Arts and Culture Entrepreneurship

ACE Third Workshop, 8-12 July, 2019 in Hammana

ACE Third Workshop – SAY IT OUT LOUD
In the third and final 5-day workshop of the cycle (8-12 July 2019), participants were exposed to techniques of storytelling, the design of an effective communications plan, and the development of a public narrative to renew their mission, communicate their values, and call others to join them in action. The workshop also offered practical guidance on mobilizing resources including assets and business models, and ethics in project financing. With renowned experts from Tunisia, Kenya and Jordan, as well as Lebanon, participants looked at what constitutes success stories and testimonials in the artistic/creative sector and considered key elements required for organizational development and increased sustainability.

For more details on the program of the first workshop, download the full program

ACE Workshop 3 – Presentations and Reference Material


The world we live in is made up of stories. The stories we tell define our history. They are how we make sense of the present, and they have the power to determine our future. Storytelling is the oldest art-form and when used carefully, it can change the world. We will discover the 6 Essential Stories that will help us change the world, and find out what is the science behind them. We will create the 6 essential stories that every mission-driven individual and organization need for success – to organize clearly their thinking and their mission, so they can readily and concisely present the important essence of their work. Participants will each define their own stories, refining and testing them with the group. And to illustrate the process, and unpack the power of their essential stories, we will learn about a story from East Africa that is reaching and transforming the lives of 10 million young people, how it is created and how science and data have merged with creativity and insight to generate change at a huge scale as well as positive effects.

Session 1 – What is your story?

This session focused on stories that concern:

  • Who we are
  • How we got started
  • The challenge we are working on

Session 2 – What is your story?

This afternoon session focused on stories that concern

  • Lessons we have learned
  • An example of our success
  • Our vision of the future


Session 3 - Incentive grant - Rima Mismar and Heba Hage-Felder
An important component of ACE is the grant of $25,000 to fund a specific innovation activity aimed at institutional strengthening. We will have the chance to hear what kind of priorities ACE has so far inspired for each institution. We will also discuss practical issues related to the proposal template (content and budget) which participants may submit anytime following the end of the third workshop, and answer any burning questions.


This day will look at Agency, Motivation, Leadership, Meaning Making, and Team Spirit. We will develop and share our full public narrative to renew our motivation, communicate our values, and call others to join us in action. We will develop the story of self (our calling and source of motivation), the story of us (the community’s story and its shared values), and the story of now (the urgent action). We will also learn to coach others’ stories and receive coaching that is empowering to the other. This training is useful for the individual as a leadership skill and beneficial for a group coming together to launch a joint path of action, or coming together to re-examine their collective identity and values, or a group looking for motivation and re-commitment. This training is built on the principles developed by Harvard Professor Marshall Ganz, a leading figure in community organizing.

The Public Narrative
As we prepare to launch the day, we will get to know what is the public story and why it is important. We will learn about a specific example on how to use public stories for the benefit of our work.

The Story of Self
We will explore what is the particular story of each one of us and what motivates us to do what we do. Listening to examples, we will pick up the key elements to help frame the story of self.

The Story of Us
Where does my cultural entity fit within a larger community? What values do I share with others within this community? In this session, we will explore the notion of collective identity and what it means to our work.

The Story of Now
We will discover what is the urgent challenge we are working on. We will probe what we consider to be shared values that are under threat and what are the options for engagement. In doing so, we are touching on what inspires us the most.


Read more about storytelling


Why do we want to communicate? To whom? What do we want to communicate? How to do that? In the morning, we will outline the importance of developing solid communication skills for cultural institutions. Steering away from generic or overwrought models, the approach of the team of Studio Safar stems from a thorough understanding of the organization’s ethos and its audience. They will be proposing tailor-made innovative and achievable solutions.

Session 8 – Introduce your institution - Hatem Imam and Maya Moumne

Each person presents their organization verbally in no longer than three minutes. This concise introduction will give valuable insight about our communication tone.

Session 9 – Let’s check out some case studies - Hatem Imam and Maya Moumne

We will outline the thought process, the tools, and results of a basic communication plan, based on selected case studies. Session 10 – What do we take from this – Hatem Imam and Maya Moumne Participants will have the chance in this open session to ask questions and present some ideas on their future communication plans.

Session 11 - Peer Visit to AMAR - Foundation for Arab Music Archiving & Research

We will have the opportunity to meet with the team of AMAR who will tell us about their mission, their achievements to date as well as their institutional challenges and opportunities.


Sustainability, fundraising, resources mobilization. How many of us actually think about those from the onset of an initiative? Sustainability is a multitude of seeds planted at various levels: vision, mission, project design, product development, business model and resources mobilization strategy. It is not a set of goals and smart strategies to be designed at the end of the creation process of a cultural enterprise. The objective of this day is to support participants’ reflections on their environment, assets and business models, all key elements required for organizational development and increased sustainability.

Session 12 - External Diagnosis Tools – Ouafa Belgacem from Culture Funding Watch

The morning session will introduce participants to three key tools that help guide their analysis and understanding of their environment and context. These tools are Stakeholder Analysis, a process of reflection on one’s added value within a broader ecology and environment; Power Analysis, a mapping exercise to identify key competitors and potential partners as well as a deeper understanding of how to engage with others in the field; and Dynamics Analysis, a methodology of analysis of the relationships that exist between various stakeholders.

Session 13 - Internal Diagnosis Tools – Ouafa Belgacem from Culture Funding Watch

The afternoon session will familiarize participants with various thinking processes and exercises to allow leaders to explore their organization’s existing assets and internal resources for the development of fundraising and income generation strategies. Key elements include identifying knowledge and expertise already within the organization, resources already within reach and what else might be produced to develop and launch a healthy income stream strategy. Participants will be introduced to a variety of types of resources, especially earned income and a broader understanding of the fundamentals of resource mobilization.



We conclude the workshop of the first cycle of ACE with open sessions! We will talk about what’s next and how to take it from here. We offer this day in an open format with parallel conversations to allow for exchanges with experts and peers. Participants can move around corners and have roughly 30 minutes to consult with each expert. Each participant will dedicate a 10-minute window to be interviewed by our communications team.

Session 14 – Exchange Corners

Corner 1 – Sustainability and resource mobilization – Ouafa Belgacem
Corner 2 – ACE incentive grant – Rima Mismar and Heba Hage-Felder
Corner 3 – Feedback on second mentorship and follow-up – Moukhtar Kocache
Corner 4 - Video interviews of each participant – The Council

Public Talk – Driving Change Through Storytelling, by Rob Burnet moderated by Moukhtar Kocache in collaboration with Antwork

How do you create positive social norm and behavior change at huge scale? And how do you know if it is working? The talk given by Rob Burnet of Well Told Stories will reveal how a multi-channel media brand in East Africa is helping to change the lives of millions of youths.
Rob Burnet is a double Emmy Award-winning media producer based in Nairobi. CEO of “Well Told Stories” a social communications research design and production company that combines comic books, syndicated radio, SMS, social media, web, animation, video, research, strategy and science to help change the way people live, think, act and govern in East Africa. Their youth brand, Shujaaz, is followed by 56% of all young Kenyans – over 6 million young people aged 15-24 – and more than a quarter of all young Tanzanians. Combining research, insight, data and storytelling, it is responsible for huge positive changes in the ways people are living, working and dreaming.

ACE Second Workshop 27 Feb- 3 Mar 2019 – Make it happen

The second 5-day workshop is a hands-on introduction to the concept of innovation and entrepreneurship and possible ways to introduce revenue-making /audience-engaging elements in our work. The workshop is replete with project-design exercises. We look at different mindsets of an entrepreneur depending on different phases of a challenge, and discover structures and tools of innovation. We learn techniques for building high performing teams. We go through the basics of storytelling. We critically examine what is community engagement and issues around quantifying impact. Throughout the workshop, we practice the design of innovation activities within our context.

For more details on the program of the second workshop, download the full program

Introduction to design thinking methodology
The first experiential challenge functions as an overview of the whole methodology of the workshop. In this way the big picture is experienced first and all current activities can be seen in the light of the overall view that emerges from this initial challenge – which is called the business card challenge.

Sensing for mini-challenge
We embark on the second challenge - a mini-challenge - which is a real life example of a cultural institution in the neighborhood. In diverse small teams we set out to scan the situation, understand the problem and the users that are involved.

Visioning for mini-challenge
We synthesize our thinking and findings around the mini-challenge and reposition how we see the challenge. Next we start to think in terms of solutions and make an effort to influence our mindsets in order to open new avenues and solution spaces.

Drawing money
We examine how to look at finances in order to create new ways of thinking around income streams. In this session the whole notion of reframing is important; how can you, by choosing a different frame, see different angles of an issue and in doing so, open up new solution spaces.

We explore prototyping as a way of thinking, especially iterative thinking using relevant users to shape your direction of thought. This method is revisited and our solutions for the mini-challenge are presented.

Back to your world
We make the transfer to our own context and look with fresh eyes at what challenges or parts of a challenge may be in need of shaking up or can be injected with some innovation processes. We start applying the methods learned to the participants’ own context.

Business model innovation
We explore looking at different ways in which organizations have found new income streams and new ways of relating with their customers/audience. Following a number of paradigm shifts we look at examples and draw inspiration from them for our own reality.

Leading complexity
Situations that have a complex systems dynamic possess different characteristics. This session allows us to experience how a mismatch in leadership style can sometimes make situations worse rather than improve them. Participants gain insight into which parts of their work require what kind of leadership.

Open space methodology
In the flow of complex system dynamics, participants set their own agenda for this session and then work with spontaneous groups on selected topics. This is the most structured unstructured meeting you will ever experience.
Presentations by Robert Wolfe

Meeting the Others – UK Lebanon Tech Hub
We get a chance to meet UK Lebanon Tech Hub who introduce us to their mission, how they define a start-up and what constitutes its life cycle. Using real examples, they take us through their process of ideation, design-led thinking, innovation thinking, and validation. We learn to compare what constituted unsuccessful and successful stories using a flowchart of 5 stages. And finally, we look at what is design thinking today and how to turn your idea into a business or sustained activity, exploring the world of incubators/accelerators, venture capital, angel investors and equity.
Presentations by Rawad Assaf

A Refresher Session on Budgeting
This informal, peer-learning session addresses an integral component of project planning and execution: drawing and maintaining budgets. Introducing budgeting as a structured and accumulative exercise, this hands-on session reviews the building blocks of budgets, from how to draw (and own) a Chart of Accounts; through creating a project budget using calculable, measurable units; to combining multiple budgets together into an annual budget. From then on, record keeping, budget analysis, decision making, and finally reporting become steps in a cycle of financial management.

Session 14 - Thinking About and Preparing for Impact
We take a deeper look at how arts and culture organizations can identify, plan, evaluate and communicate their social and cultural impact. We explore various stages and levels of possible impact and help locate our work within a social change paradigm.
Presentations by Mokhtar Kocache

Public Talk “Re-imagining Storytelling” by Robert Wolfe moderated by Moukhtar Kocache, in collaboration with UK Lebanon Tech Hub at Beirut Digital District
Storytelling is a skill we all have to some degree. When done in support of a purpose either for business or a societal cause it becomes important to be effective and to master this skill. We look at some techniques that make your story work better. We also look at how to think about choosing a story for a purpose. Through video examples, we highlight essential elements of storytelling, but we also practice with a story of our own.

ACE First Workshop, 2-6 November 2018 in Beirut

The expert group of the first workshop comprised Oussama Rifahi, Carla Fonseca, Arundhati Ghosh, Moukhtar Kocache and Mike van Graan. This first workshop was an ice-breaker and a chance for the participants to meet and exchange first ideas about their context, their success stories and challenges in relation to the topics evoked by the program’s specialists and mentors as well as with experts from India, South Africa and Brazil. Discussions touched on the relevance of the institutions’ work to their communities, sustainability of their operations, and the latest trends in storytelling and development/fundraising. The participants heard from the program experts about the latest trends in their geographical areas and from representatives of the corporate world about their needs, requirements and visions. The group reflected on the acceptance and relevance of sustainable development goals and creative economy methodologies in a global context and how the diversity and inequality debate is shaping /distorting their work on the ground. The group interacted with representatives from the private sector and engaged with two local peer institutions in Beirut as case studies, finishing the program with a competitive exercise focused on project strategy development and pitching in front of a three-member jury coming from different sectors.

For more details on the program of the first workshop, download the full program

Online Platform

AFAC is keen on sharing resources with the wider community of arts and culture, and not only those participating in ACE. The ACE online platform incorporates references to different geographic arts and culture contexts as well as related ACE themes such as entrepreneurship, sustainability, storytelling, fundraising, outreach, and audience development. AFAC will continuously add reading and visual material, curated expert videos, podcasts, and good practices stemming out of the workshops, mentorship, incentive grants, and eventually research findings during the 3-year program.

ACE Workshop 1 – Presentations and Reference Material

The Context

The world around us is evolving at a rapid pace. Can we talk about progress or regression with the current headlines? What are the major forces shaping our world today and tomorrow? Are the principles and values that we believe in personally and at the core of the work of our institutions unchanged? Are we still relevant to our communities and audiences as cultural actors? Where do we focus the meagre resources at our disposal to further the mission of our institutions? What are the skills and attitudes needed for the cultural leadership of the future?

Presentation by Oussama Rifahi

Read more about global risks
The Global Risks Report 2018

Positioning and Value: Locating Ourselves Within the Arts and Culture Ecology and Framing Our Societal Value

In an increasingly discordant and competitive cultural and civil society landscape, how can arts and culture organizations better position themselves and describe their missions? How can that process help them be more strategic about their energies to secure increased social and financial stability? For a variety of reasons, both intrinsic and extrinsic, the arts and cultural sector falls short in proving its value in a way that can be understood by funders, recipients and the public at large. What are some of the categories, strategies and methodologies that can help artists and cultural leaders better outline their contributions and value to the “public good”? What are the misconceptions, opportunities and pitfalls of increased specificity, measurement, evaluation and classifications in the arts and culture sector?

Presentation by Moukhtar Kocache

Read more about positioning and impact

International Cultural Policies and Their Relevance to the Making of Art

Culture and Development. Cultural Diversity. The Creative Industries. Cultural Diplomacy. Cultural entrepreneurship. The Creative Economy. All these terms. All these policies that keep changing. All we want to do is create art! But we keep having to adapt our projects to fit into the policies as they change, because they come with resources.  Because our governments don’t support our creative work. And we are reliant on the Goethe Institute, the British Council, the French Institute, the European Commission. So, we conform to their policy directives. This session will provide an overview and a critique of some key contemporary policy instruments that shape the discourse and practice of contemporary art-making and distribution, and suggest ways of negotiating these, as creative practitioners.

Presentation by Mike van Graan

Read more about international cultural policies
UNESCO Recommendation Concerning the Status of the Artist
UNESCO Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions
Sustainable Development Goals
Numbers that prove the future is African
Towards fairer international collaborations in the arts
Advocacy toolkit

From Corporate Social Responsibility to Impact Investment and the Future Work

From philanthropy to corporate social responsibility, the relationship between companies and arts has been changing substantially over the past decades. Currently, many businesses operating in various industries state that their involvement with the cultural field is strategically driven. What benefits do they expect to reap? How do they select cultural projects and what evaluation criteria are used? We’ll see a list of inspiring and eye-opening examples of such companies from a number of countries.

Presentation by Carla Fonseca

Read more on the creative economy
Creative Economy Report 2013

See videos related to CSR, impact investment and the future of work
Creative economy as a development strategy (trilingual EN/SP/PT)
Creative clusters
Culture and urban transformation (EN/PT)
Deloitte’s video
ILO programme
The Future of Jobs Report 2018

Revealing India: Not a Single Story

This presentation will take you through the context within which the arts and culture community in India survives and thrives. Over the past decade there have been many shifts – economic, political, social and technological – in the country. The session will attempt to analyse the impact of these changes on the environment and the ways in which practitioners of arts and culture as individuals and collectives are building solidarities and sustainability. Through examples from a diverse range of artistic practices, it will also raise the questions, concerns and challenges that the sector is encountering in the current milieu.

Presentation by Arundhati Ghosh

Revealing South Africa: Shedding Light on Africa

There are many – sometimes competing - narratives about the African continent.  With its population of more than 1 billion people and relatively high economic growth rates across numerous countries, there is the optimistic narrative of “Africa Rising”.  The more dominant view however, has been of “the dark continent”, reflecting both a race-based narrative and its links to the underside of human history: poverty, disease, illiteracy and backwardness.  This session will provide an introductory overview of the African continent, and concentrate on South Africa – its past and present – as a metaphor for our contemporary world with its structural and cultural inequalities.

Presentation by Mike van Graan

Revealing South America: Focus on Argentina, Brazil and Colombia

Home to 428 million people, South America is a mosaic of cultures within each country. From indigenous people to the biggest Italian, Japanese and Lebanese communities outside their original countries, dispersed from the Caribbean to Patagonia, the region encompasses completely different realities and a number of common challenges. This session will focus on three specific countries - Argentina, Brazil and Colombia - offering a critical view of their political-institutional cultural framework, policies, their most important cultural programs in place, as well as highlights of specific laws for cultural funding.

Presentation by Carla Fonseca

Storytelling Retold

We love to tell and consume stories. Whether it be fiction, history, gossip, news or autobiography, stories permeate every aspect of our lives. How is storytelling changing and evolving with human culture and technology? In competing with mainstream entertainment for the attention of audiences and investors, do we learn to become as savvy as professional ads agencies, or remain true to the authenticity of our narratives?

Presentation by Carla Fonseca and Oussama Rifahi

See videos related to storytelling
Storytelling increases museum visitor numbers
Storytelling, brands and some words of wisdom

From Patronage to Partnerships

Giving away money has never been so fashionable among the rich and famous. The new enthusiasm for philanthropy is in large part a consequence of the rapid wealth-creation of recent years, and ironically, of its uneven distribution. We will look at some statistics, dwell on motivation for giving, on vocabulary, trends in philanthropy and the paradigm shift of development and partnerships, before engaging in a discussion with our four invitees.

Presentation by Oussama Rifahi

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