We send out this call across Europe to harness current energies and build by 2020 a strong movement for cultural impact investment.
We address this to those working in the cultural sector, to investors (public and philanthropic, organisations and individuals), the research community and pan-European institutions.
We highlight these current energies:
1. Realising the full potential of cultural activities’ contributions to society, both in dedicated cultural spaces and in everyday life. Financial and other support in Europe has created a stock of ‘artistic capital’: creative artists, venues, artform development, presentation skills (live, digital and broadcast) and expertise in learning, participation and public engagement. More effective and far-reaching deployment of this artistic capital will be advantageous both to society and the cultural sector.
2. Innovating in response to changes in societies – the political, cultural, technological, social and economic. From the point of view of cultural development, we highlight:
Technological advances, their cultural implications and their opportunities for those working in culture.
Advances in citizen power and cultural diplomacy.
Increased demand for accountability of government expenditure and the associated demand for rigorous impact measurement.
The advent of new forms of philanthropy such as crowd funding, social investment and venture philanthropy.
3. Maintaining the grant as a key financial instrument to achieve cultural and wider societal improvements where commercial market mechanisms fail. Such improvements in culture include large infrastructure projects, training and continuing professional development programmes, research projects, and early stage explorations/ experimentations.
4. A worldwide interest in the development of other financial instruments alongside the grant, capable of supporting innovation in the cultural sector and hence achieving cultural and wider societal improvements.
5. A drive to improve performance measurement in the cultural sector, both as a tool for continuous improvement in cultural organisations and as a means to improve accountability and transparency to audiences, participants, citizens and funders.
6. A determination within cultural organisations and their funders for these organisations to achieve greater sustainability and resilience.
A vision for cultural impact investment
Our seven-point vision is for a step-change in:
A. Availability of support to bring cultural organisations to ‘investment readiness’.
B. Availability of support to build the capacity of financial institutions to make cultural impact investments either direct or via expert financial intermediaries.
C. The number and quality of expert financial intermediaries.
D. Creation and sustainability of social investment funds which understand and are sensitive to the needs of cultural organisations and sectors.
E. Engagement of a wider range of investors including mainstream financial institutions, foundations, high net worth individuals and public institutions.
F. The definition of cultural value and cultural impact.
G. The measurement of cultural quality, and the cultural impact and the wider societal impact achieved by cultural organisations.
Calls to action
To realise this vision, we call on:
THE CULTURAL SECTOR
To share understanding and increase engagement with cultural impact investment through the creation peer-support networks. These can be within and across artforms, countries, and types of activity such as venues and festivals.
INVESTORS – FOUNDATIONS, INDIVIDUALS, FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS AND PUBLIC INSTITUTIONS
To build expertise in using cultural impact investment to achieve cultural impact and financial returns.
To build expertise in using cultural impact investment in combination with grants.
To develop social investment dealflows.
To help develop secondary markets to avoid cultural impact investments being tied up for long periods.
THE RESEARCH COMMUNITY
To create better understanding of how cultural activities lead to cultural and wider societal benefits.
To provide robust definitions of cultural value and cultural impact.
To develop methodologies for measuring cultural value and cultural impact.
NATIONAL GOVERNMENTS AND THEIR CULTURAL MINISTRIES AND AGENCIES
To encourage and facilitate the creation of cultural impact funds and linked investment readiness programmes.
To create a supportive policy context for investors, dealflow and secondary markets.
To create a conducive policy climate for cultural impact investment across Europe.
To contribute grant funding to achieve investment readiness amongst potential investors and investees.