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 the Covid-19 pandemic was the biggest issue that the Barbican Centre had ever experienced. The Centre officially closed on 17 March 2020 leading to a total loss of income and cancelled events. The Managing Director highlighted the impressive ongoing commitment be undertaken to keep the Barbican safe ready for when it can reopen. The recent Government guidance included step 3 which would allow re-opening but no timeline of when that would be. 


·         Members welcomed Leonora Thomson back to the Barbican in the new role _.


·         Members were advised that issuing refunds had been a main focus since the lockdown.


·         Within Creative Learning, two responses to the lockdown had been developed. The first was a local response and the team were working with Culture Mile and the London Borough of Islington to help families without internet (one in ten families). The other was a digital response including work with the National Youth Orchestra and young sessions.


·         With regards to Innovation and Engagement, Members were advised that digital/technology was the key focus. Good businesses processes and digital outputs had been developed and technology and innovation were the next area focus with some Members already inputting and pushing this workstream.


·         Despite the Joint Barbican/Guildhall School Away Day being unprecedentedly cut short, work was pressing ahead with the discussed framework with a socially engaged focus.


·         The Director of Operations and Buildings thanked staff, Members, Officers and local residents for their ongoing support as the Projects Team continued with plans to develop the Barbican as a destination for the future. It was confirmed the building was safe and staff continued to ensure the Centre remained compliant even whilst closed.  The team were currently preparing for the reopening of the Barbican which would be in a phased approach and PPI advice had been sought from the City Corporation.


·         The Business Events team continue to work with clients to move booked dates or transfer business in the future. A stream of enquires had also been received for events in autumn.


·         Members were advised that an online Barbican retail offer should be available from June.


·         It was noted that the catering offer at the Barbican had been particularly hard hit and Officers were working with contractors to help them open as soon as possible.


·         BIE were also struggling to deal with the complexity of exhibitions worldwide. It was noted that the Head of BIE (Neil McConnon) had left the Barbican in mid-May which was a big loss.


·         Members were advised that whilst applications were continuing the pandemic had caused a significant impact on arts funding and scenario planning had begun. Corporate support and donors had been impacted but were remaining loyal and a virtual programme was in development to keep everyone connected.


RESOLVED – That Members endorse Management’s approach to the future reopening of the Centre.

Supporting documents: