How the application of some simple principles can increase the success of culture hubs.
This week’s headline comes courtesy of the Style Council’s ‘Come to Milton Keynes.’ It’s fair to say that for many years, New Towns such as Milton Keynes, Thamesmead and Skelmersdale, were bywords for neglected concrete jungles, regularly associated with anti-social behaviour. Famously, Thamesmead was used as the backdrop to Stanley Kubrick’s masterpiece ‘A Clockwork Orange’. Less famously a current Muse partner once played in a 5-a-side football team called ‘Thamesmead Borstal’. They were so named to intimidate their more genteel opponents ‘early doors’. But thanks to culture, Thamesmead is set to change.
Culture hubs to the rescue
It was recently announced that this once unloved area of South East London will receive £1.5bn worth of investment. Crucially, there will also be a partnership with Bow Arts. It is designed to create a new artist’s community and put culture at the heart of the ambitious initiative. It will include a waterfront cafe and exhibition space, a day nursery and 40 studio spaces for artists. Described as a ‘culture hub’ or a ‘cultural quarter’, it’s hoped such focus will instil a sense of belonging and civic pride to the area. One need only look to Margate’s Turner Contemporary (featured above) to see how culture can transform an area.
Capturing cultural insights
We believe that these hopes aren’t entirely unfounded. This is due to the extensive research and strategic analysis we have conducted into what makes culture hubs attractive to residents and visitors, in collaboration with the Art Fund. We have identified a set of crucial components for ‘hub’ success. These include venue composition, secondary activities, strategic positioning and marketing. We know how culture hubs can meet the needs of visiting parties with mixed interests. We also understand the appeal of thematic hubs and cross arts offerings.
Our findings provide valuable insight into the behaviour of consumers around hubs, their propensity to ‘culture stack’ and the composition of their ideal ‘hub mix’. These learnings are particularly useful for marketers seeking to develop distinct propositions for their offering. They can also help them to identify the core messages that will motivate a visit to the area.
How Muse can help
Of course the key to success is to apply these principles rigorously and consistently. If you’d like to know more abut our insights or how Muse can help apply them contact James Page.