Agenda item

Management Report by the Barbican's Directors

Report of the Managing Director.


The Board received a report of the Managing Director providing updates from the Barbican Directors on their respective areas. The following comments were made:


·         The Managing Director advised Members that the annual theme ‘Life Rewired’ had been launched giving energy and coherence to the programme.


·         Following positive C4M announcements in January, the Managing Director quoted an article in the Architects’ Journal calling it an “urban regeneration project”. It was agreed that London needed a cultural infrastructure to thrive and the Barbican was continuing to refine its business model and programme fundraising to progress with this.


·         The Artistic Director highlighted a number of projects including OpenFest: Art 50, a free weekender of events in partnership with Sky Arts. Life Rewired events included the Enterprising Adventures Showcase, a project exploring collaborative approaches in arts and neuroscience, an experiment at pitting an AI composer trained on the works of Bach against the original pieces in a concert called The Eternal Golden Braid and Unclaimed, a Wellcome-funded commission telling the stories of a surreal lost property office. 


·         Tune into Access, a celebratory free day consisting of performances and participation exploring accessibility, technology and the arts, took place on 18 March marking Disabled Access Day.


·         It was noted that proactive work was taking place to celebrate the Barbican Estate’s 50th anniversary and the Barbican Centre would be hosting a key community event on 8 June for residents in collaboration with the Barbican Association celebrating the past, present and future of the estate.


·         The Barbican and Guildhall Creative Learning team won the SEND Achievement (Special Educational Needs and Disabilities) at the National Creative Learning Awards for its work with The Garden School in Hackney, a school for learners with autism aged 4 to 16.


·         Members were advised that it had been 10 years since the Barbican and Guildhall formed its Creative Learning collaboration.


·         The Director of Operations and Buildings advised that changes were happening with projects and engagement and the team was working on the destination of the future.


·         The Director of Operations and Buildings thanked Commander Richard and the City of London Police for their service and support training.


·         A holistic approach across one team was progressing with capital was noted that the gallery work was progressing nicely to not only transform the space but also improve accessibility and fire safety.


·         The Board was invited by the Director of Operations and Buildings to view the project outcomes and improvements.


·         Members were advised that the Barbican had a strong presence in China across a number of tours in 2019.


·         It was expected that the summer would see large visitor numbers of over 200k people due to the AI: More than Human exhibition and Jesus Christ Superstar musical.   


·         Members congratulated the Communication Department for their excellent C4M coverage and the Creative Learning Team for their impressive work.


·         In response to a query regarding whether the thick materials used for programmes, etc, were recyclable, Members were advised that the Marketing Team would be asked to respond.


·         A Member highlighted the effective response by Officers regarding making safe an antenna (comment by JT, I have no idea what this is).  


·         A Member queried how the green season parking would be managed for electric vehicles, how many spaces would be available and whether a charge could be introduced following the London car park review on 8 August. It was agreed that Officers would provide the Board with a report in six months to inform a discussion regarding the impact of this car park change.


·         In response to a query, Members were advised that an invite to the Development Dinner and Review on 26 June would be circulated to the Board shortly.     


·         With regards to the Barbican’s growing presence in China, a Member noted that the Culture Ambassador was keen to work with the Centre.


·         A Member requested an approved briefing on C4M to share with members of the public. The Managing Director agreed to provide a Board communication briefing for Members to use when publicising the C4M.


·         It was noted that advance orders were being taken for a new book providing a series of photographs of the Centre.



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