This week, we kick off the Bitesize Daily interviews with Adam Rutherford, who founded Art Brand Communications (www.artbrandcomms.com), a strategic Arts PR and brand led communications consultancy with offices in London and Zurich.
What have you been up to during lockdown?
We have been fortunate to continue to provide our clients with strategic counsel and guidance through these unprecedented times. In particular, we have been working with clients to implement new and different ways for them to continue to engage with their audiences and key stakeholders. Our business operates remotely using digital platforms, and we have a network of consultants in multiple markets including Italy, Switzerland, Germany and the US. Therefore video conferences and online meetings have always been the norm for us, so in that respect our day to day has not changed too drastically.
I have been in Zurich for the last 4 weeks and when I’m not working I have spent time walking in the forests and enjoying the lake of Zurich. I’ve felt the need to do something creative and so I’ve also been spending some spare time writing a screenplay about the post Pandemic art world.
Is there anything in particular you have learned from the last few months?
The increase in online and digital communications from the sector has opened up and provided the market with the potential to engage with a younger demographic while offering emerging artists a share of voice and a more robust platform to be heard.
How do you think the art industry will change, going forward?
Until the crisis averts, I believe we’ll see more localised fairs in markets, as a result of travel restrictions and a slow in the globalised model of the market, making way for more local activity. The Covid-19 Pandemic, Me Too movement and Black Lives Matter protests will usher in a renewed sense of the importance to hear and see more female artists and those from minority ethnic and social groups in museums and institutions in leading art markets internationally.
Do you have any advice that you would give to people entering the industry?
Immerse yourself in the market, go and see as many shows as possible. Use social media to engage with and learn more about the market and its key players and gain as much digital and social media marketing skills as possible, as this is the future of engagement in the sector.
Are there any art organisations that you have been particularly impressed by in the way that they have evolved and responded to the current situation?
I’ve been impressed with the Fondation Beyeler in Basel, Switzerland. They currently offer digital meditation sessions in the museum hosted by Diego Hangartner – who spent 11 years in Dharamsala, home to the Dalai Lama’s monastery and had the privilege of receiving some teaching with him. Diego’s sessions are set against the backdrop of their amazing private collection and allow those participating to experience artworks from a meditative perspective.
This is a great example of continuing to engage with your audience, while offering them content that they can actually benefit from during the lockdown period. This has been one of the highlights for me and brought some calm to my spirit during these challenging times.