Tag Archives: culturebanking

CultureBanking… Worth getting curious about?

Building the local cultural economy.
Building the local cultural economy.

Where public services are struggling in towns, cities and rural areas of the greatest social deprivation, the existence of market-driven environments are often even harder to establish and less central to the existing culture of those areas. Problems derived from economic stagnation such as de-motivation, lowered expectations and passivity mean that stimulating economic activity – and cultural economic activity in particular – is especially difficult. Harnessing and growing local communities’ enthusiasms, craft skills and innovation is more and more essential – especially ‘post Brexit’.

Arts organisations and individuals are finding themselves in often foreign environments where they are being asked to demonstrate commercial viability and to become almost entirely self funding – or perish – particularly those who relied on Local Authorities. (See #CivicRoleArts in January 2017 for results of the Gulbenkian Enquiry into the Civic Role of Arts Orgs, which Gallery 133 has contributed to)

Even in the state run NPO environment, there is a trend towards using public money to leverage private investment. There is a need on a local, national and international basis for new mechanisms which encourage a more ‘market – driven’ environment in the cultural sector, but one which doesn’t crush small and local endeavours. CultureBank is precisely such a mechanism…


A proposed mixture of online magazine and and guided donation website, crowd-funder, Collective Rights Management and ‘imprinted brand'; CultureBanking aims to act as a ‘route to market’ to value, support and ultimately re-cycle the cultural output of communities for spiritual, emotional, social and financial improvement and sustainability. 

A ‘local label’ that can trade globally:

We aim to help build local integrated thriving economies – where trade is a mechanism of connecting people and countering isolation. The idea is based on a combination of a gift-exchanging business models and asset based community development. 

Relying upon and working with FinTech developers in the areas of smart contracts and Distributed Ledger Technologies, Gallery133 is working in 2017 on elements of the business with a phased ‘Feasibility/Scoping, Testing and future Launch proposed…

By building connections between cultural producers and innovators and their fans, patrons, audiences or more prosaically, ‘consumers’ or ‘markets’, CultureBanking is inviting potential users to direct their cultural spending not just towards cultural products they enjoy (film, music, books, theatre etc) but also towards changes they want to see in the world  – both locally and nationally. 

We’re organising 3 focus sessions with local arts organisations in order to make sure the research and development comes directly from real needs amongst local artists, musicians and makers (Please see below for registering an interest in these sessions).

G133 is currently reserving IP rights and researching how CB might work across different medias from crafts to music to film and digital technology…

We are talking to potential partners and investors in all sectors and are especially interested in the potential for Action Research projects in UK Universities…

We’re also interested in working with arts organisations and companies from Fintech, IP legal, accounting and ‘Ap’ software development areas. if you would like to know more about CultureBanking, find out how it could benefit you or would like to sign up to a mailing list to receive updates about it’s future development, or possibly attend one of our focus sessions – please go to: gallery133.net and fill in the contact form details. There is also a Facebook page for Gallery133 and @thegallery133 Twitter account where you can leave any comments or queries.

To discuss any matters in particular, please use:  mail@gallery133.net

Liam Murphy.



Thought Leadership (Around The Bench)

Or ‘One Good Course Deserves Another’

Poducts Of Framing Workshop

Thought Leadership, Returns On Investment, John Betjeman, Eric Ravilious, Edward Bawden (and an host of artists worthy of review); McKinsey’s Management Consultancy,, the need to ‘draw it first!’ and some wonderful anecdotes about the rich and reputed. These have all been subjects of conversation ‘around the bench’ whilst working with Simon Pell on Gallery133’s Picture Framing Course. Simon, it transpires, is the Pell of ‘Pell and Bales’ fundraisers, the highest value fundraiser the UK has produced, as he points out with justifiable pride, although at pains to distance himself from the present incarnation of the company he sold some years ago but had built from the kitchen table upwards. This chimes strongly with me as we discuss our previous and ongoing business creations, adventures in solo child rearing, several artists and those anecdotes.

Simon came on the Picture Framing Course to help him re-invigorate a modest but interesting collection of assembled artworks, prints and ephemera accumulated whilst running a business, raising children and broadly having some fascinating experiences which I was afforded the pleasure of hearing about over our six days together in the Gallery133 workshop: ‘Bench-talk’ you might say. Our conversation was ‘framed’ – pardon the pun – as I’d been meditating on some enduring themes whilst reflecting on my previous two years of trying to invent and grow Gallery133:

‘What if people could do (or help others to do) stuff they need to do without seeking external ‘funding’ and learn to do this by creating (sharing) wealth  (capacity) instead of emphasising or demonstrating their – or others – disadvantages to ‘get on’?’… (A bit of a mouth-full I know).

’Charity wounds’ goes the maxim and a year battling to invent a business in Yarmouth convinced me of it’s truth. ’’CultureBanking’ is my response to the problems it can proliferate. It wasn’t until I met Simon that I learned what I was doing in the language of the marketeer: Thought Leadership – apparently! This sounds good, I do the web search to see what it could mean for CultureBanking.

Here’s the Wiki reference for anyone who’s interested: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thought_leader. It tells us: “The Oxford English Dictionary gives as its first citation for the phrase an 1887 description of Henry Ward Beecher as “one of the great thought-leaders in America.” It was revived or reinvented by marketers in the 1980s. In a 1990 article in the Wall Street Journal Marketing section, Patrick Reilly used the term “thought leader publications” to refer to such magazines as Harper’s”. David Brooks wrote a satirical piece in the New York Times which is also entertaining – here: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/12/17/opinion/brooks-the-thought-leader.html?hpw&rref=opinion&_r=1

It would be edifying to think that I could emulate the proclivities of the pilloried as a:

“ …highflying, good-doing yacht-to-yacht concept peddler. Each year, (I would get) to speak at the Clinton Global Initiative, where successful people gather to express compassion for those not invited.”

Succinctly put. But having spent much of the last 20 years as a single parent living in a string of ‘social houses’ whilst managing on a single person’s state allowance and working in the burgeoning ‘grey economy’, I decide ‘Thought Leadership’ IS for me. At 47, I am due my Gap Yar in South America and my college application definitely should say: “I Went to Panama (Great Yarmouth?) to Teach the Natives About Math (Art) but They Ended Up Teaching Me About Life” !

I do actually have a college application to write. Its for the MA in Creative Entrepreneurship at the University of East Anglia. I was invited to apply by Ian Chance, the course Director who, after our long telephone conversation, and to my great excitement, has some enthusiasm for the idea of ‘CultureBanking’. I’ll let you know what the application says when I’ve written it – wish me luck? Judging by the list of Alumni and guest speakers, I hope to be in good company again.  Thanks Simon.  It was a real pleasure sharing a bench.  Amazing what can come from of an ‘umble picture framing course!


Seeking New Opportunities...

From Islington to Yarmouth With Love: A Report from What Next? Central

What Next? (Yarmouth and Lowestoft)

Fresh back from a whistle stop trip to Saddler’s Wells yesterday for a meeting of the What Next? regional groups, here’s just a taster of the inspirational stories, ventures and ideas currently fomenting:

Together we can turn Yarmouth and Lowestoft into Islington! (joke).

A Growing Movement:

WN? Sunderland reported early attendances of around 80 people – all meeting in a local record store! The massive response shows how much enthusiasm and talent is out there. WN? Cardiff talked about the recent successful ‘Cardiff Without Culture?’ campaign which received 2.5 million impressions and restored the local authority’s proposed cuts to Cultural Services. WN? Sheffield has been taking practical action in the form of the sheffieldcreativeguild.com using methods like http://www.timebanking.org/ amongst others to grow local creative economies. Well worthy of a glance for Creatives here on the easternmost side of East Anglia… 

Whilst WN? is not seeking to grow exponentially, it will be seeking finance to create a supporting role to encourage capacity in local groups. This could be fund-raising support, advice or networking but will ultimately enable local chapters to grow in the ways we need to. Generating new kinds of activity, business-models, trading initiatives and new ways of working across a variety of civic functions all need to be supported and encouraged.

Culture and Civics:

On the subject of ‘civic functions’, What Next? is soon to launch it’s consultation partnership led by Calouste Gulbenkian (UK) into the Civic Role of Art and Culture: Questions like: What is it? What can it be? What are good examples of it in practice? How should we grow it? abide. There will be some funding available to choose examples from around the regions of how arts and culture are being used (or not) for civic functions. This could be an opportunity for Yarmouth and Lowestoft to look into new – and old –  ideas like guilds and creative networks, ‘time banking’, #culturebanking and new virtual ways that arts and cultural work can help to fulfil ‘civic functions’ and increase opportunity, inclusivity and participation. There is £40,000 available to facilitate WN’s involvement. WN? Yarmouth and Lowestoft will form part of the reference group on this enquiry.

Not All Talk: Get Involved?

There’s also opportunities for groups in the regions to generate activity around these ideas and to finance new initiatives. Come along to the next WN? meeting and help make a plan for action…? 

Currently, the admin time allowed for managing WN? is about 4 hours a week and none of this work is financed. What Next? (Yarmouth and Lowestoft) is seeking help from local arts organisations and individuals who can help with things like minor admin tasks, taking minutes (not usually essential), providing meeting venues and generally growing arts and culture opportunities in the area – and we also want to hear from artists, business owners, professionals and creatives who’d like to come to a meeting and talk about what they do – or want to do! – to other like-minded folk…

What Next? aims to be about promoting arts and culture through ‘building unlikely alliances’ – so it’s really important to spread the message and join up with as wide a variety of other interests as possible. Please share…!

I look forward to meeting you at a WN? event soon…

Liam Murphy

Chair WN? Yarmouth and Lowestoft.


http://www.whatnextnorfolk.org.uk – ‘sister’ group meeting weekly in Norwich

http://www.whatnextculture.co.uk – National Site.


It’s not complicated at all:

When you put your money in a bank, you hope for some interest back on it. It’s an investment. When you put money into a business, you hope for a dividend. It’s an investment.  When you pay your tax, you hope the local A and E department will save your life. It’s an investment. When your firm spends money training new recruits – you expect them to work for you. It’s an investment. Yet art is still  ‘it’s own reward’ and it’s funding is, literally, ‘a lottery’ – or else relies on some outmoded C.19 system of ‘patronage’. We can do much better.

Through the mechanisms of intellectual property rights, licensing, equity shares, crowd-funding and guided donation, it is possible to create some residual benefit when a piece of work ‘hits the big-time’ or even has just a small amount of success and to recycle some of that success back into the grass roots from which it grew and to strengthen these roots in order to grow, knit, weave, sing louder, write better, make new work… etc.

This is what #culturebanking proposes to do. Everyone had a ‘grass-root’.  What organisations like the Arts Council and others are now asking (via #64millionartists) more than ever before is:

How can we do this?

#culturebanking – have your say….