In early 2016, arts organisations around Victoria will be working on their submissions to the 2016 Creative Victoria Organisation Investment Program. In this blog series, Regional Arts Victoria will be sharing some of the work we’ve done to prepare us for our own submission, in the hope that it will be of use to others in the sector. This post discusses Regional Arts Victoria’s Vision.
When you’re working on a key governance document such as your Strategic Plan, two critical things to place front and centre are the Mission and Values of your organisation.
There are some varying definitions, interpretations and practical applications of both these terms across the arts sector. You can type them into your favourite search engine to find out more about the theory behind them (with some 50,000,000 results retrieved when we tried it), and many organisations will publish them on their websites (Regional Arts Victoria included).
Making things even more interesting, some organisations will add a Vision Statement to their suite of governance tools (adding another 25,000,000 or so results to your search engine retrievals). If you haven’t encountered these tools before, it can be a bit daunting to find a guide that is useful for you and your organisation.
In his 2014 Book of the Board: Effective Governance for Non-Profit Organisations, David Fishel provides some guidance on the Mission Statement, Vision Statement, and Values, as well as some useful insights into how to develop and monitor the progress of each collaboratively. This book is worth reading in full, and we won’t attempt to communicate all of it through this humble blog post.
Instead, in this blog series we present Regional Arts Victoria’s Mission, Vision and Values and a commentary explaining what we are trying to achieve with each, and how they were created.
Regional Arts Victoria makes new work possible that fosters and celebrates the unique creative places of our regions: the places where art is made, shared, experienced, talked about and developed through:
- Creative Communities: More communities connected and resourced to create new work and inspire long-term engagement with creative practice
- Creative Places: More Victorian places for making, experiencing, discussing, sharing and celebrating creative practice
- Creative Catalysts: More arts leaders and facilitators positively and constructively engaged with more artists and audiences
Your Vision describes what success looks like if you deliver on your Mission. It is more specific than your Mission, and will sometimes specify a timeframe or deadline.
In the same strategic planning sessions from which the Mission was devised, Regional Arts Victoria Board and staff discussed what it would look like if we got it right. Three key themes emerged which led to the Creative Communities, Creative Places and Creative Catalysts categories outlined above.
To ensure the Vision remains relevant, Regional Arts Victoria uses these three statements as the key Goals in our annual Business Plan document (which we use to report to our Board of Management). The Goals are further broken down into Objections, Actions and Key Performance Indicators to track and direct our progress on a regular basis. We’ve found this approach to be a useful way of staying true to our Mission and Strategic Plan.
An important note is that in late 2015, we decided to drop the word ‘More’ from each of the three statements comprising our Vision from 2016 onwards. The idea that arts organisations must continually do ‘more’ to grow and be successful is one we do not subscribe to. Our strategic planning documents must reflect this philosophy.
The next post in this series discusses Regional Arts Victoria’s Values. You can read about our Mission in the first post.
We don’t pretend to be the sole authorities on arts organisation governance. This post should help start discussions, not end them. Disagree with what we’ve said? Want to add some wisdom of your own? Great! Please post your contributions in the comments section below.