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Australia -New Zealand conference keeps growing

343 arts & cultural professionals attended the Australia & New Zealand Tessitura Regional User Conference (ANZTRUC) in Melbourne 1–2 April


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Arts and cultural professionals from across Australia and New Zealand  

gathered in Melbourne earlier this month to attend the tenth annual Australia & New Zealand Tessitura Regional User Conference (ANZTRUC). The not-for-profit community-led conference, held 1–2 April, 2019 at the Melbourne Convention Exhibition Centre, brought together users of Tessitura's unified CRM platform. ANZTRUC 2019 boasted record attendance, with delegates from 51 member organisations in Australia and New Zealand, representing multiple disciplines including senior leadership, marketing, ticketing, fundraising, finance, IT, education and technology.

Attendees were welcomed by Jeremy Dixon, Tessitura Network’s Managing Director Asia Pacific, and MC for the event Latoyah Forsyth, Digital & CRM Manager at Melbourne Recital Centre. In acknowledging the traditional owners of the land upon which the conference was meeting, Boonwurrung Elder Carolyn Briggs delivered a “Welcome to Country.” The conference was officially opened by Philippe Magid, Chair of Tessitura Network and Executive Director of Bangarra Dance Theatre, and Chuck Reif, Tessitura Network’s Senior Vice President of Technology and co-founder.

Reif shared how Tessitura’s path to the region began 17 years ago, just one year after the company formed, when he and co-founder Jack Rubin met with organisations in three Australian cities. "In my wildest dreams, back in 1995, I could never have imagined this,” he said. “Tessitura Network now serves more than 600 organizations in 10 countries, on three continents.”

“In my wildest dreams, back in 1995, I could never have imagined this.”
— Chuck Reif

In their Technology Keynote, Reif and Senior Vice President of Digital Kristin Darrow unveiled the latest user-informed enhancements and features of the Tessitura platform that will empower organisations to deepen relationships with their patrons, including an update on Tessitura’s business intelligence platform, Tessitura Analytics. Later, Darrow joined two Chief Technology Officers, Nic Boling of Sydney Opera House and Greg Turner of ACMI, in a panel discussion that questioned how technology is likely to influence, impact and integrate with the cultural sector in future.

Kristin Darrow speaking in front of a slide that shows a quote by Steve Jobs: Making a product is hard but making a team that can continually make products is harder.

With the launch this year of Tessitura Analytics, the next generation, fully integrated business intelligence platform, data driven culture was a key focus of this year’s ANZTRUC. 14 sessions, led by members of Tessitura Network’s Asia Pacific team, focused on the industry leading platform. These included 11 hands-on Learning Labs covering uses of Tessitura Analytics for Ticketing, Membership, Philanthropy and Marketing and three sessions to inspire attendees to champion organisation-wide adoption and consider their role in driving data culture. 

The conference included over a dozen peer-led sessions featuring delegates from organisations of varying sizes and arts genres. Daniel Coghlan of Melbourne Theatre Company, Joanna O'Connor from The Australian Ballet and Cynthia Crespo from City Recital Hall shared how they are optimising online experiences for patrons. Further sessions explored topics such as corporate partnerships, customer engagement, and data-driven fundraising. 

Anna Hinderwell, Marketing Assistant for Royal New Zealand Ballet, said: “It was an amazing opportunity to delve into the arts and culture community and a great space to learn, network and absorb all things Tessitura.” Kim Lee, IT Business Alignment & Project Manager at Arts Centre Melbourne, commented: “Its networking opportunities are peerless; ANZTRUC is not to be missed.”

“Its networking opportunities are peerless; ANZTRUC is not to be missed.”
— Kim Lee

On the ANZTRUC 2019 agenda were two guest keynote speakers and the next talk in Tessitura’s longstanding Innovator Series

Dr Tully Barnett, Research Fellow at Flinders University, discussed Laboratory Adelaide: The Value of Culture and shared how the innovative and thought-provoking project delves beyond the economic to fully assess the value culture provides to individuals, communities and nations. “If we do not measure what we value, we will come to value only what we can measure,” Dr Barnett said in her address. 

“If we do not measure what we value, we will come to value only what we can measure.”
— Dr Tully Barnett

The second guest keynote, from Kanesan Nathan, posed the question: “Could we start a human revolution with kindness, and if we could, how would we do it?” In his inspiring talk, Nathan shared insights from his social media campaign, The Embassy of Kindness, which has shown how simple conversations about kindness can change everything. 

Kanesan Nathan

In his live Innovator Series talk, Philippe Magid shared how artistic and executive leadership at Bangarra Dance Theatre are collaborating to create inspiring experiences that change society. “After working in the arts for 20 years, I fundamentally believe that the success of any arts organisation depends on the strength of the relationship between creatives and us,” said Magid.  

Other highlights of the content-packed conference included:

  • “Conversation Hubs”, which maximised the crowd-sourcing opportunity by inviting attendees to add discussions to the ANZTRUC agenda. The call for topics generated 24 sessions such as “Memberships in Museums”; “Opera, Measuring Impact”; and “Lapsed donors: winning them back or moving on?”.
  • The results of Tessitura Network’s Australia and New Zealand Regional Benchmarking Studies into Philanthropy and Performing Arts Subscriptions, delivered by Amalia Hordern, who explored broader trends in audience engagement and loyalty – and what this means for long term business sustainability.
  • The ANZTRUC debut of TN Inspire!, which brought five volunteer presenters from the local Tessitura Network membership to the stage, each given five minutes and twenty slides to tell their chosen story. 

A Tessitura Analytics Learning Lab

Jeremy Dixon said the support of a multitude of individuals and organisations made this year’s successful ANZTRUC possible. “This event could not have taken place without the creativity, time, hard work and financial investment from so many. I cannot thank enough the committee members, speakers, sponsors and Tessitura team members,” Dixon said.

ANZTRUC 2019 closed on an inspirational note from Tessitura Network’s President, Andrew Recinos and Associate Director Asia Pacific, Amalia Hordern. Their keynote, “How to be a Poetical Scientist”, told the story of the first self-described Poetical Scientist, Ada Lovelace and examined how her approach to the world shaped the future of technology.  "As we harness the rare gift our sector has — filled with poetical scientists, filled with Adas — we can imagine a world where the business of arts and culture is a beacon for the world,” said Recinos.

“We can imagine a world where the business of arts and culture is a beacon for the world.”
— Andrew Recinos

Amalia Hordern and Andrew Recinos in their joint keynote address

ANZTRUC 2019 was made possible by the generous support of principal sponsor L2 + Prospect2, major sponsors Payment Express and Bravo, supporting sponsors Wordfly, Made Media and House of Tickets and contributing sponsor TodayTix.

View photos of ANZTRUC 2019 on Flickr.


Photos by Sandra Ashby.

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