4 life lessons from leading creative entrepreneurs

Here’s what local and international leaders in the arts and cultural industries have learned along the way - by Brooke Boland.

So much of what we learn in the arts comes from doing –  which is why conferences and events such as the recent REMIX Academy Perth are invaluable, offering an opportunity for creatives to come together to share their successes and the lessons they’ve learned along the way. 

But if you didn’t make it to Perth for the second iteration of REMIX Academy Perth – and many didn’t as it sold out quickly –  we’ve got you covered. 

ArtsHub asked Henry Boston, Executive Director of the Chamber of Arts and Culture WA for his top four key takeaways from the conference, which in 2018 explored the themes of cultural tourism, space activation, and the evolution of new platforms for telling stories.

1. HAVE A CLARITY OF VISION AND REMAIN TRUE TO IT. KNOW WHY THE ORGANISATION EXISTS AND NOT JUST WHAT IT DOES.

Robbie Brammall, Director of Marketing and Communications, MONA, said one of the keys to the museum’s success is its clear and authentic brand identity. 

‘David Walsh, who founded MONA with a theme of Sex and Death, offered Brammel this advice when he hired him, “Fail if you have to. Upset people if you can. Just don’t let MONA drift to the middle.” Subsequently everything has been about being a disruptor that challenges the audience,’ said Boston.

This emphasis on clarity and remembering why the organisation exists continued in the observations of Time Out CEO Michael Rodrigues. During his talk at REMIX Academy Perth, Rodrigues said that while most organisations can tell you what they do, they can’t always tell you why they do it.

‘Knowing why you exist helps you to stay true to your identity. Time Out was created to encourage people to go out and enjoy the world.  It has diversified its business but remained true to the purpose,’ said Boston.  

‘Rodrigues gave the example of Time Out Market in Lisbon, a food hall started in 2014 where everything has been chosen, tasted and tested (with four or five stars, and not one star less) by an independent panel of city experts: Time Out’s own journalists and critics.’  

Another lesson here is in audience development and brand awareness: ‘be aware of the difference between impact and reach. The deeper the engagement the greater the impact.’

2. BE AUTHENTIC IN ALL THAT YOU DO AND TAKE ON, AMBITIOUS IN WHAT YOU WANT TO ACHIEVE AND ASPIRATIONAL IN FUTURE PLANNING.  

‘Authenticity, ambition, and aspiration were common themes throughout the conference,’ said Boston.  

Amanda Morrison, head of independent film and TV producer Komixx Entertainment’s Asia Pacific office based in Perth, observed that authenticity is the key when developing online content for a particular market. 

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