QAGOMA’s Manager of Digital Transformation Morgan Strong, AMaGA’s National Director Katie Russell, and artist, future strategist & Director at All Tomorrow's Futures, Ana Tiquia discuss how their organisations and experiences might assist others in navigating this practical reality.
More recorded talks from the Future of Arts, Culture & Technology Symposium 2023
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Our first panel is about process change and especially about the practical realities of the transitioning to strategy, especially for those of us working in and with small to medium organisations. I think there's going to be a lot for us to get into and I hope you've all got a lot to say about it. Our panellists today are Katie Russell, Morgan Strong and Anna Tiquia. Katie is an art museum practitioner with over 25 years experience working in organisations including the Art Gallery of New South Wales, the National Portrait Gallery and the National Gallery of Australia. As an advocate, educator and programmer, she has an extensive background in accessibility and engagement and is passionate about the ways in which museums and galleries create meaningful experiences with their publics. Katie is a MAGA national director and CEO where she's steering the organisation's new strategic direction by working with major stakeholders, researchers, funding bodies and members to harness the potential of collaborative practice. Morgan Strong is the digital transformation manager at the Queensland Art Gallery of Modern Art. Morgan has been working with technology in the GLAM sector for almost 15 years, collaborating with institutes across the country. Morgan's work focuses on leveraging technology to create meaningful, to create meaning from collection data and improve the way museums can embrace digital to improve the way they do their work. And last but not least is Anna Tiquia, a curator, producer, artist and future strategist who works across the arts, design and technology. Anna is founder of All Tomorrow's Futures, a consultancy service that uses art, design and creative technology to generate possibility in the present. Anna has worked with leading cultural organisations such as Somerset House, the Barbican, Melbourne Museum and London's Philharmonic to produce digitally driven exhibitions, installations and interactive projects. Please join me in welcoming our panellists to the stage. Hello. It's been a really long but really great session I think for everyone here but we kind of want to get a bit of a vibe and a feel for everyone that's in the audience and also for this session we're going to have a chat but we're going to invite questions from the outset so that you can really help guide this interactive discussion. There are no slides, whether that's a good or a bad thing but there are none. But before we get the first question, because you don't even know us, we want to get a vibe for who's out there. So first of all, if you're from a small, medium or independent practitioner, could you put your hand in the air? Okay. There we go. Blinding lights but I get a vibe. What about like a larger institution? Can we get a feel for that as well? Okay. Oh well. Didn't expect that. All right. Performing arts, theatre, that space. And museums, collecting institutions, galleries. Right. That gives us a good feel. Okay. So thank you for volunteering that information. I will make sure it's not anonymous. But what's a bit different about this panel compared to some of the others and that will be the first bit of discussion I guess is that the CEO digital mentoring program, which has been referenced a few times, we've seen a few mentees and a few mentors throughout the time. But on this panel, we actually have the mentor with the mentee together. So I think it might be nice to have a little bit of a discussion about what that meant for the mentee because there are quite a few small practitioners here. And if it does continue next year, I think it might be nice to get a feel for it and whether or not it's a good idea to apply for it. I think it will be. So we'll start with that. So Katie, you were obviously a mentee looking at a MAGA. How did that experience? What did you kind of get out of being a mentee in the program? So when I started at a MAGA, there was very much a brief to develop a new strategic plan for the organisation. And this was in the midst, it was February 2021 when I started at a MAGA and we were in the midst of the pandemic and the sector was suffering exponentially like all of us were. And so I was struggling to try and develop strategy out of that confusion. As you heard in my bio, I've come from an institutional background where you've got a lot of support mechanisms and structures to enable your work. And but a MAGA is a very small organisation that represents a diverse range from the biggest museums, the national, the state, right through to small regional galleries and local historical societies. So there's not a one size fits all strategy. And so I couldn't see a way through using the traditional develop a strategic plan and then action it. So the program and my acceptance into it came at absolutely the right time. So digital drove strategy for me through my participation in the program. Excellent. So with that, we will open up, but I'll also ask Anna. So Anna, you spend a lot of time developing strategies for other organisations and so on. So knowing that there's quite a few small medium players out there, is there any advice or a process that you would advise to them in developing their strategies? Absolutely. Where do you want to start? So I guess I get called upon to develop, I guess, different, a range of different strategies. So I do work that is more within the realm of say, future strategy for cultural and arts and visitor based organisations. And I've also done a bit of quite a lot of work developing, I guess, technology or visitor experience strategies or doing work, futures research work for cultural organisations as well. I think it's really challenging for a lot of organisations who definitely are small to medium when they're considering what the implications of a technology or trying to avoid saying it as well, digital strategy might be. But where I usually start with most organisations is really by using the strategy process as a way for an organisation, which effectively is always a group of people. It might be a very large group of people or a very small core group of people to really cultivate greater attention and attentiveness and a deeper understanding of what their actual shared values and even underlying beliefs or stories might be about technology, digital or otherwise. I think the way that I like to work with strategy is usually values and core beliefs led because the joy of that is that you're not prescribing at the end of the strategy process a range of technofixes or technologically determined solutions to a problem that may not even exist. But that actually, if you're working from an understanding of what your values are and how you relate to technologies or wish to relate to technologies as an organisation, you have a great potential for actually finding creative means to do that within whatever constraints you might be working with, whether they're budgetary constraints or physical constraints. Yeah. So we're now open. Any questions so far? I can talk underwater, so this will keep going. But I'd love to get more interactivity if there are any. Okay, one really, I guess, important factor I think came up during our mentoring sessions, Katie, and I think this would be very relevant too, is, and this came up yesterday, as a director of a smaller institution, it's very hard to not be responsive all the time because there's so many fires, there's so many spot things that need to be done, there's so many kind of operational concerns. I do think one of the things that came up through our mentoring programme is it forced you, Katie, to spend one and a half hours per month or every six weeks to block out your calendar and actually think about the strategy. And the way we approached it is we didn't think, oh, let's put digital in this box. We thought of the wider strategy of a MAGA and then looked at how technology actually helps achieve those goals. But I guess that's really important, blocking that off. But Anna, in your experience, how do you find getting time from smaller or medium organisations to actually reflect and find how their mission can be achieved? I think time is a resource that's really difficult for a number of us to find in organisational and work lives and definitely with small to medium organisations. And really appreciate there can be a lot of time pressures, a lot of people perhaps juggling a lot of different roles within the one organisation. I think it's really interesting hearing some of the speakers, particularly yesterday, talking about the challenges of arguing for funding for R&D. But similarly, I'd also argue that there can sometimes be some real challenges too in arguing whether it's within your organisation or arguing with a funder for really the essential work of setting aside time to do the strategic broader thinking, to be able to think not just beyond the constraints of the present, to really think across different time horizons and into the near or far future. And to also be able to really do that research to set aside time to do that kind of strategic research as well. Indeed. Oh, we got one. Look at this. How interactive. Hello. Oh, hi there. Sorry. Ali from Arts Centre Melbourne. Here I work in strategy and planning. And I'm interested, Katie, in what you said with your opening comments about how digital started leading strategy after you completed the program. And I was wondering if you could speak a bit more about that and maybe give some examples of the shifts that happened that sort of changed the way you conceived of that. I think as Morgan has alluded to, thanks for the question. As Morgan alluded to, creating space for strategy I think is incredibly challenging, no matter what size your organisation is. And there's other elements that challenge strategy as well. And there's that old chestnut about culture eating strategy for breakfast. And I think that is pretty true in a lot of organisations. I mean, particularly large organisations that I've had the privilege to work in. But AMAGA has, you know, it's got a very mixed brief, as I said, but also as a national membership organisation for a diverse constituency. What the time with Morgan, so it evolved over the sessions. It didn't just come as a light bulb at the end. It was, it's really about what's the strategies that we need to put in place as an organisation that represents a sector. And so our thinking around that, and then we socialise that with the National Council. So there's a large council that is the governance structure of AMAGA. And so our strategy became two pronged. What are we going to address for the sector? What are we going to advocate for on the sector's behalf? And what does that piece look like for AMAGA itself? So it's like, there's a two pronged strategy. And it goes across, it's actually going to end up being seven vectors in the final strategy. But they're common and wicked problems, if you like, for all museums and galleries. And I guess echoing from those wicked problems, which I'm sure most of you would be aware of some really unsolvable issues out there. And yesterday we had Indigo present some kind of approaches that came out of a research that could be really adopted at a sector wide size to kind of help. And one of them is, of course, sharing between institutions and common infrastructure and ways around that. I really do see that AMAGA has a key role in the future in achieving that and being able to get the larger and smaller institutions working a little bit more together and to make, I guess, awareness amongst the sector of what opportunities are there. I know where I work up in Queensland. Anyone else from Queensland here? Yay, my boss. Anyone else? Look at this. Well, it was really hot when I left on Monday night. It was like 34 degrees. It was freezing when I got here. And now it's like there. Anyway. That it's obviously, I've been working on some projects up there and I can definitely see that some of the stuff that we're doing, not just in technology, but in practice, could really help a lot of the smaller institutions. Way, way, way back in the early 2000s, late 90s, there was a service called Australian Museums Online, which was around a very long time ago. I did some research about how that all worked. And it was driven by a small number of people. But one of the services it did offer that offered immense value to the small to medium players was the expertise was documented from conservators, from registrars, from collection managers that they'd had specialist training that they could provide to these volunteer and smaller institutions. It eventually kind of also had like a collection search and a few other things. And then later the Collections Australia Network was providing some of those resources, which then also I believe the powerhouse had to take over the hosting of it because it ran out of funding. Seb, was that your work? That was my... Okay. Eventually. Eventually, but Amago can probably facilitate that role anymore. And if you think about technology providing some of that, like a conservator who has a very specialist skill set about looking after an object can even just do like a mobile phone recording of themselves documenting how they look after these classes of works. And if that's available through the Amago network, that's immense value to groups that don't really know a whole lot about conservation. So I do think Amago can be like a really important tool in the national picture for facilitating transfer of not just digital, but other knowledge. And following on in answer to the question in terms of going into that a bit more deeply, in terms of our session, that kind of emerged that the digital tools that I didn't have much awareness of, that we were already using in the organisation and we were about to implement a new membership management system, of course, which is vital for an organisation like ours, which also links to a new website. And I knew this was happening. It was happening within the organisation, but I didn't have enough... At the outset of the program, I didn't have the digital literacies, as Jane would refer to them, to understand the potential of that, to actually empower a sort of kickstart or really just build up our ability to be a network, because that's what we are. Our value is a network. We're a connector through the sector. And so that was a light bulb moment for me. And the first time I knew I was onto a good thing, I knew as soon as I was paired with Morgan, I knew, oh, you're an art gallery person. And that we're strange in that sense too in the digital mentoring program, because there was an effort to try and pair mentors and mentees cross-sectorally. We ended up together, which was a great pairing, because I think we really fired off each other in terms of knowing about collection management and we're nerdy around collection discoverability, which is a pretty niche thing. But anyway, I think that the light bulb moment for me was when Morgan said to me, oh, you're a mentor. You can't use the new system that you're implementing. It's costing X amount of money to reproduce business as usual. And that's precisely what I just didn't have as the CEO, didn't have that insight that that's exactly what we were doing. And so the strategy and everything flowed from that one statement, because it just said, right, this is the enabler. This is the tool, the how, that will potentially make Amaga what you're suggesting we could be. The transformation piece. Yeah. Any other questions? Oh, we have a question down here. I have a three-part question, so bear with me. Corey would have hated that. So some organisations, regardless of size, can trip up on moving from the strategic document as reference point to strategic action and realisation. And there's current arguments in literature that now favours leaving that strategic document behind to focus more on the nature of strategic plays or strategic leads. So my three-part question is, do you agree with that sort of transition in approach? How would or could you see that shift take place in an organisation or for a client? And are there any immediate barriers or issues that you could foresee in making that transition? Anna, do you want to take it? Yeah, sure. So yes, I think I'll try and answer maybe the first part of that. Absolutely. I think so I'm a really big fan of strategy being immensely usable. And usability completely depends on the context for who the strategy is for and who needs to use it. So there's a good bit of understanding your end user. If you're creating a strategy yourself, understanding your context, your organisation, who needs to use it, how can we make it easily accessible? Do we want it to still down to a few key points? What might even be the form of this strategy? A lot of us are really unfortunately used to seeing big, long, unreadable strategic documents. There's no great exception to that. But a document might not be the right way to contain your strategy. I like to think of strategy, good strategy as really working as a good navigational device for organisations and groups. And so even if that was distilled into a few key points or took the form of even a more creative artefact, go for it. As for implementation, this is probably for me as someone who's come from a background as being both a producer and a strategist. This is probably my favourite bit because it is also really nuanced. Once again, if you're operating in an environment of high uncertainty, as all of us were over the last couple of years, where we didn't know what might happen in terms of, say, bricks and mortar institutions or spaces being opened or closed, you don't want, and I think most of us intuitively do this anyway, you don't want a strategy which is a strategic plan which is rigid, which is detailed. You need to adopt a strategic mindset which is really about adaptability, change, fluidity. When you're in more certain environments or in operating an environment of a higher certainty, as we hope we can be in in 2023, perhaps you can start putting in milestones or key projects or fleshing those out and working towards those. As for actually the implementation, I think this is a really interesting part. I think this is where organisations of all scales can scale their strategic activities and approaches. I love to think once you've landed on a strategy or you have an idea of what you're wanting to do, what your purposes are, how you're wanting to serve your communities or audiences or key groups, then really look at, I'd say try and look at all your activities. Now, they could be operational activities. As Kerry mentioned, you might look at your contracting processes with artists or suppliers. You could be looking at project-based funding. If you've got project, even smaller amounts of project-based funding, how do you bring this strategic, your strategic intent to life through projects that you're doing? Is there anything coming up in terms of the way that you might even go out to hire or onboard new staff or team members? It really depends. I guess we're talking about strategy quite broadly here. Even within technology strategies, you could be using them at the operational side, on the creative side, on the audience development or engagement side. Yes, I'm not sure if I've answered that question, but I think definitely in terms of transitioning into modes where you're enacting strategy rather than necessarily holding onto big doc, that can definitely work in a lot of contexts. In another context, you might want to take more of a planned or rigid approach. I guess also yesterday we heard about how important the mission statement is in driving that and how really ambiguous mission statements probably cascade down to quite ambiguous strategies. So I guess how you formulate that strategy, whether it's a document, hopefully not prescriptive, if it's informed by a mission that is quite defined in what it's trying to do, I think the format that comes out of that's probably less relevant as long as it's reflecting of the mission you're trying to achieve through digital. I think there's also a piece about how the strategy is decided upon in terms of the collective deciding or staff input and everybody having a voice or feel like that they've got a part to play in the strategy if it's created in a vacuum by the executive. I think that where's the incentive to buy into that? I'm thinking a lot about the theme of discomfort at the moment. Our conference is coming up on that theme in May, anyone interested? I think when groups or teams get together and they actually talk about what they prioritise or what they think the strategic direction is going to be, there's potentially going to be a bit of tension around that. And I think that we all need to learn to sit with that and actually just listen more so that the strategy is a fully whole of organisation strategy in the ideal sense. But I think that's about collaborating on it. Can I just add one thing to that? I absolutely agree with what Katie's saying here about strategy needs to be used by everyone in an organisation ideally and really creating spaces for that participation. I will say though I think with a degree of caution too, if you're in a leadership role in a hierarchical organisation which many of us are if we're working in big institutions or organisations of different sizes as well in this space, I think really one of the things that I feel is so important there is to ensure that if you're inviting that participation to really see it through. Exactly. There can be so much and I think probably many of us have experienced being involved in participatory processes that sometimes end up in, you know, can result in something that doesn't feel participative or usable by the wider group. So that's probably the only word of caution I'd add to that. And then reinforcing silos rather than actually breaking them down. Exactly. Yeah. We have a question over here. My name's Michael. I'm from the Australian National Maritime Museum. I feel really privileged to be here and thank you all for your input. I have a question. Reaching back to that idea of digital leading strategy, can you share any experiences where you've overcome perhaps the internal block or the internal drag by some significant influences in the organisation still seeing digital as a function as opposed to an enabler leading strategy? Do you understand the question? It's how do you address or can you share any case examples or stories where you've effectively overcome some internal barriers to elevate digital to where it really needs to be in order to impact change? I've got something that's somewhat related, but I think it's still a good answer, but you may disagree. So we'll find out. I think there's a kind of almost parallel but related thing that often digital innovation or digital initiatives kind of happen almost by chance or an external influence. Like you might get a big grant or you might get some funding to do a particular activity, say digitise or implement a new system or whatever, and often the kind of funding that's tied to that ends up driving the strategy rather than it being like a purposeful thing that you're trying to get out and achieve. So there you can have a risk that if you don't actually have some sort of a wider strategy driven by a vision of what you're doing with digital, that achieving the outcome of implementing that project becomes the strategy because all you're doing is like I got the money for this, I need to now do this, and now you have this kind of system, whether or not that system was what you actually needed that fulfils the goals of your strategy is a different question. So I can think of many, many examples in my long career of working with institutions that have received grant funding because they want to become digital, and thinking back in WA I have quite a few of them, and they get it, they implement it, and then they kind of now have to look after this thing, but now they've got it, but it was never really driven by a wider mission or a wider strategy, it was driven by achieving a goal. So that's not quite your question, but I think it's a really useful parallel answer. Yeah, and I think further to that, I think Victoria kind of addressed that this morning in a meta sense when she said, you know, eventually the ideal is to lose the digital and keep the word transformation. And that's what I felt about our experience, like it was actually, we never said the bingo word, we didn't actually use the word digital ever. No one said bingo when we said digital transformation 800 times, did they? No, no. It's because it's straight after lunch on day two. In our six lengthy conversations we never used the word digital, but we were actually working on transforming the organisation, so I think that is possible in the real to the digital, not using digital by stealth, but it just becomes the transformation mechanism. Yeah, ideally it should go to the background and just be part of, I can't remember who said it yesterday, but it was a brilliant line of saying we don't have a digital marketing head because we don't have an analogue marketing head. Sydney Theatre Company. Yes. Yeah. That was a better, I just wanted to talk my example, weave it into your question, whereas that was an actual answer to your question, so we should have probably cut to Katie first and I could have segwayed to my bit. That was one of the things I wanted to bring up today when I was on the panel, so I kind of used your question to get there. Morgan, what about, I want to take you somewhere else. What about the issue about technology and adopting a particular system, especially for a small organisation that can be a huge investment, and then they're kind of lumbered with that and restricted by it, and so then you become increasingly fearful of the digital. Yeah, and really this is something I was reflecting on quite a bit. When I first got a digital team, whoever said that the other day, that's a really important aspect, it really is. Back 10 years ago, whatever, all of the kind of systems that are now really cheap SaaS subscriptions, a lot of them weren't available, and when they were, they were quite expensive on-prem solutions that were really, really big investments that required a lot of upkeep. So, back then, we would choose the systems that were needed for core business, get open source and develop and maintain them, and we owned all of our data, we owned our own platforms, and in some ways there was a lot more kind of security, and you could embed digital pres, you could change your APIs as you needed. But then obviously 10, 12 years later, you can't justify building and maintaining your own CRM when you can just hire one that's pretty cheap. As we heard from Corey and Rebecca yesterday, last night, when we talked about the, is it the intensification of the capital? So if you weren't there, it was pretty much about how a lot of processes are implemented that squeeze out any competition, and then all the value is derived by both the consumer and the buyer, and what's left is you've got a small number of players that are taking absolutely all the value and price with it. But we can be in a situation soon that as a small player, you put a huge investment into a SaaS platform that, for you, that $5,000 is a huge operational thing, and you become completely reliant on it, and all of a sudden there's no competition and the price may quadruple. But you don't really have an exit strategy because you're small and you don't have the capacity, and there's a real risk. There aren't great answers because what do we do? Do we not use these platforms because we kind of need to, and you can't really justify, if your company has five or 10 people in it, you can't really justify having a full-time dev. I don't have an answer. I've just got this kind of- Oh, a marga to the rescue. Yeah, yeah. Well, I guess one of them is the sharing of resources, and we've got Victorian collections as an example of that. Exactly. In our Victorian branch, funded by Creative Victoria, the state government agency, there's a program that's been longstanding called Collections Victoria. And I won't do this justice, and I'm sorry for my colleagues, but it provides the software and support for small collecting organisations to upload and catalogue their systems on a common platform, and we provide the sort of stability around that platform. And it's also happening and funded in Western Australia. Collections WA, same. And we feel, as a national organisation, that these things are very scalable, so that we could take that as a national program for collection support. There's a lot in the media you may have seen about the current fate or the potential fate or demise of Trove, the National Library's digital system. And there's a lot of our members who are very concerned about that because they use Trove in a particular way to document and share their collection items. So things like AMOL and Collections Australia Network, there's often been a sort of a nationalised push, but they're temporarily funded to do mass digitisation and all the national distributed collections are all not aggregated, but they're all on one platform and all can be shareable with the Australian public, which is an ideal, but it has to have federal government backing. And I think maybe that's a segue to talk about the national cultural policy and its implications for organisations that are present today and because we haven't really done a deep dive into the cultural policy yet. I even brought a copy with me in case somebody asked for like a specific reference. A reading. Yeah. We get really bored, we only have about 10 minutes left. We could just read the creative common statement at the front. But yeah, I think that sort of scale, projects to scale and strategy to scale, like if a MAGA, there's potential for us, I think, to be that sort of broker for organisations about methods and sharing research into the sector. That's another arm that developed over the time that we were talking to for a MAGA, which hasn't been a big focus for us, but it's becoming much bigger, is research that's sector based and how a MAGA can be a broker or provide access to our member organisations for researchers to better understand the sector and help us as a sector solve our wicked problems. So research is key and it's something that goes through all of the interdependent planks of our strategy in terms of research, informed by research, practice led research. Any further, any questions up there before we go on? Someone's adjusting their hair, which is a kind of question. No? I'm sorry, Anna, in any of the organ... Have you ever been, I guess, commissioned to do a strategy across multiple organisations at all? Have you seen any potential for that? As in across the sector wide or... Even multiple orgs? Yeah, I haven't actually had the opportunity to work simultaneously on one project across multiple orgs. I've been in positions where I've been developing strategies for different organisations at the same time, but contracted individually. But I really like that idea and I think it's really interesting thinking about what Victoria mentioned this morning about the interoperability of strategies between organisations. She's that ecosystems model. And I think definitely with what you're proposing, Katie, in terms of a MAGA paying a role and sharing research resources or being able to be a hub or repository for that is really invaluable. You know, when we think of... Well, there's a few different definitions, but broadly if we're talking about strategy, we can talk about what's changing in our immediate external environment and what's changing in our internal organisational environment and how do those two interact. I love the idea of being able to do multiple organisation strategies, but there's ways which even without, say, a big project like that, you can facilitate that, I think, really immediately today, which I guess is really keeping those conversations going between your peers and your peer organisations, like being open about sharing your strategic goals and objectives. Where is it that you're wanting to go? What are some of the challenges? And I think I really love the allyship model that Victoria was discussing as well of who else is in your space, who is trying to achieve similar aims, do your missions align, do your values align as well? If you're limited in resources in some ways, you might have abundance of resources in others. So, an organisation with larger budgets for things like digital transformation might be able to support in other ways and you might have great in-house kind of capabilities in other ways that can talk to each other. So, yeah. So, I guess, returning to the cultural policy, hearing from any of your constituents inside your membership, have you had much feedback from that small to medium or are there elements that you're excited for for your constituents in that small to medium? Both. There's a genuine joy in the sector about what the cultural policy might mean. While it's not in this first piece that we have in front of you, it's not very explicit about museums and galleries except in two places. One, it acknowledges that the smallest organisations in our sector are really struggling and the previous federal government actually gave us a boost. Microgrants, it was called the CHART program, Cultural Heritage Arts and Regional Tourism Program. It was about a COVID recovery program and small to medium organisations could apply through AMAGA for a $3,000 grant to just reopen the doors. And it was very popular and it was acknowledgement of the struggle that those small community based organisations were feeling. And of course, in our cultural policy submission, we applied for the extension of that and the continuation of that in perpetuity because we believe that all tiers of government need to work together to achieve broader outcomes. And I think there's a tacit acceptance and promotion of that in this policy. And I really welcome that. Last night, Esther Anathelitis said, use this moment where you've got a government or a minister for the arts who's also the workplace relations minister and certainly working in our sector is something that very much like we're very simpatico with artists and wanting fair remuneration for work done. But often, museums and gallery workers, again, it's that vocational or piece that Corey spoke about. Oh, it must be so nice to work in a gallery. I mean, we've all heard that, you know, and it's like, yeah, no, it's fantastic. And of course it is an absolute privilege. But therefore that just because your skill set is there and just because your pleasure and your work shouldn't be exploited. And I think that that was undergirded last night, definitely. But in terms of being explicit about museums and galleries in the cultural policy, we've all been told we have the major national cultural institutions in Canberra and the Maritime Museum in Sydney have been told they need to wait till the May budget for to know how the federal government's going to address their funding woes. But a lot of speakers in this symposium have spoken to the fact that cultural institutional structures are an old form. So the constituents we represent, especially the larger players, they're actually 18th century ideas. And how do we and the Australian iterations of those are 20th century organisations that need to move into a new space and a big injection of money that's a one off is certainly not going to do that. But the structural solution is a complex one. And so while we're eagerly awaiting what that will be, and we're advocating for lots of people are advocating for what they think it should be, it's not a simple fix. Yes. I'm not sure if you've had a chance, Anna, to go through. Is there any at that, I guess, practitioner level? I mean, obviously, regarding artists as actual workers, although a novel is a welcome relief, but is there any reflections you'd like to add? Yeah, look, I guess not much beyond what you've just mentioned. But yeah, I think just to add the artists as workers and actually thinking about that whole ecosystem as well of the fact that, you know, many of us who work in arts and cultural organisations, we may have different roles or work with or supply to. But many of us are also artists too, and artists labour takes a range of different forms. So I think even in terms of organisational strategy, in terms of how you can, you know, really contribute to a thriving cultural landscape and communities, really, I think, emphasising that as well, thinking about are there ways in which you can more directly, yeah, more other ways in which you can more directly, yes, support the labour of artists. So yeah. Okay. Any reflections from the people in this very large room? I'm squinting because of the lights, not like I'm not just looking for hair flicks this time. No? Okay. There's one more explicit reference to museums and galleries in there, and it's the fact that the National Gallery has been given just over $11 million to share. The long term. The long term loans. Yes, the loans of the National Collection to distribute it. And that's very vague at the moment as to how that would work. But again, it signals sharing and, but, you know, there's a caution there for me. And I think in terms of, again, it's the big, you know, offering what they have down the line. But there needs to be more fluidity around that. And I'll be interested to see how that process plays out. But there is at least a nod to the fact that altis of the sector need to be supported to share. Yeah. And I guess reflecting on how you were referring to the chart grants of $3,000 being like game changes for those institutions, it does kind of show how a small injection comparatively can make a really big difference for the, what is hundreds or thousands of small places. It's the majority of our membership. Yeah. Because I remember doing like a different project and a different role going through Tasmania and meeting with a lot of the small galleries to look at their collections to see if there was an aggregation platform. And it was quite amazing how dependent they are on some volunteers, mostly in their 70s, who I don't know if there is a younger generation of 60 year olds coming through to replace them at that. I don't know if they're older or not, but it really did show that there is so much of not just the kind of, you know, the object based cultural heritage, but the kind of explicit stories that go with it is in a much older kind of demographic. And the capture of that knowledge is... Yeah. And they're very contained within those small little organisations and based on the labour of passionate individuals. And again, that's another case for something that's national. So they've got somewhere to share those collections, but also another hobby horse of mine, of course, is mentoring and succession planning within the sector. And I think that's why the digital mentoring project, you know, chimed with me so much and it worked for me because that's something I'm incredibly passionate about because everyone's career and the corporate, not the corporate knowledge, but the wealth of knowledge that you amass in a career, it's actually a really small time. And I feel that that responsibility to pass that on and not just be reliant on informal friendships or networks or someone you actually want to develop, I think we need to get a lot more structural around succession, especially in the smaller sector for the survival and longevity and potential sustainability of these organisations, which we could see vanish. And fairly quickly too. There's not any attention paid to it. Hello. Sorry if I'm asking too many questions. Maybe I missed answers. There's been a lot of talk about sharing an ecosystem, but we all know that it's very competitive out there, like especially for small to mediums and how much would compete for the same amount of money. So if you have any ideas how you can see this cooperation, collaboration happening, we're all for it, but like in my experience, people just don't turn up to meetings. They just don't have time or whatever. So as much as we wish we had the energy and if you have any ideas, I'd be very glad. Yeah, it's a really fair and it came back, I guess, to the very first question I said to Katie taking over this role as a market because Amaga is not just advocating for small and medium and large, but small such a big base. You're a very small organisation yourself. So finding that hour and a half that six times that was a huge commitment, particularly starting in the role that there aren't a lot of easy like we've heard a few things through the weeks that we've here. I mean, it feels like weeks, not days. It's been so much going on of like just focusing on certain channels and maybe looking at redefining the mission so that we can maybe do a little less. But obviously when you're at that leadership level, responsiveness takes over. So I mean, consortium led responses to grants are great where possible, but they obviously require more effort than just doing it by yourself. Lots Amaga probably can over time have a role where we did speak about this as a long term vision whereby it could potentially help broker, but that is in the longer term. It's the longer term. But I think that one of the recommendations around the CEO digital mentoring is that a coalition of alumni is formed to support that sharing across the arts organisations. I was really happily surprised by the fact that, again, not only in museums and galleries, but across the arts, whether it be a theatre company, a dance company, Arts Access Victoria, we have again more in common in terms of than we do that's different in terms of governance and how we can implement strategy and digital in our various contexts, which are broadly different. But I think, yeah, banding together, but yes, it takes time. And I think another very positive move indicated in the culture, what's actually happening is the incorporation of Creative Partnerships Australia into what will become a Creative Australia out of the Australia Council, because the opacity and the short term nature of funding, like project based funding or even short term funding just for projects and or year long funding, you're in this constant cycle and Amaga feels this too of applying for grants. And you never have anything foundational that you just know that, oh, I can actually keep my team together. And we're all feeling that, whether whatever size organisation having. So I think that certainty around and the clarity that might come out of that in terms of what's the funding mix between when do I go to philanthropists? When do I go to my state government agency? When do I go to local government? And or when do I get a marketer broker that for me? With all creative partnerships with I think that having a one stop shop that's the government agency will hopefully take a lot of the guessing out of that and potentially provide stability in the longer term for funding models, because they are for service organisations. I know that Creative Victoria has a service organisation stream of funding, but the Australia Council does not. They're much currently they're much more focused on arts production. And so they're looking into a stream of I can't remember what it's called. The delivery partners is a funding model that they're looking into in terms of meeting the needs and sort of making a more longer term financial commitment to organisations that service the sector more broadly. So like ours, like NAVA, just to give that stability. And that's a good sign. And I guess just finally too, when every grant application comes back written by CHAT GPT, they might have to change the format. I think that's us for time. Thank you all. Thank you to you