Sustaining Culture: Making the Case

Why Attend the Cultural Enterprises Conference?

Each year, more than 600 delegates and exhibitors gather with one aim – to generate a greater return to cultural organisations from commercial activities. You need to join them – but with limited travel and training budgets, you need to convince your boss!

We’ve put together some top tips to help you make the case for attending the Cultural Enterprises Conference and Trade Show, and demonstrate why it is such a strong investment of time and money – enabling you to generate even more sustainable income for your organisation.

The Conference will enable you to:
  • Grow your commercial knowledge with case studies, innovation, expertise and insights across a broad range of disciplines – last year, 94% of delegates gave our seminar programme the thumbs up
  • Make new connections across the sector to help address challenges, inspire new ideas and open up partnership possibilities for your organisation – last year 85% of delegates said the conference was great for networking, and we’ve introduced more opportunities to drive that number even higher
  • Source new products and suppliers at the Trade Show, designed especially for cultural retailers to keep your buying on trend – last year, 92% of delegates praised the Trade Show
How will it benefit your organisation?

When showcasing the benefits of the Conference to your manager and/or budget holder, focus specifically on what you will bring back to your organisation as a return on investment:

  • What themes and sessions have particular relevance to your work and goals?
  • Which sessions can teach you a skill and/or help your team overcome current or future challenges?
  • Are there any speakers your organisation would benefit from hearing or working with?
  • Can you make partnerships with other venues in your area?
  • How could increasing your involvement with the Association for Cultural Enterprises and its members benefit your organisation’s practices and growth?
Top Tips
  • Prepare a plan that shows who will cover your duties while you attend the conference
  • Look at how you might spread attendance across your team – for example, two colleagues could attend for one day each. Others might attend the Trade Show only, which is free
  • Show how you can keep costs to a minimum:
    – Book by 31 January 2020 for the best rates
    – Book accommodation and rail travel at discounted rates
    – Bring the boss along and get 10% off your booking
    – Check if your organisation is eligible for a subsidised place
  • Offer to deliver a short presentation to colleagues when you return, with key learnings from the Conference – this way everyone benefits from your attendance
  • Passion is one of the best persuasion techniques – let yours shine through!
  • And finally a tip specifically for museum staff – the Museums Action Plan created by the government as a result of the Mendoza Review, recommends that museums need to be better at generating independent income, including commercial income – attending Conference is a great way to show your organisation’s commitment to the action plan
What did delegates say about the 2019 conference?

I came away with a notebook full of ideas and whole host of new contacts in the sector

LH, London-based heritage attraction

I valued the variety of talks from a range of global institutions facing the same issues, and more detailed accounts of their solutions rather than the more general overviews which you sometimes get through seminars


All the seminars on what to do and not to do were superb advice for us as we’re setting up a retail and catering offer this year

VG, Welsh performing arts organisation

The networking, talks, and advice that was given were all very valuable – especially recommendations of which suppliers to use

DS, South-west based museum & art gallery

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