SWOT Argos

[tabs tab1=”SWOT?” tab2=”Public activities” tab3=”Archive” tab4=”Distribution” tab5=”Production” tab6=”Conclusion”] [tab]

Results from SWOT analysis / October – November 2009 /. Compliled by Maxim Surin, December 2009.

Participated by directorial board, communication, curatorial, administrative and IT technology department. Totally 7 people.

  • Every department shows clear understanding of their problems.
  • There must be more transparency between departments.
  • Critical character of analysis shows that organization is still alive and ready for positive changes.

SWOT analysis

Classifies the internal aspects of the company as Strengths or Weaknesses and the external situational factors as Opportunities or Threats.
Analysis covered 4 basic artistic activities of Argos :

  • Public Activities: exhibitions, event space, film and video screenings, lectures and other related events.
  • Archive and Preservation: collections, conservation, database and public Media Library
  • Distribution
  • Production, facilities

Separating activities is an important issue for this analysis, they are intimately linked within the entire functioning process and overlapping.
Distribution should not be considered as a sub-activity: programmation abroad with work from the own archive.
Exhibitions can often be considered as forms of production in their own right.
Segmentation of activities brings more clear results and help to focus on details.
More broader analysis of operational structure, general policies and communication expected from researcher.

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Topics covered strongest sides of Argos exhibition space, its unique qualities and location. Priorities in improvement of known vulnerabilities.
Opportunities, new trends and threats. Competitive qualities and vulnerabilities, image, attitude within artistic community.
Defining competitors vulnerabilities. How Argos exhibition space program experienced from outside.

Conclusions

  • Internal communication and organisational structure is the key issue for debate.
  • Somebody need to take a leadership over management tasks.
  • Strategical, long time – frame decisions/ strategy to be made and new policies worked out.
  • Argos Center has a minimum possible staff number. Low input from all personal defines contradictions about understanding the programation. Everybody need to understand unique qualities of the Center, how they affect its functioning.
  • Variety of media is not fully exploited for programmation, definition of center is not clear.
  • Programme missing more diverse events, more performative, more engaging, too linear and too aware from experimentation, can get smaller scale without co-production.
  • New audiences. Younger artists. Dare to experiment. Continuation. Diversifying. Exploration.
  • Perceived as un-open, self-centred, defensive. For a small group of intimi only. Perfect location and space, but extremely low visibility in Brussels
  • Larger international network should be made to organize co-productions. Collaboration, sharing programme with partners – to elevate reputation inside local scene. Working across fields, with creative industries.
  • Engaging Media Library into programmation.
  • Possible results against changes, could be loosing position in the sector, becoming a mausoleum.

Next topic shows some more contradiction within image in artistic community.

  • Strong “international” image and solid name abroad and respectful from the artists within the country, but weak inside Brussels, “insiders crowd” avoids Argos, “getting older”.

Keeping in mind that Argos launching “stars” and many artists wants to be exposed there. Communication seems to be the key issue for so complex image.

  • Low and unpredictable participation in screenings and lectures.
  • Due to the low entries, venue is not bringing enough money . Budget is an issue – it is getting smaller.
  • Opportunities are to be on-line and more e-visible.

Visibility.
More transparent internal communication.
Programme diversification and continuation. Co-production.
Clear identity. Communication strategy for different audiences.
Online presence.
Funding.

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Topics covered strongest sides of Argos archive, its unique qualities and location. Priorities in improvement of known vulnerabilities.
Opportunities, new trends and threats. Competitive qualities and vulnerabilities, image, attitude within artistic community.
Defining competitors vulnerabilities. How Argos archive experienced from outside.

Conclusions

  • Archive has a fundamental role for Argos.
  • Visibility within Brussels and Argos site is an issue. Largest unique collection in Belgium is not open enough for visitors.
  • No collection plan or strategy. Communication plan is missing. No librarian. Non permanent stuff with loose technical knowledge doesn’t help the situation.
  • Archive and database is the central engine for Argos Center. Changing technologies and formats are things that threat fluent work flow. Whole system must be sustained and integrated. Archive is almost digitized, it will elevate process on another level, no tapes, dvd’s, going into digital – based archival.
  • Design more “accessible” interface for archive, try to collaborate with industry. Connection to academic and public libraries.
  • Archive is not integrated into venue programme enough. Black box not well promoted.
  • Online presentation is a week spot. Missing integrated internal tools for communication. Future could lie in transition to the public library and digital archive on web.
  • Developing vital projects with preservation and archiving on wider national and international scale.

Threats are:

  • Pressure of merging with larger archival institution could diminish all independent ambition.
  • No clear political presence within archiving lobbies in Belgium.

Visibility
Exploring and evaluating potentials. Collection strategy
More staff
New digital archive – new communication tools
Fluid internal and external presentation, work flow
National and international presence

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Distribution is the most difficult and “grey” area of Argos activities but seems to be the most exciting part for debate.

  • Structure is only one person. Work flow not integrated within all artistic activities.
  • It is the future of Argos Collections. Tactics and strategy are missing. Relationships and behavior with artists are not clear, no policy. Opportunities are more diverse catalogue and advantages of online distribution, durability and copyright management solution.
  • Argos Center has a great potential on international level.
  • Distribution brings income but tight at risks with delivery costs. Time and personnel consuming activity to set it to pro-active.

Some approaches proposed:

  • Deliver thematic programs and retrospectives instead of inscribing to festivals.
  • Online delivery.
  • Collaboration with worldwide network of likewise organizations.

Integration within all center activities
Policy with artists

Strategical approaches
Online presentation
Networking

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Conclusions

  • Production facilities are great potential of Argos which has to be used to the maximum, more integrated into the whole artistic process.
  • Needs more operators and co-production projects.

Visibility
Technical potential is not balanced with amount of personnel
Co-production
Rental opportunities

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Difficulties of collecting data and absence of any planning or marketing initiatives done before made the procedure of marketing analysis extremely complicated.

In order to make all Argos Center activities more efficient, team need to find balance and proportions of input for every aspect and evaluate purpose and goals.

It is important to set the timeline and evaluation scheme.

All Argos activities have more potentials and most of them are known to personnel.

Negative factors are: too small collective for a diverse proliferation of Centre and funding.

Important topics are starting online activity and setting it into the work flow.

Internet/ online presentation

In my point of view it is the most unattended side of Argos functionality as internet is the “native” and “default” instrument for digital moving image.
Audiences online could be treated in more efficient way.
Program of Argos Center could be dynamically presented to make meaningful connections and bring the liveliness and sociability of the real to the online experience.

Interface!

Strengthen internal communication mechanisms.

There must be improvement in using of internal/ external tools for communication.

Folded database, schedule, communication, survey applications, CRM.

At this stage communication plan and strategy development for all activities is a reasonable step.

Argos could improve its working model and evaluate possible scenarios for long – term period.

Digital to digital work flows.

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