The Australian Museums and Galleries Association (AMaGA) has been conducting industry research into the impacts of COVID-19 on our sector. This, the third post in a series, summarises main findings from the November survey (n=185) as well as some final observations.
Reflecting across the three surveys it emerged that:
- The sector needs to better define their impact on and value to the community.
- Across the board the sector experienced loss in income and decline in audiences – while improving it will still take some time to get back to pre-COVID levels (if at all).
- While morale was mainly steady throughout the pandemic many of our colleagues and institutions have been suffering, and continue to suffer.
- Financial models need to be re-thought – are institutions that are built largely on ageing volunteers, casual staff and contractors sustainable?
- Opportunities to reflect on current work processes – especially flexible ways of working and working from home (WFH), as well as re-thinking strategic directions and undertaking planning
- Realisation that digital as an important way to engage audiences, and is achievable.
- The pandemic put an emphasis on well-being and connections – and valuing these even more than before.
- The sector still cannot afford to be complacent, especially given recent events in Victoria (Lockdown #4).
November Main Themes
Being the final survey in a series we decided to ask three reflective questions:
- One thing they learned / reflected on during the pandemic
- One thing they will apply to operations post-pandemic
- Opportunities looking at post-COVID
The main themes that emerged across this group of questions were:
- Opportunities to reflect on current work processes – especially flexible ways of working and working from home
- Digital as an important way to engage audiences – and by giving it a go, respondents were now more inclined to keep going on this path
- COVID forcing organisation to increase their communications within the organisation and with their audiences
- Emphasising well-being and connections – and valuing these even more
- Many also took the opportunity to re-think strategic directions and undertake some planning
My next post unpacks these in more detail.
Other November Findings
- Similar to the April and August surveys, most were experiencing loss of income and cancelled programs/events, with main differences from August to November being more:
- Rescheduled programs or events
- Cancellation of contracts
- Job losses
- Moves to online programming
- Issues with morale and staff well-being
- 65% of organisations open (compared to 49% in August)
- Even though many more organisations are open, overall loss of income across the board is a key impact, specifically through decreased tourism (despite some areas reporting higher tourism), little or no entry fees, decreased revenue from events and programs, and decrease in sales and merchandise
- More report no financial support accessed in November –- probably due to changed circumstances with more venues open
- Re-engaging with the community was identified as key issue in both in the April and August surveys and is still an issue for all November respondents
- Overall, morale is still pretty good and consistent with August findings, and consistent across all sub-groups
Huge thanks to all who responded to our surveys – your input and considered comments were very much appreciated.