Due to the economic crisis the cultural sector experienced some major cutbacks in a changing environment. With a declining government, supervisory boards turn into a ‘last resort’. This intensifies their role as advisor, supervisor, employer and incubator of their network. Research has shown that the effectiveness, interaction and value added by supervisory boards can be structurally improved.
Through a series of interviews, expert meetings and seminars, we asses that the institutions recognized the need to adapt to this changing environment. However most trustees were struggling to understand how they could support these changes. The actual responsibilities of trustees changed with significant task aggravation (urgency, emphasis, time spent, and types of questions, increasing hands-on involvement). In the previous period of stability, boards and executive teams had adopted a ‘pure’ supervisory approach, appropriate for a mature operational business: the recent changes in the social, political and economic climate has called for a different emphasis, and potentially for different membership of boards.
We setup the Dutch Association for Cultural Trustees (NVTC) to stimulate professionalization within the cultural sector. The NVTC unites trustees in the cultural sector that align a strong cultural sector which has the ability and flexibility to respond adequately to the challenges of an ever-changing environment. Through the activities of the NVTC we connect and unite supervisors from all parts of the cultural sector in the Netherlands. We exchange, deepen skills and knowledge of trustees through a search for connections with other stakeholders and relevant parties within and outside the sector. With the setup of the NVTC we contributed to a dynamic and sustainable sector that can create a real impact to the arts and society at large.