Cultural Innovation is linked to artistic experimentation and technological advances, but what about business models, organisational culture and behaviour? In a world crying out for social justice, how can cultural and creative leaders harness the enormous progressive potential that innovation holds?

Chaired by John McGrath – Artistic Director & CEO, Manchester International Festival

Join in

The Big Debate will be Live streamed on the Clore Leadership Programme’s Facebook page at 4:30 pm on Friday 14th Sept.

And don’t forget to pose your questions to our panellists via #emergingFutures2018


Dr Cecilia Wee – Head of Artist Development, ArtsAdmin

Radicalising Innovation in arts organising aka staying alive, staying relevant.

It’s 10 yrs since the collapse of Lehman Brothers and the start of the Global Financial Crisis. In the face of inescapable inequality and sociopolitical instability, creating alternative, more positive futures has become a key refrain. The arts is fundamental to this shift in mindsets – such creative responses are arguably already taking place, but what kinds of innovation do we need in our modes of production and organising?

We need to de-couple innovation from the formula that has been adopted from design thinking and design innovation, defined by Capital. What are the new organisational models that need to be built? Grassroots groups (Shadow Sistxrs Fight Club, Anti-University etc) are centring otherness and creating creative spaces that people need and want.  How can we re-define innovation and accordingly build new value propositions?

Make innovation about curiosity to learn, bravery to change and generosity to enable agency.

What’s at stake? Our cultural organisations will become irrelevant, out of touch and de-funded, unless we a) envisage and start living an inclusive culture b) be honest about the barriers to equality c) address those barriers through resource allocation.

Clare Reddington – Creative Director & CEO, Watershed

Invention doesn’t happen in silos, it requires open-ness, collaboration and energy.

Innovation is just the system that seeks to scale the magic. KPIs are the death of open-ness and collaboration and are a product of an old fashioned notion of leadership and accountability. An obsession with match funding breeds conservatism and cliques. So, how do we enable innovation in different ways? Support ecologies and slates of work? Can we reward kindness and care rather than numbers?

Javaad Alipoor – Writer, Theatre-Maker and Director

How can traditional and large institutions support innovation?

From Gal-dem at the Guardian to the takeovers at Southbank and Barbican by indie festivals and artists, it seems like bigger organisations are looking to smaller and younger ones to bring innovation to the table.  But what does this mean for the roles and responsibilities of those more powerful players?  Not only in the context of a harsher funding environment, but also the new political realities?

Viktoria Modesta – Bionic Artist, MIT Lab Fellow

There are many ways to approach the creation of a new cultural representation.

One of the things that I like to focus on is how to approach it conceptually and really demonstrate the future vision so it is spelled out. While the world was just starting to think about the subject of disability within society I saw an opportunity to tackle a bigger cultural picture.

What does the post-disability space look like when everyone already got over comparing how fast they can run and questioning the most primitive aspects of humanity and if that’s somehow tainted when you have someone augmented with technology.  Every time i see a problem I see an opportunity.

Having a vision of an alternate reality is the most important job, for me, it has to stem from a genuine place of human values that’s why art and sophisticated activism is such a beautiful pairing.  Everything else rests on having enough persistence to find the right supporters and be patient so that your actions cannot be erased from the cultural landscape.