Successful collaborations drive integration of arts and culture in conferences, reveals Barbican survey

Following a recent survey conducted by Barbican Business Events, which highlighted the benefits of providing a compelling arts and culture offer as part of conferences and events, further results emphasise the role of collaborations in enhancing these activations.

According to the survey, 48% of the respondents collaborate with cultural organisations, artists, or experts to effectively plan and execute artistic elements within their private events.

These collaborations range from forming authentic partnerships that ensure events stand out with a compelling offer, to engaging directly with local cultural resources and suppliers that reflect an event’s unique venue and location. Organisations reported various methods of collaboration, including:

  • Working with artists and partners to tailor artistic and cultural content to client or event-specific needs.
  • Incorporating artistic performances during events and commissioning artists as speakers to create impactful moments.
  • Enhancing attendee experiences through excursions to museums, exhibitions, and other cultural and artistic experiences

In addition to these specified collaborative efforts, 65% of respondents indicated that their choice of venue is often influenced by its cultural or artistic ties, with an additional 7% always considering this aspect in their venue selection.

“We are excited by the innovative ways in which arts and culture are being embraced in conferences and events spaces around the world,” comments Jackie Boughton, Barbican’s Director of Commercial. “The potential for significant collaboration between organisations and cultural entities underscores a shared commitment to elevating the human experience through creativity. These partnerships, whether commercial or altruistic, are not just about enhancing aesthetics or entertainment; they are vital in forging deeper connections, sparking dialogue, and providing a profound sense of place and purpose at events.”

“At the Barbican, we see our role as pivotal in facilitating these connections and memorable experiences. We can provide a platform where art and business intersect, fostering an environment where every event can be transformed into a culturally enriching experience that remains memorable for its attendees.”

These results build on previously shared survey findings, which showed that a significant majority of organisations (77%) recognise the importance of cultural elements as part of corporate events, with plans to continue these integrations. This ongoing commitment to arts and culture reflects a broader trend towards more dynamic, engaging, and distinctive events.

The research was conducted via a survey of corporate, association and agency clients working with the Barbican.  The survey received 70 responses: 81% were from Europe (48% from the UK) the remaining 19% were from the rest of the world (14% USA).

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