CEO Weekly Blog – w/c 4 Feb

All Staff Meeting – Mon 4 Feb 2019, photo by Ian Paine


I always enjoy spending dedicated time with staff at ARC, not least because they all have such different insights into what we do. This week saw our first ever Box Office ‘away day’ – a chance to get the Box Office staff together as a team and do some thinking and talking about their roles. I was struck by just how much they know about our customers, and how valuable this knowledge is to the rest of the organisation. Not only can it inform programming and marketing, but other areas of our activity too, from how we welcome customers to the building to what we serve in the café.

This week also saw one of our regular – if unimaginatively named – ‘all staff meetings’. The nature of our opening hours/six days a week operation and shift patterns means we rarely have the opportunity to get everyone together, so we hold all staff meetings two or three times a year. It’s always tempting to pack the agenda full of briefings or training, as the opportunity to tell everyone the same thing at the same time is so time-efficient. However, like the Box Office awayday, the real benefit is the opportunity to tap into everyone’s knowledge, and take the time to listen to what they can tell me about ARC, not the other way round.

Outside of ARC, I’ve enjoyed visits to other cultural destinations this week including meetings at Gala Theatre in Durham and the fantastic redeveloped Middlesbrough Town Hall. On Friday I was at York Castle Museum, for a day reflecting on Arts Council England’s Creative Case for Diversity with colleagues from the Creative Case NORTH steering group. The afternoon session included chairs and board members, and I was struck by how unusual it was for executive and board members from different organisations to mix. I’m doing quite a lot of thinking about arts organisation boards at the moment, so it was useful to gain an insight into how other boards operate, with bonus time to reflect on this with ARC’s Chair, Lynne Snowball, as we shared a train home!