Recent, current & future client assignments and programmes
Delivered by Andrea Nixon, Lesley Rossiter and Richard Watts
Andrea Nixon approached people make it work about working together on this Turner Contemporary project – building on a longstanding set of relationships on all sides. Andrea Nixon, Richard Watts and Lesley Rossiter worked in 2020 to review Turner Contemporary’s front of house, security and facilities systems, processes and structures, in preparation for the gallery’s ground floor capital refurbishment. We worked together to:
- Review the current staffing structure, systems and processes in order to define an efficient and effective approach to visitor experience for the gallery going forward
- Develop benchmarking with a range of gallery operations elsewhere, including external contracting and security models.
- Review the gallery’s vision for visitor experience with the Senior Management team to ensure the team can co-create and co-manage any revised operation.
- Review current terms and conditions, contract and pension sensitivities
- Run a consultation exercise with key staff
- Offer the Director and SMT options for culture approaches, structures and processes, and write report and new job descriptions
The project completed in the Autumn of 2020.
Delivered by Karen Turner & Amy Simcox
Kully at Leeds 2023 approached people make it work to get support with Fundraising as the organisation was forming. Leeds 2023 commissioned a Fundraising Strategy to set the ambitious city of culture programme on the right strategic path towards match funding the £12m contribution from Leeds City Council. Karen Turner and Amy Simcox worked closely with the Board and Executive Team led by Kully Thiarai to produce the strategy and to instil best practice in organisational approach to fundraising ahead of the appointment of the core development team.
Amy and Karen continue to work alongside the Exec and Development Team and newly appointed Fundraising Officers to support implementation of the strategy.
Delivered by Karen Turner & David Micklem
Julia and Chris at Theatre Absolute approached people make it work seeking OD support. Karen Turner and David Micklem have been working with founders Julia and Chris, with the board, and with stakeholders locally, regionally and nationally – to revisit core purpose, to explore a range of options for the future, and to support the development of a new business plan.
It’s been a dynamic nine month iterative process, throughout a challenging year, and one that has enabled the company to lay down the foundations for a brand new chapter. The company’s new website reflects past successes, current preoccupations and emerging future plans
Delivered by Richard Watts
Steffan at CFW approached people make it work hoping to develop a partnership (now funded by Arts Council Wales) alongside Race Council Cymru, Arts and Business Cymru and Disability Arts Cymru. We are working with the team to support them as they create an organisation (born out of Culture Taskforce) for and by freelance cultural workers in Wales.
With an ambition to create an organisation that foregrounds worker needs, flexibility, access and support in the way it works itself, and one that maintains a porous, inter-dependent relationship with freelancers in Wales, we are having interesting and dynamic conversations with the team.
Delivered by Karen Turner, Rob Macpherson, David Micklem & Anna Dinnen
In the autumn of 2020, Leicester City Council and Arts Council England jointly commissioned a feasibility assessment for the future of the city’s much-loved Haymarket Theatre. An early victim of the Covid crisis, this 900-seat city centre space was just getting back on its feet with an ambitious investment programme but the pandemic brought the curtain down without a clear path to recovery.
For people make it work, Karen Turner, Anna Dinnen, David Micklem and Rob Macpherson looked at overall organisational strategy, reviewing business planning, programming potential and audience engagement through extensive consultation of stakeholders and Leicester communities. In a city as diverse as Leicester, with its breadth of cultures and many at-risk or disengaged communities, it is hoped that a newly focused Haymarket Theatre can play a transformative role in the coming years.
Delivered by Caroline Collier
Andrea and Russell at The National Motor Museum approached people make it work to get additional strategic support. Caroline Collier has been working with the team. During this year we have been working with the National Motor Museum Trust at Beaulieu on a new strategic plan that will enable the National Motor Museum to take its place as a truly national museum, a leader in its field, a centre of knowledge and education, attractive to a wide public, to its peers, to partners, sponsors and funders and relevant to the motor industry.
This has involved facilitating workshops with stakeholders, consultations with Trustees and senior staff, supporting the planning process and the development of the strategy that will be presented to the Trustee Board in March 2021.
Delivered by Andrea Nixon & Anna Dinnen
Richard Clinton at Delapre approached people make it work requesting organisation development support. Anna Dinnen and Andrea Nixon are working together at present to support the new CEO of the Delapré Abbey Preservation Trust in thinking through a new business plan for the Trust. We are helping them to:
- Ensure that strong examples from elsewhere are explored so that good practice can be incorporated
- Assess whether the evidence base for the business plan’s key objectives is valid and the plan has real credibility for future audiences, including how we map visitor journeys
- Test the plan as it stands with key stakeholders and potential future stakeholders, and ensure that gaps/other ideas are able to be adopted within time frame and budgets
- Advise on what next steps the Trust may need to take to ensure that the plan and the organisation can move forward, both to ensure the spring plan submission is successful and that further change is ongoing
The project has recently come to a close for now.
Delivered by Richard Watts
people make it work is supporting the development of FMTW on a pro bono basis as they navigate what they want to become in 2021, the impact they want to have and interventions that they can deliver.
Richard is supporting the team to think about organisational practices and structures, programmes of work, models of working and sector interventions.
Delivered by Claire Antrobus & Richard Watts
Adam and Alice, Directors at Invisible Dust approached people make it work to support them with some Organisation Development. Having worked together to create an OD plan in 2020 with Richard, the team then sought support around evaluation. Claire Antrobus has been working with staff on better understanding their impact through evaluation of the Surroundings project.
Drawing on latest research into pro environmental behaviours, we have developed a model for tracking audience outcomes that is being used across the organisation to improve impact. The project is ongoing.
Delivered by Richard Watts
people make it work were approached at the beginning of 2021 by the Susan and Sally who lead the Learning team at the Science Museum to support the implementation of their new Strategy (which we helped them create in 2019/2020) across sites and teams this year.
We have designed and facilitated whole team launch events and are supporting the Heads of Learning and Learning Managers with the implementation of a change plan, following a restructure.
Delivered by David Micklem, Rebecca Pelly-Fry, Dr James Doeser & Richard Watts
Jonathan Church, as Chair of Hammersmith and Fulham’s Arts Commission approached people make it work to get support to design, develop and deliver an authentic Arts Commission for the borough. In 2014 the newly elected Hammersmith & Fulham (H&F) administration inherited a local authority with one of the lowest spending per capita on arts and culture in the country. As part of their resolve to reverse this, the incoming Labour administration committed to a number of actions, including establishing an Arts Commission and making a bid for the London Borough of Culture Award. Recognising their limited internal capacity and expertise, in 2019 H&F approached people make it work to help.
We designed, recruited and managed a citizen commission, with research led reports to inform and enable the panel to explore need and develop recommendations. The report, which included recommendations for increased support for small arts organisations, a Centre for African Culture, a new staff structure within the council, a more joined up approach to investing in cultural infrastructure and greater level of support to enable the sector to come together in the borough, is now with the councillors for consideration.
Delivered by Gregory Nash & Becca Pelly-Fry
Yvonne at Hammersmith and Fulham asked people make it work to support the borough in devising, writing and promoting an application for London Borough of Culture. With the support of Gregory and Becca, the team successfully submitted an exciting, music-led proposal for a Cultural Impact Award entitled ‘Sounds Like Hammersmith & Fulham’ which won the borough a ‘Cultural Impact Award’.
Delivered by Richard Watts
people make it work were approached by Hayley at Forestry England to support the team with skills building around delivering change and innovation.
We have built a development programme for the team, which will be delivered over the coming months to support the development and application of new skills across the organisation.
Delivered by Vicki Igbokwe
people make it work were approached by the Lilli who leads the Jerwood team to support their team development work with a week long programme of support, and Vicki Igbokwe supported the team with facilitated discussion, workshops and conversation to build team relationships (there are a number of recent arrivals) clarify plans and priorities for the year ahead and build new ways of working.
Delivered by David Micklem, Miki Lentin & Anna Dinnen
Chris Elmer-Gorry, Director at Warts and All Theatre approached people make it work for some strategic support. Anna Dinnen, David Micklem and Miki Lentin have supported the team on a process of organisational development since the summer of 2020. Anna has led the client relationship and we have taken a ‘baton passing’ approach. David’s early sessions with Chris Elmer-Gory (the CEO/AD) working on clarifying vision, mission and values, were transformative in supporting him to more confidently express and own organisational purpose.
Miki picked up the baton to help reflect this into the company’s communications style, tone and messaging, sharpening the understanding of different audiences. Anna’s input has been turning the vision into a concrete business plan – through generating insights into performance and new opportunities, identifying and planning out the steps to change, crunching the numbers and engaging the board.
Delivered by Richard Watts
Amy at Historic England approached people make it work to provide a programme of Professional Support for their Leadership as they implement change and innovate.
We have co-created a programme of events and learning that will run over a number of months to support the team with new learning and with dedicated support to implement that learning within their day to day priorities.
Delivered by Anna Dinnen, Karen Turner, Ellen O’Hara & Andrea Nixon
people make it work successfully applied to join the Arts Council panel of business and financial advisers in February 2019, represented by Anna Dinnen, Karen Turner, Ellen O’Hara and later joined by Andrea Nixon. Our first actual assignments in September 2020 have been as assessors for ACE’s second round Covid response package for the £1m plus category, focussing on the credibility and merits of financial plans. Originally high workload estimates translated to a request for 11 assessments reducing to 7 as some organisations withdrew their applications.
We have also provided assessments in early February 2021 for this round of Cultural Recovery Funds. The breadth and variety in the applications was novel and challenging – covering NPO’s, grant funded charities and commercial organisations.
Delivered by Richard Watts
people make it work were approached by Martha and Raja at World Cities Culture Forum to support the development and delivery of learning resources including workshops, videos and tools that will enable world cities to share their learning and responses to Covid in terms of the cultural sector.
With a particular focus on the ‘Culture at Risk Office’ within London’s GLA and the work with similar goals in New York, LA and Toronto, the programme is designed to support World Cities to learn from each other and implement learning into their own National/Local contexts.
Delivered by Gregory Nash
people make it work was approached by Arts Council Wales for support for the Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod (LIME)
Over its 75 years LIME has established a strong profile and annual audience of 35,000. However it has struggled to adapt to audience and programming trends, to establish co-producing partnerships and to find a viable leadership model. The review identified weaknesses in governance processes, the lack of a coherent and compelling artistic programme, absence of a partnership/fundraising strategy and dependence on a large and influential volunteer corps as principle challenges.
The concluding report proposed six areas for organisational development with corresponding actions related to board recruitment and management, development of UK and international partnerships and the appointment of a creative director and CEO.
The project is now complete.
Delivered by Caroline Collier & Claire Antrobus
The team at the Herbert Art Gallery and Museum approached people make it work seeking support to develop artistic visioning linked to then submitting a funding application to Arts Council England. HAGM will be the lead visual arts partner for Coventry City of Culture in 2021. We worked with them to develop a successful £500K application to ACE National Activities Programme to enable HAGM to host a flagship exhibitions programme in 2021 (including hosting Turner Prize) attracting national attention and visitors, online and to the city.
The application also enables HAGM to capitalise on the opportunities of City of Culture to transform its role locally, regionally and nationally as a key part of the community and visual arts landscape by investing in staff development, partnerships and establishing co-production at the heart of its programming.
The project is now complete
Delivered by Tracey Sage & Richard Watts
Tim at London Borough of Richmond approached people make it work to provide team development support for their new arts and culture team as it builds new ways of working and shaping programme across the borough.
Tracey and Richard will be delivering a programme of workshops, videos, talks and tasks to help the team develop and then implement new ways of working together within their emerging programme.
Delivered by Clare Thurman, Richard Watts, Zara Rush, Annette Corbett, Michele Taylor, Sandeep Mahal, Vicki Igbokwe
people make it work has developed a programme, funded by Arts Council England, to support a national movement of Cultural Education Partnerships to connect, learn and reimagine their future role collectively. With 162 participants and 97 CEPs represented, this marks the first national gathering of these place based partnerships and has been entirely co-created with the participants themselves and with Bridge Organisations, recognising the ecology of cultural learning provision across the UK.
The programme is entirely subsidised for those taking part and over a 8 month period there are 6 core workshops and 8 elective Action Topic sessions. In response to the needs of the CEPs topics include Evaluation, Diversity, Fundraising, Governance and Strategic Partnerships. As a thread running through the programme and the focus of the final report we are exploring and rearticulating the role, purpose and future shape of Cultural Education Partnerships in England.
Delivered by Clare Doherty, David Micklem, Richard Watts, Zara Rush, Shreela Ghosh, Gregory Nash, Vicki Igbokwe, Michele Taylor, Annette Corbett, Sandeep Mahal, Hardish Virk, Judith Knight, Thanh Sinden, Becca Pelly-Fry, Samenua Sesher, Raidene Carter, Anisa Morridadi, Claire Antrobus and Mimi Findley
people make it work identified a need for a development programme to enable cultural producers to explore what is needed now – their own version of relevance – during this time of change (Covid, Race inequity, Climate Emergency, Let’s Create, Economic uncertainty) and created the Culture Reset programme during the summer of 2020. Designed as an urgent programme to reimagine the future of arts and culture, and with £100,000 funding from Gulbenkian Foundation to contribute to it’s £150,000 cost (the remainder coming from people make it work funds and colleagues’ time) the programme was insitigated by Richard and designed by Claire Doherty and David Micklem.
It was delivered by a wonderful team of facilitators and included an 8 week process, commissioned resources – videos and podcasts – a cohort structure and an immersive experience. We had nearly 1,000 applications in 10 days when the programme was announced and 192 people took part in the process, free of fees. 50% of participants were freelance, more than 25% identified as black or from a minority or minorities community, more that 17% identified as disabled and the programme was fully captioned, signed and responsive to access requirements as they emerged. Highlighted by many cultural leaders as a standout feature of 2020, we are proud of the response and depth of impact the programme achieved. The resources and process can be accessed on the website at
Delivered by Clare Thurman, Richard Watts, Zara Rush, Annette Corbett, Vicki Igbokwe, Sandeep Mahal, Kamaljit Poonia
people make it work is one of many partners working with Jerwood Arts to deliver the 4th edition of the Weston Jerwood Creative Bursaries programme. The programme supports 50 salaried jobs in arts and cultural organisations across the UK, for individuals from low socio-economic backgrounds. We work in collaboration with the Jerwood Arts team to develop the programme with a particular role in leading the Organisational Development strand that supports and enables organisations to lead change in relation to inclusive practice as well as a Professional Development programme for Fellows as they start their new roles with the organisations.
Each host organisation has committed 2 senior team members and 1 trustee to the OD programme, which includes 16 workshops delivered over a 12 month period. As with all of our programmes, there is a strong focus on peer learning and our belief in the principle that ‘we are all experts’.
Delivered by Richard Watts, Laura Twemlow
Change Creation, our second programme, now in it’s second year is working with 45 organisations of different scale and art form across the UK to lead and embed lasting change.
In 2020 the programme adapted to provide urgent support for organisations facing uncertain futures, focussing on iterative business planning, social injustice and inclusion, new working practices, income and value, and understanding and meeting emerging audience needs in a changed environment. Alongside this shift in the curriculum we have evolved the model to adapt to online delivery, noticing that organisations needed new ways to connect and build peer relationships, more support 1:1 support, a change in pace, a broader range of opportunities to engage with the programme.
Despite the challenges being faced across the sector, we’ve supported and witnessed some incredible change leadership across the cohort – Bristol Beacon’s transformational promises, capital development programmes shaped around community needs, bold shifts in power and inclusion, the remodelling of organisations with ambitious and relevant business plans, new programmes of work reaching new and international audiences.
We are therefore confident in the revised approach and model for Change Creation, a peer based leadership programme. Our learning, particularly from the last 12 months, will shape the development of future programmes.
Delivered by Richard Watts, Tam Kaur (within the Trust) and Vicki Igbokwe
people make it work was asked to co-develop a Transforming Leadership bid to ACE with the City of Culture Trust, and is now the delivery partner for the Coventry City of Culture Leadership Programme. The cohort of 15 City Leaders who have or are experiencing barriers to accessing or progressing in the Cultural Sector are paid to be part of this 18 month long programme. We have co-created a curriculum for the programme that combines shared and individual objectives. The group reflect the city and come from all artforms, areas of Coventry, levels of expertise, ages and backgrounds. Many of the group have characteristics that are under represented in the sector including being disabled, having mental health conditions, being neuro-diverse and having a migrant experience. The programme was to be delivered within a co-working hub that we rented (which remains empty) and now runs within a virtual model.
Together with speakers including Alan Lane, Hannah Pool, Anisa Morridadi, Dave Moutrey, Kully Thiarai, Patrick Fox, Parminder Dosanjh, Suzanne Alleyne, Chenine Bhathena Judith Knight and Sandeep Mahal, they have a programme of learning, shaped by them, that will enable them to Lead the City in the future. The programme is co-ordinated by Tam Kaur who is in our team but sits within the trust and Vicki Igbokwe has recently joined our team to provide individual support and development for the cohort.
We begin 2021 with a development slate of new initiatives that we are seeking to instigate, and here are the three most developed projects and their initiating partners;
Organisational Development for Everyone
Delivered by Suzanne Alleyne and Richard Watts
A skills development programme for cultural workers of colour who would like to expand their skillset to include Organisation Development/Systemic Transformation/Culture Change. The programme led by Suzanne Alleyne in partnership and parity with Richard Watts seeks to create a cohort of collaborators who will learn together in a practical programme (including live work in host organisations) supported by a faculty made up of existing black and brown OD specialists.
The programme also includes a ‘programme within a programme’ where Suzanne and Richard are seeking to create an organisation of parity, and learn the processes, structures, checks and balances needed to maintain that within an unequal social context. Find out more in this document
Supporting Leadership Transition
Delivered by Sandeep Mahal and Richard Watts
A programme or office of support that enables cultural organisations to create more easful leadership transitions, including creating blueprint processes related to IP, PR, HR etc. within 5 likely scenarios including founder who chooses to leave, board who feel incumbent needs to leave, distributed leadership with incumbent leader in place, next generation positive action development programmes and new models of leadership within the arts.
The project might involve cohorts of leaders or it might feel more like an office with expert advice and pre-ratified practices and protocols that we have mediated with funders, unions and other interested parties. Sandeep Mahal is leading this project with Richard Watts. Find out more in this document
Delivered by Anisa Morridadi and Richard Watts
A programme to radically shift governance within cultural organisations in the UK, with an aim to activate change by writing personally to every trustee in a cultural organisation within the UK testing their interest in a more representative board and organisation and then supporting them with tailored support (including draft motions) to trigger shifts in the organisation.
We imagine deep OD support for participating organisations as well as a dynamic board bank model promising every participating organisation 3 underrepresented trustee candidates within 12 months and tailored support for new trustees and host organisations to ensure positive change occurs. This project is being led by Anisa Morridadi at Beatfreaks with Richard Watts. Find out more in this document
Other initiatives we are excited to explore
- Supporting Freelance colleagues with skills development, to organise and increase influence
- Supporting Artists with ‘non-practice’ related skills and impact, so that they can influence organisations, places and shape their careers and business
- Developing a sector wide ‘skills and practice’ marketplace between cultural organisations
- Place based Change Creation initiatives
- Future iterations of Culture Reset
- ‘Runway to Let’s Create’ programmes for leaders
- Everyday low cost task and skills training for cultural workers
- Cultural Trustee Network
- Social Ambition ‘Generation Space’ for Cultural Leaders
Do let us know if you’d like to explore or develop these or other ideas with us.