Newport, 13-14 March 2024

2024 Programme

Wednesday 13 March 2024

08.15 Registration & Trade Show Open

A morning dedicated to exploring the Trade Show. Browse a wide range of exhibitors and join the Showcase Sessions for retail trends and insights.

Discover new ideas and products that will help you capture that vital secondary spend, including up and coming designer makers and specialist consultancy services.

Dog & Dome
Cured – Luxury Concrete Goods
08.45-09.00 Newcomers Welcome

Showcase Stage

Gordon Morrison, CEO, Association for Cultural Enterprises
Take this opportunity to meet our CEO, Gordon Morrison as he welcomes new delegates to the Conference and Trade Show. This is an opportunity to better understand how to make the most of your Conference experience and to hear from Gordon about what to expect from our showpiece event.

09.00-09.30 Cultural Enterprises Retail Trend Report 2024

Showcase Stage

Fi Anderson, Creative Development Manager, Association for Cultural Enterprises
This session will look at key industry trends for the year ahead, with predictions for consumer behaviour, colour trends, what’s here to stay and how you can best interpret these in your shop. 

Fi Anderson

09.35-10.05 Creating Bespoke: Spotting Trends and Working with Makers

Showcase Stage

Allison Everett, Buying & Retail Manager, Fruitmarket Gallery
Learn how to spot upcoming trends, find makers, and support them in creating fresh design for your shop. By launching a makers’ mentorship programme, the Fruitmarket team learned how valuable developing bespoke lines was to the shop’s audience and identity. By extending Fruitmarket’s ‘put the artist at the centre of what we do’ mantra into the shop a meaningful and profitable space was created to support the gallery and its artists.

Allison Everett

10.10-10.40 Regenerative Retail: Creating a Healthy Business Model

Showcase Stage

Yolande Sep, Consultant
Regenerative retail is about creating better conditions for the environment and for the community. It’s time to step up and heal the damage that’s already been done! Yolande will explain how to create a healthy business model for you and the environment with products that align with the mission of your venue.

10.40-11.00 Refreshments and Trade Show
11.00-11.30 Sustainability on Track: Eco Friendly Clothing at North Yorkshire Moors Railway
Yolande Sep

Showcase Stage

Nigel Frost, Commercial Director, Kingfisher Giftwear
This session will explore the process of sourcing, manufacturing and retailing sustainable clothing at North Yorkshire Moors Railway, highlighting the challenges encountered along the way and the innovative solutions implemented. Based on this case study, Nigel will discuss strategies for effective change management, stakeholder engagement, and the integration of sustainability into core business operations.

Nigel Frost

12.00-12.30 Your Online Shop and Physical Shop: Why They Need Each Other More Than Ever

Showcase Stage

Rod Barlow, CEO, Rod Barlow Digital Consultancy
This session will look at the relationship between the online and physical shop and how they support each other using technology to drive a seamless shopping experience. Rod will explain the leading technology that allows cross-channel shopping, how to manage customer expectations, the omnichannel halo effect, and how to use artificial intelligence to support sales growth.

Rod Barlow

12.30-13.30 Lunch and Trade Show
13.30-14.00 Welcome to Conference

Main Stage

Caroline Brown, Chair of Trustees, Association for Cultural Enterprises & Director of Commercial Services, British Library

Gordon Morrison, Chief Executive, Association for Cultural Enterprises

Gordon Morrison
Caroline Brown
14.00-14.45 Keynote Address

Main Stage

Ann Morrow Johnson, Executive Portfolio Producer, Walt Disney Imagineering

Drawing on her experience leading the development of guest experiences around the world for Disney Parks & Resorts, Ann Morrow will share insights and practical tips on the power of experiential storytelling to connect with audiences.

Ann Morrow Johnson

14.55-15.40 Choice of sessions:

Main Stage

Selling Your Space: How to Maximise Your Website to Support Commercial Hires

Hayley Avron & James Coleman, Supercool
Discover how to elevate your commercial hires offer on your website by selling the experience, learning how to stand out from the competition, and how to tell compelling stories that show what makes your space unique. The goal is to create compelling user journeys that deliver leads, conversations and ultimately convert into sales.

Breakout 1

Finding Hidden Treasure: Reinventing Retail at Russborough

Teresa Crowley, Head of Strategic Planning & Development, Alfred Beit Foundation Teresa will explain how the retail offer at Russborough House has become an integral part of the visitor experience as well as contributing significantly to income. Products have been carefully curated to reflect the mission, collection and place, resulting in a 300% increase in shop turnover within the first year of trading. Learn how to appeal to a wide variety of customers while remaining true to the ethos and spirit of your venue.

Breakout 2

Using Smart Phones to Increase Revenue and Engagement

Simon Turtle, Chief Product & Sales Officer, Dapper Labs Ltd
Learn how to use smart devices to enhance visitor experience and drive revenue, while still allowing the in-person experience to speak for itself. Simon will examine the possibilities including the creation of your own visitor app, utilising AI and creating compelling user journey that deliver relevant and personalised content at the right time and place.

Showcase Stage

Practical Neuroeconomics and Visitor Behaviour

Mike Lever, Founder & Principal Trainer, Lever Development
Neuroeconomics helps us to understand the factors that influence an adult’s decision to make a purchase. In this interactive session, Mike will explore how to influence your visitors’ decision making process, and how you can do this at zero cost.

15.40-16.10 Refreshments and Trade Show
16.10-16.55 Choice of sessions:

Main Stage

The Hurdles of Creating the World’s First Amazement Park and How to Overcome Them

Graham MacVoy, Founder, Wake the Tiger
Wake The Tiger is the world’s first Amazement Park®, an immersive art experience that has captivated audiences of all ages and backgrounds since its launch in July 2022. With over 175,000 tickets sold and a turnover of £3 million in less than 10 months, this groundbreaking attraction has become a symbol of creativity and amazement for Bristol. This session will explore the unprecedented challenges faced by the team and strategies used to overcome them.

Breakout 1

Building an Audience-Led Book Range in Retail

Genevieve Sioka, Publishing & Book Manager, National Trust
This session will discuss the methodology used to buy a book range reflective of your audience needs. It will cover publishing, partnerships, storytelling, range planning and promotion. With insights from the National Trust and trend analysis of the wider books business, you’ll leave this session inspired to further develop your own audience-led books offer.

Breakout 2

The Role of the Sustainable Stately Home in the 21st Century

Sarah McLeod, CEO, Wentworth Woodhouse
Over the next two decades the Wentworth Woodhouse Preservation Trust (WWPT) will deliver a £200m regeneration project at the Grade I Listed site in Rotherham, an area of high economic and social deprivation. WWPT creates opportunities for income generation, skills training, youth engagement and job creation in partnership with the film industry. Its YouTube channel features over 150 films, creating paid work for young people as well as a digital archive and advertising income.

Showcase Stage

Think BIG: How Giant Welsh Cakes Saved Our Site!

Rosie Eastwood, Commercial Marketing Officer, Amguedda Cymru – Museum Wales
Rosie will explain how a big idea at the Big Pit Museum, which drew on the heritage of the site, helped transform an unloved, unused space into a thriving, profitable enterprise. Beyond the sweet wins, Rosie will share why every museum, gallery and heritage site should encourage their marketing officers to do work experience with their commercial team!

17.00-17.45 Choice of sessions:

Main Stage

In conversation with Grace Chan, Chief Operating Officer, English National Ballet

Hosted by Julie Molloy, Consultant, The Revels Office
Join us in conversation with two leaders of the cultural sector, sharing their experiences and perspectives on governance and commercial challenges. Through the lens of her experience at English National Ballet, Grace Chan will talk to Julie Molloy (ex Managing Director, National Gallery Global) about the challenges of building a new space from scratch with commerce in mind and embracing the artistic purpose of an organisation while planning commercial goals. They will look at the importance of managing team changes early on as a business and responding to changing market needs, and being brave enough to say no to new business.

Breakout 1

Creative People in Commercial Teams

Conall Borowski, Head of Commercial Development, Little Angel Theatre
Enterprise requires creative solutions to problems. Cultural institutions are full of creative people. How do these things work together? Using the development framework of a successful Birthday Party package this session will take an alternative look at approaching enterprising opportunities, with tips on how to best utilise creative people to be responsive to demand, develop products and generate revenue.

Breakout 2

Panel: Is the Price Right? The Dilemma of Ticketing at Cultural Institutions

Sarah Marfleet, Senior Consultant, The Revels Office (Chair); Rosie Baker, Director of Commercial Operations, Foundling Museum; Trudie Cole, Head of Programming & Visitor Engagement, National Museum of the Royal Navy; Charles McKenzie, Head of Income Development, Brighton & Hove Museums; Katharine Walker, Head of Strategy & Business Planning, Tate
With the increasing cost of living and shifts in audience strategies, questions about pricing are proving hard to settle. How can a museum be accessible and maximise revenue? Should the guest experience come before commercial opportunities? Looking at current approaches and pricing models such as dynamic pricing, community discounts and “pay if and what you can” schemes, as well as the value of volume versus yield, our expert panel will discuss the ongoing challenge of balancing accessibility with financial viability.

Showcase Stage

Big Summer or Big Risk? Planning an All New Events Programme

Katie Mitchell, Interim Head of Operations, Tullie House Museum & Art Gallery
Putting 11 giant inflatables in an Art Gallery, what could go wrong… but what could also go right? In this session Katie will take you through the process of planning an event programme the like of which Tullie House had never seen before, along with the outcomes, success and challenges faced along the way.

18.00-19.30 Welcome Drinks

Come and enjoy a complimentary drink on us and meet your fellow delegates, exhibitors and speakers – book here.

19.30-22.00 Street Food Party

Join us after the drinks for our Street Food Party. No need to make your own plans for dinner, simply carry on the party with some delicious food in great company at this fun event – book here.

Thursday 14 March 2024

09.00-09.10 Recap of Day 1 and Welcome to Day 2

Main Stage

Gordon Morrison, CEO, Association for Cultural Enterprises
Join our CEO bright and early as Gordon reflects on his Conference experience so far and looks ahead to some of the highlights ahead on Day Two. Joining Gordon on stage will be tourism expert Simon Jones, Managing Director of Navigate, who will detail why the themes being discussed at this Conference are more important than ever before for anyone connected to the tourism industry.

09.10-10.00 Sector Leaders Panel

Main Stage

Caroline Brown, Director of Commercial Services, British Library; Bob Downie, Chief Executive, Royal Yacht Britannia Trust; Catherine Flanagan, CEO, AVEA; Zak Mensah, Co-CEO, Birmingham Museums Trust
Join the debate with some of the foremost leaders in the sector from across the UK, as they discuss the key challenges facing cultural organisations of all sizes, and the steps these leaders are taking to ensure their organisations remain resilient and maximise the opportunities that the season ahead will present.

10.00-10.30 Choice of sessions:

Main Stage

Commercial Evolution: How to Grow and Diversify Revenue in Uncertain Times

Anthony Rawlins, CEO, Navigate
Navigate is a consultancy shaping success stories for small and large heritage, culture and nature brands. Under Anthony’s leadership, Navigate has developed a specialism in steering brands’ purpose and translating it into revenue and positive impact. In this session, Anthony will share critical information with the sector to help charter the best route during these uncertain times. He will provide guidance on how to create rapid iterations of your organisation that will future-proof and maximise success in 2024 and onwards. Organisations that reimagine themselves in this way can thrive, those who don’t, may not be here in three years time.

Showcase Stage

Cultural Enterprises Retail Trend Report 2024

Fi Anderson, Creative Development Manager, Association for Cultural Enterprises
This session will look at key industry trends for the year ahead, with predictions for consumer behaviour, colour trends, what’s here to stay and how you can best interpret these in your shop. 

10.30-11.00 Refreshments & Trade Show
11.00-11.45 Choice of sessions:

Main Stage

Banishing the Boring: A Front of House Case Study

Amy Akino-Wittering, Head of Operations & Commercial, and Kirsty Thomson, Senior Operations & Commercial Manager, Young V&A Discover how a new approach to recruiting, inducting and managing the Front of House team helped create the world’s most joyful museum experience, designed entirely with and for children. From staffing models to local outreach and recruitment, CV surgeries and an intensive tailored induction, hear about the successes and challenges of creating this new operation.

Amy Akino-Wittering
Kirsty Thomson

Breakout 1

Entry Product Ladders: Why They Should Go Down as Well as Up

Toby Batchelor, Head of Commerce, British Motor Museum
In 2019 the British Motor Museum had one set of ticket products and prices – Adult, Concession and Child. The only complexity was the opportunity to donate and receive an annual pass. Fast forward to 2023 and discover an entry product ladder with free events, Membership, Premium Membership, advance booking discounts, quiz nights, ‘Evening With’ events, unplugged style talks among the cars, an annual ‘Museum on the Move’ Members event and much more. Hear about the impact on footfall and visibility and the lessons learned along the way.

Breakout 2

Chrysler Museum of Art: Influencing from the Front Line

Colleen Higginbotham, Deputy Director for Visitor Experience, Chrysler Museum of Art
Front line employees are essential to their institutions and have a huge impact on visitor experience, yet often feel their voices are not heard in their organisations. Colleen will discuss strategies to influence museum leaders, join in strategic discussions, create a museum culture where service is valued, and improve the experience for both museum visitors and the front line team.

Showcase Stage

11.00-11.30 Working with Neurodivergence in Retail Teams

Holly Burrows, Commercial Manager, The Cartoon Museum
J’adore was the Cartoon Museum’s first (autistic) Young Cartoonist in Residence. He was fully immersed in life at the Museum, with opportunities to sell his work in the shop. Through this experience we recognised the barriers that anyone (not just people with neurodiversity) face in trying to get their work ready for retail and how breaking down these barriers opens up opportunities for all. If we are to be a more diverse sector, it’s crucial we consider this in every aspect of our work – including who we buy from to stock our shops and the people we work with daily.

Showcase Stage

11.30-12.00 eCommerce 101: Five Simple Questions to Grow Your Online Sales

Katherine Brown, Tech Champion for eCommerce, Digital Culture Network
This session will share a simple way of approaching your online sales and identifying opportunities for growth. Aimed at organisations both small and large, you will take away a practical framework that will help demystify eCommerce and highlight your route to sales growth.

12.00-12.45 Choice of sessions:

Main Stage

Flying Scotsman Stories: How Commercial Can Lead a Museum Project

Amy Harbour, Head of Licensing & Commercial Partnerships and Sarah Ottewill, Head of B&M, Science Museum Group
2023 was the 100th anniversary of Flying Scotsman, the world’s most famous steam locomotive. The centenary was the first project in the Science Museum Group to be led and delivered by the commercial department – and it’s been a resounding success! Discover how to get a museum object into Hello magazine, how to sell out your first print run of books just in time for Christmas (not recommended), and how to convert brand licensees into event sponsors. This session will provide insights on how to capitalise on anniversary events and take risks.

Breakout 1

Time is of the Essence: Why You Should Transform Your Guest Experience in 2024

Julie Molloy, Consultant, The Revels Office
As arts organisations, time is a commodity we need – our audience’s time to relate to us, learn from us and create memories with us. Plus our own time – to think clearly, align our energy and ambitions, and build strong foundations for the future. The solution to securing this time is to focus your strategy around the experience you offer. Julie will explain how to harness the essence of your organisation and root this across everything you do.

Breakout 2

Back to Basics: Making a Profit from In-house Catering

Emma Allen, Head of Commercial Services, National Museum of the Royal Navy
NMRN operates in-house visitor catering across five sites and pre-pandemic was making a loss. The team had to go back to basics to operate efficiently and generate a profit. Emma will discuss how to create and implement a successful strategy by going back to basics, including quick wins for organisations with limited resource. In-house catering needn’t be daunting!

Showcase Stage

Putting Product Design at the Centre of Small Run, Sustainable Product Development

Rob Lees, Director, Heritage Digital
Wouldn’t it be great it you could order a small range of high-quality products to support a temporary exhibition opening in two weeks’ time? And even better if you could order very small runs of UK-made, sustainably-sourced products and then re-stock only the fast-selling lines. Rob will use case studies to examine the challenges that this poses for suppliers and will show some of the recent advances that have brought this “holy grail” closer to reality.

12.45-13.50 Lunch and Trade Show
13.50-14.35 Choice of sessions:

Main Stage

AI: From Time Management to Time Travel

Dean Johnson, Design, Technology & Innovation Consultant, Activrightbrain
2023 brought AI chaos. 2024 is all about the calm after the storm. Take a step back from the jargon to understand the benefits – and the pitfalls – of integrating Artificial Intelligence into your team and your workflow, via Dean Johnson’s journey of creative discovery.

Breakout 1

Taking Venue Sales Back In House: Learnings and Future Plans

Kari Coghill, Director – Innovation Projects, and Clare Short, Head of Enterprise, Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh
Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh took venue sales back in house post-Covid. Their catering partner had been responsible for retail, catering and the full hospitality offer, from selling the venue to event design and operational delivery. Discover why the team decided to go down this route, pros and cons, learnings and plans.

Breakout 2

Working Towards a Self Sustainable Business Model

Olivia Horner, Director of Commercial Operations, Chatham Historic Dockyard Trust
Chatham Historic Dockyard Trust’s entrepreneurial business model comprises up to nine income streams, ranging from rope making to an historic film location, museum, residential and commercially let estate as well as hospitality venue and pro-active fundraiser. Olivia will explain how being a mixed-use estate has enabled the charity to become self sustainable, the challenges which come with managing a mixed heritage estate, as well as an overview of the business model and future plans.

Showcase Stage

Reinterpreting an Icon: New Public Tours at Big Ben

Abbie Fox-Smith, Director of Visitor Experience, and Thalia Webster, Visitor Operations Manager, UK Parliament
This session explores the new public tours of Big Ben, looking at the challenges of planning, designing and installing a new permanent exhibition in one of the world’s most iconic buildings in the middle of a global pandemic, and the journey to reopening. This talk will be particularly relevant to visitor experience managers.

15.00 Trade Show closes
14.45-15.30 Choice of sessions:

Main Stage

Content into Commerce: Tanks, YouTube and the Creator Economy

Nik Wyness, Head of Marketing, The Tank Museum
Discover how the Tank Museum is reaching a global audience of millions with quality, homemade educational video content, feeding an online ecosystem that now generates more than 25% of the museum’s turnover. Nik will share the blueprint that cultural venues can use to benefit from a 21st century means of delivering charitable benefit and raising funds in the Creator Economy.

Nik Wyness

Breakout 1

Sharing the Spotlight: Learnings for Heritage Venues from the Arts

Corey Bullock, Group Commercial Hire Manager, Amgueddfa Cymru-National Museum Wales & Julia Barry, Chief Executive, Sherman Theatre
A look behind the curtain into the positive practices of theatre and arts venues which museums and heritage venues could understudy – from visitor experience and operational excellence to audience data and language. Having moved into heritage after a decade in theatre, Corey will provide insights, learnings and observations on what museums can learn from the arts.

Breakout 2

Living Our Values: Creating the Team for the National Portrait Gallery

Jack Brill, Head of Visitor Operations (Windsor), Royal Collection Trust & Bala McAlinn, Director, Complete Works The Inspiring People project transformed the National Portrait Gallery, with a complete re-presentation of the Collection and a significant refurbishment of the building. A new Front of House team was required to launch the gallery and embody the NPG’s vision and values. NPG partnered with Complete Works to recruit and train the team, developing a Visitor Charter to underpin the work and ensure that NPG’s values were embraced by every member of staff and extended to all visitors.

15.40-16.25 Choice of sessions:

Main Stage

The ‘Lodgical’ Next Step: Diversifying Income Generation Through Accommodation Development

Lucy Hutchings, Commercial Operations Director, Leeds Castle Enterprises
Lucy will explain how Leeds Castle sought to recover post Covid through the development of their holiday accommodation portfolio, making the most of the staycation. This session will look at the design, build and installation of four new Lakeside Lodges launched in 2023, opening up the castle bedrooms on a B&B basis and plans for the future, as well as some of the lessons learnt along the way.

Breakout 1

Value and the Volunteer: Enhancing Visitor Experience

Samantha Potts, Head of Visitor Experience, and Georgia Sinclair, Volunteer Programme Manager, Royal Opera House
In 2022 the Royal Opera House embedded a new volunteer scheme that has increased commercial opportunities and enhanced visitor experience. Georgia and Sam will share the benefits and challenges of engaging volunteers alongside paid staff in FoH roles, the process of setting up the new scheme, lessons learned, and the value that good practice in volunteer management brings to visitors, staff and volunteers alike.

Breakout 2

Lilidorei – A Magical, Mysterious Village Full of Play

Victoria Watson, Strategic Head Catering, Retail & Hospitality, The Alnwick Garden & Matthew Henderson, Freelancer/Trustee
Lilidorei at The Alnwick Garden opened in May 2023 and centres around imaginative play, including the world’s biggest play structure. Hear how the idea was brought to life, and how immersive and creative retail and catering has been key to Lilidorei’s success. From troll snot ice cream to birthday parties, catering and seasonal change, learn how creative and immersive products can increase income, with some tips and tricks along the way.

Lilidorei at The Alnwick Garden
16.30-17.15 The Importance of Embedding Sustainability into Your Organisation

Main Stage

Andrea Nicholas, Chief Executive, Green Tourism (Chair); Flo Carr, Associate Director, Indigo Ltd; Nia Elias, Director of Business Development, Museum Wales; Ben Supple, Director of Engagement & Business Development, Royal Zoological Society of Scotland

This panel session will look at why it is so important to have sustainability embedded throughout your organisation’s strategic planning and operations. Cultural and heritage organisations are uniquely placed to lead by example in this area, and being able to demonstrate your eco credentials confidently and honestly is critical, not only to engage audiences but also to unlock funding. Featuring environmental sustainability experts and champions from within the sector, the panel will discuss economic challenges and opportunities around sustainability, and share what they are doing within their organisations to implement sustainable practices whilst meeting audience expectations. They will also share their top tips for practical steps you can put in place at your own organisation.

17.15-17.30 Closing Address

Main Stage

Caroline Brown, Chair, Association for Cultural Enterprises
Gordon Morrison, CEO, Association for Cultural Enterprises

Join our outgoing Chair Caroline Brown as she reflects on her nine years in the role, providing insights on her time as Chair during what has been a uniquely challenging period for the sector. Please stay with us as we say a special thank you to Caroline, pay tribute to her legacy and express our gratitude for her service.

18.30-00.00 Awards Dinner

The Awards Dinner is always a highlight of the Conference as we come together to celebrate success and have a great night! Conveniently held on site at ICC Wales, the evening will include a drinks reception, a sumptuous three course dinner and a disco as well as the presentation of the Cultural Enterprises Awardsbook here.

*All timings shown are subject to minor changes.

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