Case Study: Whitstable Biennale

Case Study: Whitstable Biennale

Whitstable Biennale is a festival of performance, film and sound, taking place every two years on the Kent coast. The charity applied to be part of the Culture Change programme in the context of a number of key challenges it was facing; namely being awarded National Portfolio status by Arts Council England which enabled the team to think longer term about the festival; and with this, how it would incorporate a wider geographic reach to include activity in the Dartford area. The charity’s objectives for the Culture Change programme were to gain a vision of what the organisations might look like in the future and to plan how best to maintain financial viability longer term.

"Honing down to specifics uncovered some nice surprises about our values." Catherine Herbert, Deputy Director

The programme supported the development of a fundraising plan which explored three key areas of development. The focus of the project was specifically about generating corporate support for the festival. Through the workshop with staff and Trustees, the organisation developed a strategy on their ethical positioning. They considered like-minded businesses, specialists, and those which represented less-risk to the organisation. Alongside this, they were able to explore new organisations within their extended geographic remit. 

Catherine Herbert, Deputy Director of the Biennale said “Culture Change was strategic but also practical, we had open discussions and moved forwards a culture of fundraising within the organisation”. Through the development of a practical toolkit, the team were able to move forwards quickly and have been able to host events for associated brands; developing the number of businesses engaging with the festival; and have started looking at strategic support around a potential capital project to begin in 2020. 

Whitstable Biennale will continue to use the framework established by Culture Change to move forwards with their fundraising journey. Herbert acknowledges the process provided recognition of the time needed to create real change and the importance of Trustees engaging with the process to think about the longer-term future. 

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