Culture Syndicates CIC

Enabling | Enterprising | Empowering

our story

Culture Syndicates started life as a socially driven project following the 2008 financial crisis. Neville Stankley, then a senior lecturer in heritage management, saw that museums were struggling with capacity due to budget cuts and that talented Masters graduates were unable to find paid opportunities in the museum and heritage sector.
Our organisation was born of the desire to find a solution to both issues. As a result, the company founders developed the Culture Syndicates model, a unique approach that deploys trainee sector entrants to build capacity for museum and heritage organisations, whilst getting them paid work and a foothold in the industry.

from strength to strength

The company achieved Community Interest Company status in 2014, marking a new step in our journey and strengthening our social purpose. As a CIC, our mission is to support museum and heritage organisations and to increase employability within
the sector.

So far, we have supported 66% of our former trainees into full-time work or study in museums and heritage. Seven years on, we are finding new and innovative ways to achieve our core mission and expanding beyond our initial East Midlands base.

We are working with an exciting range of partners to execute high quality projects across the UK and beyond. Through our continued expansion, we are able to offer exciting training and employment opportunities to people from a wide range of backgrounds.

As our work grows further, we will continue to champion sustainable projects and create fair opportunities for sector entrants.

our mission

supporting and sustaining

Culture Syndicates supports cultural organisations to promote and widen access to their collections for audiences locally, nationally and internationally, through sustainable partnership working.

At the heart of our work is a commitment to building employability for emerging professionals to develop an appropriately skilled and diverse workforce that is equipped to meet the needs of a changing sector.

enabling culture

We support cultural organisations to achieve best practice relating to collections, digital technology, audience development and engagement, evaluation, and workforce development.

building employability

We create paid developmental opportunities for emerging professionals and promote sustainable workforce development in the heritage
and arts sector.

our team

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Neville Stankley

chief operating officer

Neville founded Culture Syndicates whilst working as a principal lecturer at Nottingham Trent University. He leads the management of Culture Syndicates, drawing upon his experience of heritage management, workforce development, and international exchange.

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Elizabeth Neathey

Head of Workforce Inclusion

With Culture Syndicate's mission focusing on employability for emerging professionals, Elizabeth is developing approaches which will benefit anyone interested in working in the cultural sector. She is developing new partnerships and planning approaches to create meaningful sector development experiences and training opportunities.

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Feixue Huangdu

Head of Digital Projects

Feixue is a digital media facilitator. She produces bilingual social media content and award winning live broadcast programmes, enabling cultural institutions to reach an international audience.

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Alia Hamadeh

Marketing Assistant

Alia comes to Culture Syndicates with an impressive set of skills which is enabling her to spearhead our communications. Her background in architecture gives her a great insight to how the cultural sector works and communicates.

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Mary Strickson

Development Officer and Heritage Assistant

Mary has joined our team as Development Officer, to support our work with current and new clients whilst keeping her link with the Heritage Assistants. Mary is experienced in research, facilitation of community arts and heritage projects and workshops, exhibitions, displays, and working with collections.

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Ruth Gray

Heritage Assistant

Ruth completes project administration and research, and prepares funding applications under the guidance of the Head of Projects. She manages content creation for our digital media channels.

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Lyndsay Thompson

Heritage Assistant

Lyndsay is a recent graduate and is a key part of the Heritage Assistant Team. She is experienced in collections, including collections care, documentation and loans processing.

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Nisha Chudasama

heritage assistant

Nisha is a graduate in Archaeology and Geography. She has experience working on exhibitions, in digital humanities and with heritage organisations. She has an interest in building surveying and conservation.

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Sophie Hazlewood

Heritage Assistant

Sophie is experienced in connecting people to their heritage through facilitating visitor tours and open days. She is interested in managing museum collections and making them accessible

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Amy Hondsmerk

Heritage Assistant

Amy is experienced in working in outreach, interpretation and collection management projects.

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Paul Baker

Director

Paul is a resilient museum leader with a proven success record in challenging organisational cultures and strategy.

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Andrew Cooper

Director

Andrew is a commercial lawyer. He began working with Culture Syndicates as a member of our former advisory panel and now supports our strategic decision making as a Director.

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Julia Knight

Director

Julia is a heritage leader who specialises in collections and people management. She has supported Culture Syndicates as a Director since 2017.

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Phil Cave

Director

Phil, a former Director at Arts Council England, is a consultant specialising in public engagement. He founded the Creative People and Places programme and the national Creative Ageing Development Agency (CADA).

our manifesto

Introduction

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manifesto

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Below is our manifesto, this is what makes us tick and drives our work. Our team of staff and partners uphold the values within this manifesto in order to deliver the best possible support to cultural organisations and talented individuals from all backgrounds.

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nobody works for ‘free’

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We strongly believe that nobody should work for free and, where possible, people should be paid for their services. This is why we run our Heritage Assistant model as a paid alternative to volunteering and ensure that all placement students receive course credit and a reference for giving their time to us.

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culture is by
and for everyone

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We strive to make culture as inclusive as possible. We want to democratise culture through our projects and workforce development and ensure that everyone, regardless of background or ability, is able to access or work in museums and heritage.

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development is career
long and career wide

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To us, learning should never stop. We treat every project as a learning and development opportunity and ensure that our team and everyone involved reflect, learn and identify further development.

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supporting, not exploiting,
cultural organisations

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We know that the words “consultancy” and “bespoke” can often come with hefty price tags and that consequently many smaller cultural organisations cannot access specialist support. We therefore keep our prices fair and proportionate to a wide spectrum of cultural organisations.

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moving beyond
buzzwords

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Sustainability is a hot topic in the cultural sector. At Culture Syndicates, we ensure that all of our projects are truly sustainable by incorporating legacies into the planning stages and offering free follow-up support as a standard part of our service.

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a syndicated approach

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We realise that the key to achieving our social mission is working with a range of like minded partners and supporting organisations. In doing so, we are able to extend the reach of our projects and have a greater impact.

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ongoing support for
maximum outcomes

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As a standard part of our practice, we offer follow-up support to all of our clients to ensure that projects are embedded within an organisation. We also offer a continued network of support to our former trainees who move on to pastures new, to facilitate continued learning and sharing.

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our partners

The Heritage Trust Network (HTN) is the UK’s umbrella body for groups and organisations that rescue and restore historic buildings and sites. HTN has over 300 members across the UK and Ireland managing over 1350 properties of all ages, shapes and sizes.

Culture Syndicates and HTN became partners in 2020 to realise the potential of raising Chinese awareness of and interest in UK cultural and heritage sites. Together, we are working to establish a sustainable digital model for livestreaming the stories of UK cultural/heritage sites to international audiences, and identifying income generation opportunities to benefit them.

Innocare International (Innovation Division of Innocare Group) is an incubator of new ventures. The organisation was established in 2016 when it began providing services for start-ups. The incubation centre is located in Shanghai University and allows alumni enterprises to develop from there. It has now established an innovation network with 400 university innovation and entrepreneurship colleges across China.

Its international entrepreneurship platform links innovation centres and academic institutions across the world allowing Innocare to partner with universities in UK, Ireland and across Europe, creating opportunities for both parties to cooperate and succeed together. It gathers worldwide resources in the field of innovation and is committed to becoming a link for cooperation of innovative enterprises in China and abroad. Innocare hosts many international innovation events such as the entrepreneurship roadshow and entrepreneurship training to help entrepreneurs and start-ups pursue their development.

As Culture Syndicates benefited from this form of incubator support in its early days we understand the value of this kind of support and we are happy to be working with them to support their international events and nurturing of business ideas to benefit the cultural sector.

Although this company was only recently established (at the beginning of 2021) the founders have a long track record of successful entrepreneurial innovation and have founded this company to provide a global platform for cultural organisations trying to make the most of their digital content. Their solution for the crowded post pandemic digital world is a one stop shop for all your content, effectively democratising the digital marketplace for art and cultural organisations, big and small, national and local. Click on the link to see this great idea in action www.aonia.com.

Culture Syndicates had already been working with Aonia since before its incorporation as a limited company to provide access to the Chinese on-line learning platforms to test the market for Western digital learning content. Our collaboration with Aonia will enable us to better support arts and cultural organisations to achieve their global potential.

Autumn is a highly qualified and experienced heritage researcher, practitioner, and consultant based in China.

Educated at the University of California, she graduated with a BA in Art History and International Relations Global Business (IRGB) before completing her MSc in Visual Material and Museum Anthropology at the University of Oxford before embarking on a successful career in heritage and the arts around the world. She has worked in Los Angeles, Singapore, Hong Kong as well as the U.K. for art market consultancies and diverse museums and galleries around the world. A particular highlight is her recent work to help establish the new Grand Canal Museum in Hangzhou.

Autumn is well connected in the international art market and her expertise lies in applying anthropological research tools and qualitative methodologies to improve marketplace studies.

in the arts and cultural sectors, and to provide market solutions and strategies for organisations.

She is currently based in Shanghai having now founded her own arts and heritage consultancy (Shanghai Yunrui Cultural Technology LLC.,上海秐睿文化科技有限公) and assists Culture Syndicates by advising on developments in China and internationally.

Recently the Shanghai Yunrui and Culture Syndicates have partnered to engage with larger projects, bring together the heritage sector globally, and help young sector entrants around the world.

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Your help is
important

To date, we have supported over 100 sector entrants and students to gain paid employment and training.

DONATE US

Support our
mission

At Culture Syndicates, we aim for no less than ‘changing the world’ of museum and heritage careers. We are a social enterprise with the core purpose of providing high quality training opportunities for people from all backgrounds and abilities.
Our workforce development programme relies on earned income and grant funding to survive. If you would like to support our work, please consider donating to help those starting out in their careers.

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