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 advised Members that the launch of several events, including Sound Unbound and AI: More than Human exhibition, had brought a busy and successful period for the Centre. However, the Fundamental Review presented potential issues and the Centre was building a response to deal with the concerns.


·         The Artistic Director highlighted a number of successes including a seven page article in the Observer and a limited edition cover on Harper’s Bazaar regarding the Lee Krasner exhibition, great coverage of the AI exhibition, the box office success of Grief is a thing with Feathers, positive reviews for Avalanche, and the success of the third Sound Unbound free event which received over 1,200 attendees and 5* reviews. 


·         A music event developed through the City Islington Partnership launched on 3 April 2019 involving one out-of-school programme with two more to follow.


·         The Estate 50 event, a fruitful collaboration between the Learning and Engagement Team and Barbican residents celebrating the 50th anniversary Barbican Estate on Saturday 8 June, would be followed by a Corporation reception at the Centre.


·         It was noted that Squish Space had received 10,000 visitors in the 100 days since it opened, and evaluations indicated visitors were coming from a wide number of boroughs.


·         A showcase sharing the work of the Primary School Barbican Box took place on 30 April 2019 at which children’s author Michael Rosen produced poetry. Michael Rosen plans to reproduce the poems for wider distribution.


·         Members were advised that there had been good progress on the security, fire and CWP projects and that 90% of the ad hoc list were complete and audited.


·         The Director of Operations & Buildings noted that the Centre was awarded 4 stars out of five by Julie’s Bicycle Creative Green Standard in its first year of certification and highlighted the team effort of the Barbican and Guildhall School Alliance for this achievement.


·         It was noted that the Fundamental Review had caused delays to some projects which were now on hold until September, e.g. the Exhibition Halls.


·         The Chairman thanked those that attended and assisted with the Lord Mayor’s breakfast and was particularly impressed with Garden School work that was presented.


·         A Member was disappointed that the new IT system had not yet been implemented. Members were advised that the systems were still being worked on to manage the huge risk implications. It was agreed this would be made a priority to deal with Member’s concerns. 


·         In response to a query regarding the MoU British Council, Members were advised that there was an objective within the International Strategy regarding this relationship to ensure cohesive communications between the two organisations and ensure understanding of each other’s initiatives.


·         It was noted that a report of the Chairmen of the Barbican Centre Board and Guildhall School of Music & Drama went to the Court of Common Council updating them on the success of the Barbican and Guildhall Creative Learning team winning the SEND Achievement at the National Creative Learning Awards for its work with The Garden School.


·         In response to a question concerning agile working, Members were advised that more agile processes were being incorporated within the organisation. A Member felt that agile was formidable for the future and should be made a priority. A Member voiced caution over the use of agile processes in marketing stressing the importance of understanding the risks involved. The Chairman stated that further thought in this area was needed for ideas to be brought to the Board.


·         A Member advised that government had announced an AI Council appointing experts to boost the UK’s artificial intelligence sector and saw this as an opportunity for the Barbican. It was recommended that Council members be invited to the Barbican’s AI exhibit to advance culture and AI. The Managing Director noted that the Barbican were not experts in this field, but the exhibition was an opportunity for thought leadership. A Member stated that companies considered AI to be the basis for the next economy (after data) and felt that leadership should be formed following the exhibition.



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