by Flying Geese Consultant, Beckie Smith

Screen shot of Culture in Common website home page


Skimstone Arts is an inclusive arts organisation based in Newcastle-upon-Tyne in Northeast England. Its mission is to support diverse artists, people and communities at risk of social isolation to create work with, for and about the world that matters to them.

What did we do?

We started with a board and management away day where we facilitated a number of exercises that focused on Leadership Models, Relationship Mapping, Skills Audits, Process Mapping, and an Organisational Health Check. We also facilitated activity that encouraged the team to review their current business and trading models. We progressed to exploring what future models might look like and the appropriateness of each one, and scoped strategic goals for the next three years.

Then, we brought the team together for another away day, where we facilitated sessions that scoped strategic goals for the next three years. These strategic goals led to the development of a number of audience focused development programmes.

We created programmes that catered for first time audiences, but also enabled existing audiences to develop their relationship so they engaged with a greater variety of work.

Key strategies that we developed included:

  • Core programme – taking forward the most successful and promising strands of existing activity, evolving them into something future proof.
  • Digital programme – using the latest examples of best practice, developing audiences so that those who choose not to visit you in person still become part of the key audiences.
  • Partnership programme – drawing from the stakeholder research, identifying key partners to collaborate with.
  • Community curated programme – using external market and stakeholder research to identify co-creation opportunities with community groups, giving local residents a sense of ownership, pride and shared investment in the organisation.
  • Let’s Create programme – developing a programme directly in line with Arts Council England’s Let’s Create strategy, that enabled communities to develop their creativity, become more deeply engaged with culture and see Skimstone Arts contribute to the creative and cultural progression of the country.

With the strategic goals, programme and offer now outlined we identify the resources needed to make each one a reality.

Legacy and Impact

Our strategic recommendations helped Skimstone to understand where they could make immediate changes to make the most of some quick win opportunities, as well as make some longer-term considerations that would build on their strengths and take them to a resilient future. Longer term, our work paved a roadmap of strategic organisational development that aligned them with Arts Council England’s Let’s Create strategy, become more connected with its participants, and know that they had a resilient infrastructure.