UK Theatre Resilience Conference: resilience as a broad term in cultural environments

Why resilience within your organisation applies to much more than flexible management thinking.

Our UK Sales manager, Patrick, attended the Resilience Conference in London. Not only did the keynotes convince Patrick of how resilience is a broad term within cultural settings, he also experienced first-hand resilience practice outside the conference. Here he shares his insights as to what it means to be resilient in a professional environment (and sometimes outside work too). 

Resilience in the street and on public transport 

My first test of resilience was actually getting the train to London from Bath. Traffic congestion in Bath city centre meant a quick “pivot” and sparked my decision to park up and walk quite a long distance to the train station. Getting my pre-paid tickets with a few minutes to spare was my next test. “Invalid card type” was the rather unhelpful response on the screen - even though I was using the card I bought the tickets with. I then tested my luck on another machine, but the same response was displayed.  I tried out a completely different card – because resilience also means problem solving - which the machine was finally happy with. Job done - on to the train. 

Presentations and personal talks about resilience: from AI to capital projects 

I have been lucky enough to be coming to UK Theatre’s Rose Street offices for a few years now. I have to say that I find UKT one of the most warm welcoming organisations I have encountered since I have started working in this sector. This inspiring and open atmosphere definitely contributed to a successful conference, where sharing honest personal experiences and hurdles met within other organisations were the focal point. 

The Keynote, delivered by Paul Anderson-Walsh from The Centre for Inclusive Leadership, set a really great tone for the day and provided a safe environment in which all participants could talk openly about resilience and what it meant to them. 

The wide ranging topics of the conference covered theatre buildings and capital projects, an overview of the issues that freelancers are facing in the sector, digital culture (from AI to back-end systems) and an overview of a recent Arts Council England report on resilience carried out by Golant Media Ventures and Audience Agency. 

The last speaker was Roddy Gauld, Chief Executive of Bolton Octagon, who provided a very honest description of his own personal resilience being tested when a project just seems to be pushing you to the limit. 

Like so many of these events, it’s not only enriching to hear what the speakers have to say but it’s also great to catch up with people across the industry. It is always pleasant to talk to people in a wide range of roles and to learn about their challenges and successes. After what felt like a very short day, I must say that there was a lot of content shared. I am looking forward to see more themes being expanded in the future. 

For now, I am leaving you with the key take-aways from the resilience conference: 

  • Never underestimate the complexity of a capital project. 
  • Just because the senior management team think they have a resilient company, does not necessarily mean the staff agree. 
  • Not every project is going to be successful and we have to develop a culture that accepts this and enables us to be iterative and adaptive. 
  • We have to find and maintain our own personal resilience in order to provide resilience to our organisation.