How can culture venues reopen?

How can culture venues reopen? Well, after 109 days, museums, galleries and cinemas will be doing just that.

Whether you think this is too soon or not (we're inclined to think it is...149 deaths in the last 24 hours at the time of writing), there are hundreds of venues who likely feel they simply have no choice. In a capitalist society, the debate between opening and bringing in some revenue vs staying closed indefinitely was actually never really a debate at all.

Arts and culture organisations are now being forced to make impossible decisions, and so our purpose at Crystallised is to be useful.

To help answer the question "how can culture venues reopen?" we've dipped into the data we're collecting from our ongoing Does Culture Matter research project.

How can culture venues reopen?

Here we recommend three areas of focus for organisations reopening this summer.

1. Safety first

Across all age groups and demographics, audiences are cautious. Collectively, the country (the world, in fact) has been through (and continues to exist in) an incredible trauma.

When we ask how safe people would feel in a variety of locations* our Does Culture Matter data shows a moderate unease about galleries or museums, and a significant unease about theatres, cinemas and concerts.

The % of respondents who say they would feel safe or very safe in each of the locations detailed

Over the weeks since Does Culture Matter began, we've talked with audiences about what might make them feel safer in these locations.

Primary among audience concerns was health and safety. This includes:

✅ 2m social distancing

✅ Hand sanitiser stations at every entrance and exit with "hand sanitiser dispensed to every visitor by a staff member" being particularly well received with audiences

✅ Face masks for staff

✅ Visibly increased cleaning

✅ Contactless payments

✅ Using outside space where possible

✅ Limiting travel or use of public transport

What else can you do?

💡 Think creatively about how you communicate social distancing. Everyone should stay at 1.5 Danny DeVito's distance from each other.

Put the safety of your staff and communities first

2. Show, tell and listen

If you feel like you're repeating yourself as a marketer, then it's very likely your audience are only just starting to pay attention.

Be radically transparent and regularly tell your audiences what you're doing and why. This might include:

✅ How are you managing visitor numbers and flow of visitors around your event or venue?

✅ Are you reducing your visitor capacity and if so, by how much?

✅ What is your revised cleaning regime?

✅ How are you protecting your staff?

✅ What happens if social distancing is breached?

Make sure you have clear, simple ways for audiences to ask questions and raise concerns. Get your management out on the floor and ensure you're behaving like a listening organisation.

What else can you do?

As well as telling your audience, with social media posts, a blog, a reopening media statement, in-venue posters/digital screens and through your front of house teams; show them, with video.

Viewers retain 95% of a message when it's via a video versus 10% when it's written.

💡 Create short videos that will normalise the new way your venue or event will now work

💡 Work with (i.e. pay) influencers in your demographic to do the same

Show audiences what you're doing and be transparent (video stat from Insivia)

3. Hyper-local and specific

Audiences have been sharing their opinions on a vast range of topics with us since March. Over 6,000 pieces of data are currently being poured over by our team.

Here, we've identified three things which might spark some thoughts. There is an opportunity here to rethink, redesign and rebuild.

✅ 85% of people would like to see arts and culture activities happening in their areas or neighbourhoods. So, could this be a chance to rethink where your activity is delivered?

✅ 89% of people would be happy to book specific time slots for arts and culture events or activities. So, can you adopt scheduling to manage footfall and reassure audiences?

✅ 96% of people say a good review from a person they trust is in their top 3 considerations before attending an event or venue. So, how can you hone in on the marketing tactics that reassure your audiences?

Reassuring your audiences is important, this is a scary and traumatic time

Have questions? Get in touch with us on social @CrystallisedUK.


Series of statistics on a cultural reopening

*locations we ask about in Does Culture Matter: cinemas, theatres, galleries, museums, libraries, parks, gardens, sporting events, gigs and concerts.