Working with the Dutch Association of Cultural trustees, we assessed the boards of ten renowned cultural institutions.
At the time of the research, the arts and cultural sector faced significant discontinuities in their funding, resulting in significant challenges for the leadership of these institutions.
The research was aimed to help the cultural sector identify and monitor relevant trends in cultural governance and to stimulate executives and non-executives to reflect on the best ways to take up leadership roles in this period of significant social, political and economic change.
The results suggest that supervisory boards and executive teams that develop a strong empathy and close working relationship based on mutual challenge and respect are more agile in addressing discontinuities successfully. A key challenge for them is to increase a diversity of individuals and relationships in the leadership teams who can, with respect and understanding of the artistic product and values of the institutions, initiate substantial (social) innovation.
Furthermore the research indicated that it is essential to adopt an integrated and strategic approach for identifying and responding to risks and opportunities, within the internal and external environment. This, in turn, will form the basis for sustainability and innovation within this unique sector.