Agenda item

Management Report by the Centre's Directors

Report of the Managing Director.


Members 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 stated that this was an important moment for the Centre as it worked to gradually reopen to the public and gain public confidence. Thanks was given to all staff that had worked tirelessly to make the building safe and to the City Corporation for their continued help and support throughout.


·         A recent public survey reported that 95% of attendees felt safe at the Centre which had now raised to 97/8%. The Managing Director regarded this as an important step for culture and showing the Barbican as a big contributor in bringing people back to the Square Mile.


·         With regards to the cinemas, it was noted that Cinema 1 viewings would increase to two viewings a day from Friday. Cinemas 2 and 3 were planned to reopen in November.


·         Members were advised that the normally split classical and contemporary offer would now be brought together to provide a stronger programme.


·         Members were encouraged to attend the Leytonstone Loves Film event which began today and would last for three weeks delivering screenings, workshops and talks both live and online.


·         Michael Clark: Cosmic Dancer opens on 7 October in Barbican Art Gallery.


·         Cross-departmental thinking continues to take place looking at how the narrative of their work was shared and what more could be done to sell the Barbican’s story and fundraise.


·         The new 12 month creative learning programme has launched and been well received.


·         Creative Learning took part in the virtual London Careers Festival on 29 June 2020, with a Q&A targeted at the post-16 age group discussing careers in the arts. On the discussion panel were a range of Barbican staff, with representation from Art Gallery, Cinema, Music and Theatre.


·         Recruitment for new creative cohorts 20/21 has begun including Young Creatives programmes Young Poets, Programmers, Visual Arts Group and National Open Youth Orchestra.


·         A new online short course, A Brief History of Brutalism at the Barbican, has been developed through the Alliance and will be launched in September over six seminars.


·         The first Barbican Association meeting since lockdown will take place on 12 October 2020.


·         The Barbican Kitchen has reopened, and it was hoped that Osteria and the Martini Bar would follow soon.


·         Members were advised that developing a programme of events had been difficult due to the uncertain financial impacts of Covid, loss of funding opportunities, phased reopening of the building and the overall changed landscape. A five-year plan was in development.


·         Members were encouraged by the positive stats concerning returning audience and visitors perception of safety at the Centre.


·         A Member felt that it would be useful to publicise to visitors exactly what the physical arrangements at the Barbican were and what to expect. Officers confirmed information regarding visitor experience, safety procedures and how the Centre was being managed was available on the website.


·         The Chair noted that City Corporation leaders had joined a round table with MPs and requested clarity concerning confusing rules and information to the public around travel, visiting cultural institutions and the new rule of six.


·         A Member queried how residents further than the unique local Barbican residents were engaged with and welcomed more engagement with other Wards and residents throughout the City. Officers agreed there was a strong relationship with those residents immediately close to the Centre who particularly engaged though the Barbican Association on local issues and Barbican Residential Committee. The Barbican remained committed to engaging with all City residents and bordering Boroughs through its Creative Learning and Beyond Barbican projects and general civic ambitions. Officers were also working within Culture Mile on a hyper local project to join resources and efforts to encourage all residents to come into City and enjoy culture, including the Barbican, making it accessible to all.


·         The Chair agreed to join the next Barbican Residential Committee meeting and felt that transport specifically was the goal to target to encourage wider residents in the City to visit the Barbican.


·         Members felt that it was important to know where visitors were coming from to help capture different audiences and where to target marketing. Communicating and sharing messaging through local/ City newspapers was suggested.


·         In response to a question concerning the value of in-kind support, it was confirmed that the Barbican supported and highly subsidised various ventures and was also approached by artists for support.

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