Way back in 2008, REMIX Co-founders Peter Tullin and Simon Cronshaw quit their day jobs in arts sponsorship to become hands-on creative entrepreneurs. Together they spotted the opportunity to capitalise upon the rise of e-commerce and a growing consumer demand for unique, artist-designed gifts and homeware. They launched CultureLabel.com, an online marketplace that brought together 800 of the world’s best museum stores, galleries, creative boutiques and artists. It was one of the first websites to sell art online from non-profit institutions.
CultureLabel partnered with hundreds of iconic creative and cultural brands. From Tate, Saatchi Gallery, Blur, V&A, New Museum, Southbank Centre, Tatty Devine, ICA, Design Museum, The Photographers’ Gallery, The Prodigy, Royal Opera House, Barbican, Andy Warhol Estate, National Theatre, Chateau Versaille and Royal Academy of Arts to artists such as Damien Hirst, Tracey Emin and Sir Peter Blake, plus emerging art talent from the likes of the Royal College of Arts. High profile brands including Amnesty International and Bestival commissioned CultureLabel to produce exclusive product collaborations.
Reaching over 250,000 visits in peak months, and securing investment from Venture Capital firms and angel investors, the site provided a win/win for the arts sector: handing up to 90% of revenues back to partners, encouraging best practice e-commerce strategies, and introducing new high street audiences to the best of the cultural and creative sectors.
Crucially, CultureLabel lived and breathed many of the principles we now explore at REMIX: finding innovative mechanisms for combining cultural assets and consumer trends; applying models from other industries to the non-profit creative sector; welcoming new audiences by rethinking the experience or interaction from the ground up; developing truly sustainable revenue streams; using latest technology and business model innovation to inspire change.
II.Thought Leadership, Books & Policy
Through their experience working as creative entrepreneurs and working close-up with museums, galleries and other non-profit arts organisations, Simon and Peter co-authored multiple books on creative entrepreneurship, which together have been downloaded over 30,000 times by arts professionals:
- Intelligent Naivety (2008), a handbook for creative entrepreneurs examining commercial opportunities for not-for-profit arts and culture organisations
- REMIX (2012), published by The Guardian as a trend forecast for the future of the creative industries
“Not only does ‘Intelligent Naivety’ recognise that there can be a fruitful marriage between culture and commerce but it provides excellent marriage guidance.”
– Marcel Knobil, Founder of Superbrands on Intelligent Naivety
Simon and Peter are also the authors of multiple research reports on creative entrepreneurship, examples of new business models and creative industries policy, including:
- Golf, Art & Spa Days (2014) for which REMIX received support from Nesta’s Digital R&D Fund to spend a year working with eight UK leading arts organisations to explore strategies for arts organisations to package cultural activities as experience gifts for a mainstream, high-street market
- The Big Ticket Questions (2016) examined how creative organisations can use technology to meet the evolving demands of customers, including the question of in-house versus third party platforms
- An Army of Superfans (2017) provided practical strategies for lifecycle marketing with arts audiences drawn from best practice in retail and e-commerce
REMIX has also been commissioned to develop public policy research and provide expert advice on the creative industries by leading government agencies and other organisations around the world. This includes a research report on opportunities for creative entrepreneurship and innovation for the City of London. The recommendations in this report were also adopted by the UK creative innovation agency Nesta in a national policy document that directly led to the creation of the first accelerator program for the arts in the UK. Other government clients include the City of Adelaide (developing a culture of co-working for creative entrepreneurs across the city); Department for Tourism, Culture and Sport, Ireland (cultural tourism recommendations); the Australia Council (workshop on the future of content creation and distribution in the performing arts in Australia); and Singapore Heritage Board (workshops on opportunities for creative entrepreneurship).
III.Working with Private Clients
Over the last decade for a wide range of private clients, Peter, Simon and the team have analysed and applied their global market intelligence to design strategies and interventions in the arts sector across these fields. For example, in Victoria REMIX recently designed and delivered a number of innovative projects to support business model development within and through the cultural sector: ACMI X, Australia’s first co-working space in a museum; StartSpace (State Library Victoria), a new hub to support early stage entrepreneurs; as well as initiating and supporting the development of Foundry658, an accelerator for the creative industries led by ACMI and State Library Victoria and funded by Creative Victoria. In Europe, REMIX designed and produced a three-year EU program supporting small-to-medium-sized cultural organisations in developing innovative new business models to create new employment through the exploitation of their digital cultural content. They were also commissioned by Arts Council England to guide 90 senior arts leaders and organisations in the UK (from small to large) through a 12-month program to design and implement new business models.
A full list of private clients and related case studies can be accessed online at REMIX Agency. They include Tate, NESTA, National Gallery, Google Arts & Culture, Arts Council England, British Council, City of London, School of Life, Festivals Adelaide, BFI, Serpentine Gallery, LVMH and the Ironbridge Gorge World Heritage Site. Among many highlights, REMIX developed the first ever commercial strategy for the UK Houses of Parliament and strategy work for the £193 million Library of Birmingham (visited by over 4 million people in its first year, making it the most visited cultural institution outside of London).
IV.2012: The birth of REMIX Summits
Whilst running CultureLabel and working for private clients, Peter and Simon quickly realised that opportunities to bring different sectors together to share ideas were few and far between. Many conferences existed for tech and business leaders, but the creative sector often tended to be sidelined or absent from these crucial discussions despite being such an important stakeholder.
REMIX Summits was imagined as an event to bring together pioneers from different industries to explore the future of culture, creative cities and the creative economy. They would be a forum where creative leaders from different sectors can exchange insights, ideas and work together towards common goals.
With founding partners Google, Bloomberg and The Guardian, REMIX London was born in 2012 as an experiment to bring 250 of the brightest minds from across culture, technology, business, public policy and education together at Bloomberg’s European headquarters to discuss some of the big questions facing us all.
Since then, the evolution of REMIX Summits has been rapid. Our sold-out summits are attended by leading global cultural institutions, creative businesses, startups, policy makers and media. REMIX Summits are hosted in London, New York and Sydney alongside other events in locations such as Dubai, Istanbul, Moscow and Perth as well as a collaboration with the Victorian government to develop the Creative State Summit in Melbourne. 2020-21 will also see the launch of our Singapore summit. REMIX Sydney has become the largest conference for the cultural and creative industries in Australia (with nearly 1,500 attending our events in Australia alone last year).
Over the years, we have brought together some of the biggest names in culture, tech and business – both onstage and in the audience – to share insights, swap notes and encourage new collaborations.
“A great event… The intersection between culture, technology and entrepreneurship is really important. I’m a big believer in the arts. I’m a big believer in technology.”
– Michael Bloomberg, CEO, Bloomberg & Former Mayor of NYC
Since day one, REMIX aimed to create exceptional yet affordable summits for the creative sector, and to do so it has gratefully relied on partners to provide free tickets and subsidise costs to enable a wide cross-section of the creative and cultural sectors to attend.
Back at the office, REMIX launched a large co-working space in Shoreditch, London called REMIX Hub. It was one of the first co-working spaces for the creative industries, and tenants have included entrepreneurs such as The Dots (a LinkedIn for creatives), Hubble (a platform to help creatives find spaces) and Dig Ventures (crowd-funded archaeology).
V.2020: Welcome to REMIX Academy
For some time now the REMIX team have wanted to share the hundreds of filmed talks from our Summits. Alongside delegates wanting to revisit these talks, we wanted to make them available to those unable to attend in person. This may be due to several reasons: limited venue capacities; an increasing awareness of the environmental impact of travel; those based in regional and remote locations; those unsuccessful in accessing bursaries or unable to allocate budget; the timings of summits and so forth.
Over the last 12 months we have been developing this new REMIX Academy platform, but the current crisis around Coronavirus has made this objective urgent. As physical experiences have been cancelled globally, cultural organisations both large and small are having to explore new technologies, design virtual experiences, find possible new income sources and keep audiences engaged remotely.
These are all themes very well covered in our REMIX archives, learning from some of the best pioneers across all sectors. From bootstrapping new creative enterprises on little to no money; to monetising content; to utilising low-cost technologies; to rethinking the user experience from the ground up; to name a few. There has never been a better time to share these insights far and wide with the creative and cultural sectors.
We very much look forward to welcoming you in to the REMIX community – come on in!
Get in touch
If you want to hear more, or discuss a new project, idea or opportunity, please drop us a line by email at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll be in touch.