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A Data Maturity Model for the Arts and Culture Sector

A look at our work with Synapse C


Organizations across different sectors are increasingly looking towards data to gain insight into their clients’ experiences, and adapt their offerings or products to better respond to their interests. In the arts and culture sector, organizations like Synapse C in Montreal, and the Audience Agency in the UK, are exploring opportunities to share data between organizations in order to generate insights into audience preferences for the benefit of creative organizations.

The practice of discovering trends on audience habits through data sharing is relatively new for this sector and is coming at a pivotal time, as creative organizations are looking to adapt to an era of digital transformation. However the opportunity to discover insights on audience behaviours through data raises a number of challenges and considerations. For instance, how can data coming from different ticketing and vendor platforms be standardized so that datasets can be combined and compared? How should this data be used, and by whom? Moreover, what skills, resources and competencies do organizations need to take part in data-sharing initiatives as part of their digital transformation ?

OpenNorth had such considerations in mind as it embarked upon a project with Synapse C, a non-profit organization recently created out of the Quartier des Spectacles Partnership. Synapse C’s mission is to empower arts and culture organizations to extract maximum value from their data in Québec and in Canada. From May to October 2019, OpenNorth’s Applied Research Lab worked closely with Synapse C to develop a self-administered survey and data maturity model for the arts and culture sector.

The survey tool is intended to enable creative organizations to reflect on and evaluate their capacity to collect, use and manage their data, which comes from a wide variety of sources. For instance, data derived from social media, ticketing systems, and mailing lists can all become valuable sources of business intelligence for creative organizations. To enable this opportunity, however, organizations may need new or additional skills in data analysis and management.

Once launched, the self-administered survey will allow arts and culture organizations to take stock of their data assets and competencies, and carve out their individual capacity-building pathway. Indeed, Synapse C sees this work as an important step towards fulfilling the organization’s socially-driven mission.

These tools will improve Synapse C’s ability to understand the needs of organizations operating in the arts and culture sector, and convene and facilitate actors, with the goal of providing relevant insights back to organizations in Quebec, and eventually throughout Canada.

– Viêt Cao, Manager and senior analyst, Synapse C

OpenNorth would like to thank Synapse C for its collaboration on this project, which provided us with a unique opportunity to build our knowledge on data in the arts and culture sector. Finally, OpenNorth’s Applied Research Lab will look to build upon this work, as it continues to embark upon new research projects which explore data governance across a wide range of public and private organizations.

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