Cultural Economy Consultancy
Cultural institutions have the power to change people's lives. Increasingly it is being recognised that this power relates not only to the emotional and spiritual well-being of individuals and communities, but also to their material circumstances.
System Simulation and its associates are able to bring together a rare combination of knowledge and skills that can help institutions and public authorities in the analysis and creative development of the cultural economy.
System Simulation have been working intensively with the cultural sector for some 15 years on projects that have extended the technical capabilities of both large and small institutions and allowed them to reach new audiences, provide greater educational resources and engage in interesting ways with a broader range of communities.
Our sections on Web systems and Kiosks, Mobile Devices and Digital Galleries show some of the innovative work we have undertaken and illustrate our commitment to making creative use of the technical possibilities. Our Web 2.0 technologies are helping to bring in other institutional and technical changes that are enabling cultural organisations to have an even greater impact.
These developments are very significant, but for many years, we in System Simulation have seen the potential for cultural institutions to have an even broader role, first in developing the social capital of their local communities and then increasingly as dynamic elements in their regional economies.
In 2003, the company organised and chaired an interesting session at the Museums Association conference on the contributions of museums to the knowledge economy. The papers summarising the presentations at this session still make interesting reading, but since then the debate has built further on the ideas set out at that stage.
We have seen the exercises in recent years in estimating Public Value that have provided a more persuasive account of the value of cultural institutions to their communities and we have made contributions to the development of the methodology and its application in developing the case for the development of digital resources.
However, we also believe that there are more fundamental developments under way. In particular, as collections have become more accessible as a result of digitisation and an accumulation of catalogue and other data, the significance of cultural institutions as depositories of digital resources and content has become much more apparent.
We have been advising clients on the potential for exploiting these resources and increasingly this has gone beyond looking at the technical possibilities to setting out a broader economic perspective. Frequently, this has been tied in with issues concerning the longer-term sustainability of the institutions concerned and we have been able to suggest cost-effective ways of gaining and maintaining interest from a range of audiences. Key to this objective is an exploitation of the growing appetite for engaging presentations of a continuously changing array of digital content - information from repositories, still and moving images and sound, managed in a creative way - and the application of these presentations in non-traditional ways and in new contexts.
The basis for this advice is not only on the company's extensive knowledge and expertise in Information Technology, but also the rich variety of experience of its senior staff, ranging from many years of teaching and research in higher education and direct experience of creative activity, including the staging of exhibitions of digital art, to the promotion of economic development and an active interest in the cultural economy. In turn, this experience has enabled us to build relationships with a set of associates who specialise in matters ranging from evaluation methodology and cost benefit analysis to large-scale property development, inward investment and regional economic analysis.
As a result we are in a position to offer the interesting range of services that are central to the promotion of the cultural economy. They are listed above.
Fees for these services are negotiated on a project by project basis.