newspapers accused Hong Kong’s soon-to-open M+ museum of violating China’s national security law, the institution said that its presentations will comply with the measure. (ARTnews)


France to Return Klimt Painting, Which Hangs in the Musée d’Orsay to Heirs of Viennese Jewish Owner

France’s culture minister Roselyne Bachelot announced that the country will return a painting by Gustav Klimt, Rosiers sous les arbres (Roses under the Trees) (1904-05) to the heirs of its previous Viennese owner Nora Stiasny, who sold it under duress during the Nazi era. Since the work currently hangs in the Musée d’Orsay, as part of the national collection, the restitution will involve a lengthy legal process. (The Art Newspaper)

Germany Moves Towards Full Restitution of Benin Bronzes

Germany is moving towards full restitution of the looted Benin bronzes in its public collections, a Foreign Ministry official said, putting it on course to be the first country to commit to returning them to Nigeria permanently. (The Art Newspaper)

Berlin’s Plan to Return Benin Bronzes Piles Pressure on UK Museums

Berlin is negotiating to fully restitute hundreds of the Benin bronzes in a shift of policy that has been welcomed in Nigeria but will put pressure on museums in London and Oxford to also return artefacts looted from Britain’s former west African empire in 1897. (The Guardian)

University of Aberdeen to Return Pillaged Benin Bronze to Nigeria

The University of Aberdeen is to return a controversial Benin bronze after a review found the item had been acquired in an “extremely immoral” manner, as the Nigerian government calls on other British museums to reassess their collections. (The Guardian


Members of the US Museums Association Narrowly Reject Proposal to Contemplate a Change in Guidelines on Art Sales

In an informal poll, members of the Association of Art Museum Directors (AAMD) have voted 91-88 against asking its trustees to explore a controversial change in its deaccessioning policy to permit institutions to sell art to finance direct care of their collections. (The Art Newspaper)

Thoughtful Deaccessioning is Part of Any Art Museum’s Mission. But the Lax Rules We Have Now Will Haunt Us Later

Director and President of the Chrysler Museum of Art, Erik Neil, writes about the American Association of Museum Directors’ response to the COVID-19 pandemic and the long-term impacts of the deaccessioning moratorium allowing museums to sell artworks for operational costs and “direct care” of their collections for a two-year period. (Artnet News

Equity & Social Justice 

What Is Theatre Investing In? A Vision for a Regenerative Future

In this article, American Theatre advocates for a just future in the arts that is characterized by reciprocity, where we can let go of artistic economies driven by white supremacist ideas of individual prestige and “excellence,” and move toward a sector that understands artistry as both a gift and responsibility to community. (American Theatre)

Behind the Scenes of MoMA PS1 Exhibition, Artists Confronted Leadership Over Chairman’s Implication in Iraq War

Artists included in the "Gulf Wars" exhibition say they were disregarded and demeaned after speaking up against MoMA Chairman Leon Black, owner of a security firm linked to untold carnage in Iraq. (Hyperallergic

New Models

The Alchemy of High-Performing Arts Organizations: A Spotlight on Organizations of Color

In this report, SMU DataArts spotlights high-performing arts organizations of color and the strategic elements that their leaders recognize as drivers of success. (SMU DataArts)

The Many Voices of a Universal Museum

Louvre Abu Dhabi Director Manuel Rabaté writes about the museum sector seeking a new model for what a universal museum can and should be in the face of national ambitions. (LinkedIn)

Greenwich Dance Announces ArtsUnboxed, a New Way to Safely Create and Tour Dance in 2021

Funded by the Culture Recovery Fund, administered by Arts Council England, Greenwich Dance has commissioned six artists to develop new dance work that can be packaged as a virtual blueprint and sold to venues, festivals and dance organisations across the country. Those purchasing the works will then be able to deliver them using local artists, with a royalty going to the original creatives. (Greenwich Dance)

Funding & Philanthropy

Buffering Against Uncertainty: Working Capital and the Resiliency of BIPOC-Serving Organizations

In a second report released this week, SMU DataArts shares findings and observations about the working capital levels of arts and cultural organizations, with particular emphasis on BIPOC-serving organizations, offering suggestions for grantmakers as they invest in the recovery and rebuilding efforts of their grantees. As cultural organizations adapt for an uncertain future, the report recommends they undertake immediate planning to assess short-term liquidity needs and identify strategies for stabilizing and restoring healthier working capital post-pandemic. (SMU DataArts)

Creative People and Places 2022-25, Joining the National Portfolio

Arts Council England is accepting applications for Creative People and Places, a programme focusing on parts of the UK where involvement in arts and culture is significantly below the national average. Investment of £750k-£1mil is available to projects. (Arts Council England)

Digital Frontiers

The Royal Shakespeare Company’s Hi-Tech

This online experiment uses live motion capture to bring the fairies and sprites of A Midsummer Night’s Dream to vivid life. (The Guardian)

Are Immersive Art Exhibitions Replacing Traditional Museums?

Already a fixture in Europe and Asia, digital art spaces are sprouting up across the U.S., promising immersive experiences that can transport viewers. The expansive, room-wrapping format of these shows riffs on an experience that has attracted the largest attendance for a single-artist institution in the world. (Town & Country)

Up to My Eyeballs in Art at Superblue

Art critic Arthur Lubow reviews Miami’s new “experiential art center” backed by Pace Gallery and Laurene Powell Jobs’s Emerson Collective, calling Superblue “the blue-chip contestant in the rapidly growing field of immersive art.” (The New York Times


Howard University in Partnership with the National Gallery of Art Launch New Multiyear Undergraduate Internship Program for Careers in Museums, Supported By The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation

This four-year pilot program aims to create pathways to careers in museums and arts-related organizations for students from historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) and other institutions that serve populations that are underrepresented in the museum field. The first cohort of students will join the National Gallery in the Fall of 2022. (Howard University)

Deadline Approaching! Summer Analyst (Remote, United States | Eastern Time Zone) – AEA Consulting

We’re looking for intelligent, thoughtful, and creative university students or early-career professionals to work with us this summer! Through this paid, remote position, a Summer Analyst will have the opportunity to help our clients in the arts, cultural, and creative sector, while gaining consulting experience and practical workplace skills. Applications are due March 31, 2021.(AEA Consulting)

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 38 countries, helping clients around the world plan and realize vital and sustainable cultural projects.