Update, Pledges to Change, No Refunds.

Quick Update

The relocation move this summer went well, and I am back at work on the sixth edition of Management and the Arts. However, the course of events in 2020 has necessitated going back and updating my revisions to the first few chapters in this new edition. My goal is the finish the book in early 2021, and if all goes according to schedule, the new edition should be out by early next summer. In the meantime, The Routledge Companion to Arts Management offers you a wide range of international perspectives on arts and cultural management. Print or ebook versions are available on the Routledge website or at Amazon.

This Month

Museums Pledge to Change

There was a concise article in a recent issue of Artnet News that examined how eight museums are doing with following up on their pledges to change and to “listen and learn.” As you will see, some museums have clear plans, while others are offering commitments that are a bit vague when it comes to diversity, equity, and inclusion. This article could be used as a jumping-off point for a class discussion about how cultural institutions are responding to social change. For arts managers, this article offers some insights about what can be done to move their organizations further and faster in their change processes.

Cincinnati Symphony’s DE&I Plan

For some perspective on DE&I and the performing arts, I thought the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra’s plan would be a worthwhile discussion topic too. In addition to their plan, here’s a link to the 2016 CSO Diversity Fellowship, which seems to be producing results.

Ticketing Practices and COVID

Lyn Gardener’s opinion piece from an early August posting in The Stage could be used to launch a discussion about how different arts organizations are responding to the uncertainty still being created by the coronavirus. Cultural organizations are starting to reopen and welcoming the public back, but flair ups of the virus are disrupting some of these restarts. The “no refunds, no exchanges” fine print on the majority of performing arts tickets is a reality we all accepted. However, Gardner asks if it’s time to reconsider that mindset. This topic can also be a lead-in for a more significant discussion about how arts organizations in your community are adapting to the coronavirus constraints.

Wrap Up

These next few months are certainly going to be memorable as we navigate the virus threat and try to assess how to move forward as arts managers and educators. I will try to find topics to share with you each month that can help advance the dialog about change and next steps.

Thanks again for subscribing to these postings.

Bill Byrnes


The George Floyd Protests Spurred Museums to Promise Change. Here’s What They’ve Actually Done So Far

Which institutions are following through on their commitments and which are dragging their feet?

Taylor Dafoe & Caroline Goldstein, August 14, 2020, news.artnet.com

In the wake of George Floyd’s murder and the subsequent protests, museums across the country began making pledges to initiate change within their walls. In emails and social media posts, institutions impugned racism and acknowledged their own complacency in systems that perpetuate it. They preached solidarity and inclusivity. They vowed to take a good hard look in the mirror, to reject silence, and to listen and learn.

Important though those statements were, many wanted even more to see action. Some institutions offered concrete plans, including, for example, staff trainings, inclusivity committees, and more diverse programming goals. But many also appeared content to rely on platitudes, or only delivered tangible plans after being called out for their passivity.

Link to the full article:


Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Action Plan

From the CSO Website:

In 2019 the CSO developed and adopted a ten-year strategic plan. At the core of this plan is a set of goals and objectives to further its existing Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DE&I) initiatives going forward.

In May 2020, the realities of systemic inequity, injustice and racism in America were once again brought to the forefront by the murder of George Floyd. In this landscape, the CSO is prioritizing and accelerating its DE&I work.

The CSO has developed and is implementing a concise DE&I Action Plan to focus and guide the organization in the coming 12 months. This short-term Action Plan is designed to complement and coalesce with the longer-term strategic plan.

As the Action Plan is refined it will include metrics to measure progress and ensure accountability across the organization.

Link to the DEI plan:



Covid-19 has exposed flaws in ticketing practices – it’s time for a rethink

OPINION, AUG 3, 2020 BY LYN GARDNER, The Stage – UK – https://www.thestage.co.uk/

Now is an ideal moment for theatre to ditch outdated models and consider offering audiences refunds and exchanges, says Lyn Gardner

Here’s something I’ve long thought strange. When I book a holiday six months or a year in advance, I pay a deposit but don’t need to pay the balance until just a few weeks before. However, when I buy theatre tickets – even more than a year in advance – I pay in full at the point of booking and tickets are non-exchangeable and non-refundable.

Over the years, like many other theatregoers, I have faced situations in which serious illness or family emergency have made tickets booked in advance unusable.

Smaller venues are often understanding that the unexpected does happen, but, like many, I have discovered to my cost that there is often no comeback as far as the wider theatre industry is concerned even with extreme situations such as a death. The small print holds firm.

Link to the full article: