The Public Art Think Tank 








ixia – National Public Art Think Tank

Brief for Consultancy Support in Organisational Development

Summary

ixia has been awarded funding from Arts Council England for organisational development. We are seeking an effective and innovative consultant to support us in the following ways in 2022:

  • To review our 2022 work programme and ensure it is fit for purpose

  • To support us in reviewing our charitable vision, mission and values

  • To support us in creating a robust road map towards organisation sustainability to include Board diversification and business planning

Introduction

ixia has an influential history as a national (England) public art think tank and advisory body. Like many arts organisations, in 2015 ixia lost core Arts Council funding as a result of the national cuts to arts provision and to sector support organisations. The small paid staff team could no longer be funded, but ixia continued to provide more limited support to the public art sector through activity, such as a biannual national public art survey and website Public Art Online.

In September 2019 ixia’s newly extended board embarked on a process to appraise ixia’s position considering its history, purpose and future in relation to the changing nature and challenges of the sector. Current Board of Director biographies are provided here.

Current Context

In 2022, ixia is a charitable organisation with a refreshed board. It brings together a group of people who are passionate and knowledgeable about public art and who understand the need and importance for an independent organisation in the UK that can advocate for the broader public art sector. This issue has become even more urgent given key organisations within the sector have now closed. There is a risk that important knowledge and developments made over the last 20 years may be lost. The debate around memorialisation, representation and decommissioning of public sculpture, sparked by Black Lives Matter, further demonstrates the need for an independent organisation to advise and create space for critical debate around these sensitive issues as well as to share and guide best practice.

Through a SWOT analysis carried out in 2020/21, it is clear that whilst there are organisations that focus on specific areas of public art (such as design, the built environment, socially engaged practice or the role of the curator/producer), ixia has historically supported a breadth of roles and practices, including the artists position, role of the commissioner and more technical areas (such as public art and the planning system, public art and Section 106 and legal guidance), which are not reflected in any other programmes. In particular, the planning system remains a key source of funding and investment into the public art sector yet there are no national resources to guide this, nor to guide the growing move to engage local communities in the development of public art projects as a key part of placemaking.

ixia’s resources including Public Art Online are now in need of updating and unable to be properly maintained due to the loss of funding. They are still, however, frequently accessed by professionals seeking reputable information around commissioning and the planning system, demonstrating the lack of accurate information available and the need for this resource to exist and be properly maintained.

Our SWOT analysis demonstrated the vital role ixia can still play in the public art sector and wider cultural and place-shaping environment. We have identified key areas that the organisation could capitalise on and provide a service.

Arts Council Funded Programme

The ixia Board has secured a small grant which will allow us to take steps towards our long-term plan to reactivate a public art think tank and resource. Core activities will include:

  • Carrying out and analysing a Sector Survey to assess demand and specific need for ixia, and to guide future planning

  • Carrying out artist/freelancer forums to gather further feedback and assess demand

  • Convening stakeholder playback forums to test findings and refine ambitions

  • Securing consultancy (this brief) to:
  1. Help refresh ixia’s vision and mission in response to the findings from the survey and forums
  2. Support the diversification of the board through new recruitment
  3. Draw up a robust organisational road map that will lead to ixia becoming sustainable, with active capacity once more

Prior to applying for this award, we engaged with key stakeholders across different areas of this interconnected field including the following who have indicated strong interest in this work and in future partnering:

  • Town & Country Planning Association

  • Public Practice

  • Visual Arts Alliance/CVAN

  • a-n

  • GLA Culture Team

  • Local Government Association

  • Arts Council England

  • Other sector groups such as Arts and Place, PSSA and Public Art Network (now ceased)


Sustainability / Our Challenge 

ixia is caught in the bind of many small charities: big ambitions, low capacity, and minimal funds. With no paid staff, and trustees’ limited time, we need to find a way to secure capacity to allow the organisation to again develop momentum and for some specific initiatives to be implemented. Key to this is to identify a mixed-economy approach to business planning and fundraising.

What we are seeking

We anticipate needing approximately 8-12 days’ work with us between March-November (TBC) 2022 to provide targeted consultancy advice within our work programme.

You will be a professional with expertise in some or all of the following areas:

  • Charitable/organisational sustainability – You will have experience supporting small organisations (especially charities/not for profits) to grow and succeed and in the tangible actions needed to consolidate and achieve ambitions.

  • Business Planning – You will have business planning experience to support us in developing a future roadmap.

  • The arts/cultural/regeneration sectors – You will have an understanding of the cultural sector/sector support organisations.

  • Fundraising and Partnerships – You will have expertise in fundraising and partnership development to inform thinking about how we can plan ahead.

  • Change-making process/Organisational Change – You will be able to assess our context quickly in order to focus with us on key actions and deliverables that will support our ambitions, in our timeline.

  • Diversity, equity and inclusion - you will have some expertise in how to inform changes in the board and future planning for diversification, inclusivity and equitable practice as an organisation


How to Apply

Please submit the following by COP March 16th 2022 for consideration by the trustees: 

  • A CV summary, max 2 sides A4 highlighting your most relevant experience

  • One page max to outline how you meet our criteria, indicating why you are interested to work with us and what you can offer

  • Your day rate (noting our Arts Council funding for this work is £5000 maximum)

  • Names and contact details of two recent & relevant client references

  • Please indicate if you can support all areas of our brief or wish to limit your expression of interest to specific areas that best match your expertise. We may elect to appoint more than one consultant to support specific areas of our work or one consultant/organisation that can fulfil all our needs (which is preferable) at this time.

We expect to hold interviews with shortlisted applicants in late March 2022 (provisionally March 23/24/25) 

If you require further information or have any questions concerning the brief please email: ixiapublicart@gmail.com noting the email is not checked on a daily basis and we will get back to you asap.