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“Engagement is at the heart of The Lift.

The initial design embodies Lift's

innovative approach and is truly unique.
It really is an inspiring project"

Rt Hon Tessa Jowell MP

“In The Lift people should feel excited,

welcome, safe, enlightened, delighted,
moved, empowered, included,
connected, equal!”

“The building helps everybody out”

Lift creative workshops

Mission Models Money exemplar case study

MMM exemplar case study: Lift
The Mission Models Money exemplar case studies

The largest strand of MMM’s third phase has been a relationship with seven diverse arts and
cultural organisations, all of whom have been exemplars of radical change and new working
practice. Each in very different ways have seized the opportunity to respond to change and
complexity in their contemporary operating environment by refocusing and/or refreshing their
missions, exploring how they might develop their business model and reconsidering how they
might strengthen their financial capacity. These case studies explore each exemplar’s journey
during their year-long involvement with MMM from Spring 2006 to Spring 2007.

Lift and the other exemplar projects are involved in activities that will continue to develop well
past their involvement with MMM. In working with the exemplars, MMM did not set out to
monitor and evaluate the projects in a restrictive fashion. Instead, a support structure and
evaluation methodology was developed that framed them as colleagues on the front-line,
laboratories for learning and for testing new ideas. With these principles in mind, each exemplar
enjoyed a range of interactions with MMM which included on an individual level – interviews,
bespoke support, and access to the wider MMM programme and on a collective level –
participation in the exemplar learning community developed through a series of checkpoint
meetings and advocacy events.

MMM has used its seven principal issues to form the basis of its enquiries across all its activities
in each of its seven programme strands (see for full details).
The three which are most addressed by this case study are:

• Engagement with the changing environment

• Developing new markets, building engagement and participation
• New methods of operation, business models and infrastructure

Making change and being changed in the making

For the past 25 years, Lift, London International Festival of Theatre, has been at the forefront of
innovation in the presentation of arts and in building relationships across sectors.

From 2001-2006, Lift embarked on a new venture: the unframing of one format, the biennial
Festival, and the creation of another, the Lift Enquiry, an exuberant and public exploration of
theatre today. The Enquiry asked a series of questions that opened up ideas on theatre as a
space for public dialogue. What is theatre? Where does theatre take place? Who is making it?

MMM follows Lift as it reveals its new vision, evolving from the organisation’s history and in
response to the shifting environment for culture in London. The Lift is a flexible and demountable
space that will be at the heart of a biennial Lift Festival from June 2008, with a programme
curated by an international team of artists and producers who will be engaging with local
communities on the issues that matter to us all in the 21st century.

MMM exemplar case study: Lift
The structure of this case study

This MMM exemplar case study uses two frameworks to tell Lift’s story: the classic mythical story
structure of the hero’s journey and the three M’s.

The hero’s journey

The hero’s journey is a phrase based upon ideas from the comparative mythologist Joseph
Campbell. It is a metaphor for transformation. Taking the models outlined in Campbell’s Hero
with a Thousand Faces (1946) as the archetype, the basic cycle of transformation is represented

The call to action The trials Wise advisors The prizes The return

From the initial call to action that embarks us on the journey of the project to the return to our
communities at the completion of the MMM process, this is a familiar yet effective narrative
structure that provides a powerful container for the exemplar’s stories. It should however
always be remembered that these are rarely linear journeys but are instead cycles of experience
and of learning

MMM: the iron triangle

As explained in Linking Mission and Money: an introduction

Mission to non-profit capitalization, (Nonprofit Finance Fund (NFF)
2001), all not for profit, and especially those going through
any major change project require a balance between
mission/programmes, models/organisational capacity and
money/financial capacity.

The NFF terms this interdependent relationship “the iron

triangle” where any change in one of those three elements
inevitably has an impact on the other two.
Models Money
Recognising how essential this holistic approach is to the
sustainability of not for profit arts & cultural organisations
in today’s ever changing environment, the MMM took the
inspiration for its name from this triangle.

The terms mission, models and money will be used throughout this case study to illustrate how
attention to each and the interdependence of all three will enable holistic development of
organisational and financial sustainability.

Mission: the non-negotiable core purpose of your organisation

Models: your legal structure, business model and organisational capacity

Money: your financial capacity – your assets: cash, working capital, reserves, debtors,
fixed assets and your liabilities: short and long term debt

MMM exemplar case study: Lift

What you should know about Lift before reading on…

• Lift’s mission is to be a progressive international theatre festival which engages audiences

with the work of international and UK artists, raises consciousness of contemporary issues
relevant to us all and as a result makes change and is changed in the making.
• Lift also operates Lift Learning alongside its other activities, which itself commissions
many new performances and seeds projects across London and across the world
• The findings of the Lift Enquiry will be published in summer 2007
• Since it was founded by Rose Fenton and Lucy Neal in 1981, Lift has introduced theatre
from over 60 countries to venues and unusual sites across London
• The current Director, Angharad Wynne-Jones, joined in June 2005
• Lift employs 15 full-time staff members and offers many other opportunities to work with
the organisation through a comprehensive placement programme
• 2005-6 turnover was c.£900k (69% core public grant, 11% earned income, 20% other
public and private funders)
• At the beginning of 2006/07 Lift established reserves of £60K and, as expressed in the
latest Trustees’ Report, has budgeted to increase this by a minimum of £20K per annum
until the target of £160K has been attained.

MMM exemplar case study: Lift

The Lift as it might look in Stratford, London. Image by AOC

The call to action The trials Wise advisors The prizes The return

The call to action

What is it that makes us want to embark on our journeys of change and of transformation? Are
we forced to by circumstance, invited by those around us or do we just have a feeling that
evolution and innovation is the only road possible to take?



Angharad Wynne-Jones

The findings of Lift Enquiry. After 10 biennial Festivals and with a track record of bold
experimentation, Lift set a challenge to itself and the international theatre field with the Lift
Enquiry (2001 to 2006). In launching the Enquiry Lift recognised that over the past 20 years the
landscape for international theatre in London had changed, that ideas about theatre, audiences
and festivals had changed, that London itself was changing. Through a series of events and
activities, the Enquiry asked a series of questions that opened up ideas on theatre as a space for
public dialogue. What is theatre? Where does theatre take place? Who is making it? And re-
examined Lift’s producing process of collaborating across the arts, business and social
institutions in London and beyond, with the aim of reclaiming and promoting theatre’s role as a
public space for society to connect; local with international, public with private, old with young
and, critically, artists with audiences.

This process pushed the boundaries of what theatre can be, asking what new directions existed
for the theatre in the UK and internationally.

MMM exemplar case study: Lift
The Enquiry evaluation process is due to be completed in summer 2007. Lift is currently
publishing a selection of texts from and about the Lift Enquiry on its website at

The published work will collate existing material from the Lift Enquiry as well as commission new
texts that reflect and speculate upon its findings.

New leadership. In appointing a new Director in 2005, Lift’s Board of Directors was seeking to
develop a new vision for Lift, building on the Enquiry with a bold and radical new direction for the

The arrival of a new Director, Angharad Wynne-Jones, in April 2005 marked a new stage in Lift’s
development. Her new vision for the organisation dovetailed with the themes and findings of the
Enquiry and Lift’s established interest in broadening theatre's reach, in exploring how theatre can
represent different cultures and speak with different voices.

Angharad’s vision for Lift from the outset was to develop a space for meeting and participation, a
collaborative programming process, and an aim to engage non-traditional audiences.

Evolving a new mission.

The Enquiry provided the foundation for Lift’s new vision.



Angharad Wynne-Jones, Director

The need for new models of engagement. At the centre of the Enquiry was an investigation
into the idea of audience. What is the creative process between artist and audience? How can
theatre’s historical role as a space for public dialogue be reinvented for the 21st century? What
can theatre be and who can be involved? Lift sought to understand its relevance, what it could
offer to communities and how the organization could change to satisfy the shifting needs of the
surrounding environment.

From the Enquiry’s findings, and with the appointment of Angharad, Lift has evolved a new set of
priorities. To expand its understanding of theatre; to include collaborations across artforms and
with communities. To engage with the urgent contemporary issues of our time: environmental
concerns, social and cultural issues around identity, the concept and the reality of the city, the
local and the global. To honour debate and discussion as integral to the experience of art and
festival; to nurture longer-term relationships with UK and international artists and to develop a
participatory experience for artists and audiences in all its programmes. Above all, to create a
place of welcome, interaction and exploration for artists and audiences.

With these new priorities, Lift has embraced the need for change and a new vision to realise its
full potential to be an extraordinary 21st century arts organisation. At the heart of this vision is
The Lift.

MMM exemplar case study: Lift
The Lift is a new kind of venue. Flexible and transportable, it offers a performance and meeting
space in which to realise Lift’s vision of bringing artists and communities together. Conceived as
an iconic space like no other, it is a place where people are free to talk about the issues that
matter most to them, to meet the global challenges that affect us all, and to enable cultural
change alongside political change. It is central to Lift’s new vision of making change and being
changed in the making.

The Lift is also a means of sustaining Lift: it will enable the organisation to grow and develop a
programme born out of the needs and interest of both its existing supporters and a new potential
audience. It offers a new model for Lift to engage its audiences with the works of international
and UK artists and to provide a forum through which to address and debate contemporary
issues. More specifically, the new Lift vision embraces the need identified through Lift’s history,
through the Enquiry and by its new leadership:

• For new models of curatorship and shared cultural authority

• To move firmly from a passive reception to an active engagement with the arts, which will
be relevant as well as excellent
• To work across disciplines and forms of performance
• To understand London’s relationship with the UK and the world
• To make best use of our resources for maximum public benefit and access
• To work across sectors and to build new partnerships

MMM exemplar case study: Lift

The call to action The trials Wise advisors The prizes The return

The trials

Change is rarely, if ever, straightforward. What were the obstacles that Lift faced and how did it
overcome them? As with all elements of this case study, each challenge is not presented merely
as a one-way story. Instead they should be read as a dialogue, or even as an interview. Have
you encountered similar situations in your work and what was your response? What can you
learn from Lift’s experience so that you are better equipped both as an individual and as part of
whatever network or organisation you find yourself in? How would you overcome such
challenges? What are your trials?

Is London still open to big ideas?



Responses to The Sultan’s Elephant in 2006, the biggest piece of free theatre ever seen in
London1, have shown us the great need we all have for such shared experiences in this country –
events that allow us to come together in a common space. It also demonstrated that London can
support and respond to a different concept of performance and meeting space.

The Lift is a structure and process that builds on the idea of shared experience and participation,
and on new ideas about performance. It is also a response to London: a global city of local
communities, multi-lingual, with two in seven of its citizens born outside the UK. A city that
offers an extraordinary diversity of cultural experiences – and yet there are large areas of
London with no cultural infrastructure. The Lift will arrive in different London communities,
offering a space where the people of London can meet to share stories, exchange knowledge,
and imagine and rehearse new futures. And, as a global meeting place, London can make it


Angharad Wynne-Jones, Director of Lift

For more on the Sultan’s Elephant see and section on Festivals & Events/Past Events
MMM exemplar case study: Lift
Making change, being changed in the making. Lift has never stood still as an organisation,
and since 2000 has evolved from biennial Festival to Enquiry and now into the development of its
new vision. Realising The Lift project has accelerated the pace of change. In commissioning a
new structure Lift has taken on a capital fundraising campaign and the management of a building
project. The structure itself breaks new ground: Lift’s competition brief stipulated `an iconic
building like no other’, and Lift and its architects, AOC2, developed a consultation process with
local communities in East London that was also `like no other’.3

Lift is also evolving a new model of devolved curation for The Lift and its biennial Festivals,
involving local people and a team of international and UK-based artists and curators called
Seekers. Aiming to create a programme that responds to local interests, needs and issues, Lift’s
consultation process in East London for The Lift has extended to its programming and themes.
Lift’s team of Seekers – international and UK-based artists and curators – has responded to their
ideas, bringing proposals for participatory commissions, events, debates and performances from
their own communities: China, Kenya, Bangladesh, India, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, South
Africa, as well as the UK. At the time of writing, Lift is embarking on the task of framing the 2008
Festival from the wealth of the Seekers’ proposals.

In shaping its new vision, Lift also had to raise funds to realise it. The complex and fluid concept
of The Lift – a structure like no other, a programme shaped by its participants, a festival of
theatre reinventing itself in a broader framework of performance, debate and participation – has
proved challenging to articulate to funders. Statutory funders, trusts and foundations, local
authorities and individuals have been prepared to take the risk; Lift believes that corporate
funders will follow once the project is more tangible.

The internal development of the vision. Lift developed the proposition for The Lift over a
period of a year, between Angharad’s appointment in 2005 and the launch of the architectural
competition in summer 2006. The process of developing the design brief, a detailed document
which would form the basis of the agreement with the architects, provided the focus for a
process involving all members of the Lift core team, the Lift Board, the artists appointed as
Seekers, and many other advisers and supporters of the organisation. Angharad describes the
process as moving from the simple concept of a meeting space to a much more complex and
layered idea, involving deep consultation, a process which would allow The Lift to be rooted in
East London. During the year Lift also worked on a rebranding process, beginning with its
organisational values: from which the new vision of making change and being changed in the
making emerged.

In the same period Lift’s planning team and Board developed a robust and detailed business
plan, agreed with Arts Council England as Lift’s core funder, charting the complex layers of
activity that make up the new vision, Lift’s financial and fundraising strategies to realise it, and a
detailed assessment of risk.

The external articulation of the vision. The challenge in articulating the new vision
externally was in anticipating how the various stakeholders would respond to the concept of The
Lift – e.g. press and media, current and future audiences, and funders, as detailed above. Lift
has a very well-established history, but had not been as publicly visible during the Enquiry
(2001-2006), so one of the main challenges was the need to tell people about this new idea
without yet having a physical or visual outcome, such as a final design, finished structure or
programme of events.

This was in part overcome by ensuring that the process of creating The Lift has been transparent
to all stakeholders. Through information being freely available and frequently updated on the Lift

see Wise Advisors, page 12
AOC Stage A/B Briefing Report, at
MMM exemplar case study: Lift
website as well as the introduction of monthly email updates and a re-designed newsletter, the
organisation has articulated the process and the story of the creation of The Lift.

Balancing demands. As an organisation, Lift took some additional steps to maximise the
chances of success and to address the challenge of trying to balance a wide range of activities,
including the design strand and the consultancies:

• As The Lift is the main focus of Lift, activity that is not directly related to its realisation
has been stripped away
• Lift moved the timeline for the Festival from November 2007 to June 2008 to allow more
time to realise The Lift
• External advisors have been brought in to establish the governance and business models
for Lift and The Lift beyond the Festival in 2008
• Lift’s risk management process has focused on project and fundraising milestones,
discussed at Lift’s weekly planning team meeting and at meetings of the Lift Board and
The Lift development group. Lift’s planning team also keeps organisational capacity under
constant review

Understanding the relationships between Lift, The Lift and the Lift Festivals. Alongside
the development of The Lift structure and the 2008 Festival, Lift has been exploring how it will
develop as an organisation. Does Lift become The Lift? If The Lift is appearing in Newcastle,
Brisbane or Pune, is that Lift? What does The Lift travel with? Will Lift become a touring
organisation? If it does, what are the implications for the organisation’s funding? What
organisational capacity will be needed to manage the new model?

The relationship of Lift, the Lift biennial Festival, The Lift in London, and The Lift on tour will
evolve as the first year’s programme unfolds, and will vary between hosting partner and Festival.
Lift’s planning for The Lift has established the following working principles, however:

• Lift will continue to produce a biennial, London-based Festival, which will have The Lift
and its activities at its heart. Lift aims that each of these Festivals should combine an east
or south-east London programme with a central London appearance, and that
participatory activity developed with east and south-east London residents should be
central to the programming.

• Outside Festival appearances, The Lift will travel within London, the UK and
internationally, with the main priorities being east and south-east London and
international touring.

• Lift has evolved a series of models for use of The Lift. In the `partner model’, largely in
London, Lift will work closely with the partner organisation on the programming and
project/production management of The Lift, including developing participatory activity
with local communities. In the `hire model’ Lift will devolve the curation and management
of The Lift to the partner organisation, offering support, training and models for activity.

• It is planned, subject to funding, that Lift’s international Seekers will host The Lift in their
own communities, including the new Seekers to be appointed for the 2010 and 2012
Festivals. Programming and content developed as the structure tours may then travel
back with it to London and Lift Festivals or East London appearances.

• The theme and programming for each appearance of The Lift will be determined locally,
working in the framework of the structure’s protocols, its emphasis on welcome, debate
and inter-generational and inter-cultural participation and communication. The Lift’s core
themes – of environment, community and identity, the global and the local – will travel
MMM exemplar case study: Lift
with it but will be newly interpreted in each community.

• The Lift will also travel with its history: the `spatial constitution’ and the structure’s
protocols evolved from the Creative Workshop programme, and a developing archive of
documentation, conversation, creative activity housed by the virtual Lift website.
Participants will also contribute to the physical structure: central to the design is the idea
that The Lift can be adapted, modified, decorated by its participants.

In developing the design, business models and protocols for the use of The Lift, Lift is working to
ensure that the structure is accessible to partner organisations: flexible, adaptable to different
situations, affordable, with clear management procedures and budgeting structures. Lift is also
working to ensure that has the organisational capacity to manage and support a variety of
partnerships with different organisations across the UK and internationally, and that while doing
so it can retain its focus on the priority areas of work in London.

The impact on Lift Learning. Learning and participation have, historically, been central to Lift.
Since the late 1990s traditional distinctions between learning and programming have become
progressively more blurred, and learning and participation were central themes in the Enquiry.
This aspect of Lift’s work has, however, had a lower public profile than the Lift Festivals. In Lift’s
new vision, participatory work – deep and long term processes of engagement with diverse
communities - moves to the heart of Lift’s public presence through the programming of The Lift
and the biennial Festivals.

This prominence is already evident in the build-up to The Lift. Lift has developed a new model of
participation to frame the community consultation process for The Lift, and to maintain its
involvement with those communities up to and beyond the launch of the structure. In parallel,
the 2007 Lift Trailblazer events are participatory: in particular Eat London (April 2007), in which
14 groups drawn from East London’s diverse communities are working with artists Ali&Cia to
sculpt a giant edible model of central London.

The organisation is conscious of the tensions and challenges of moving to a largely participatory
programme. Such projects, particularly on a large scale, are extraordinarily demanding of the
organisation, especially in terms of human and financial resources. Lift is developing new
approaches to partnership and project management to enable the involvement of more fluid and
informal community groups in its long-term participatory activity, while maintaining its
established network and partnerships with the formal education sector.

In placing process-driven participatory work in the public domain alongside more established
approaches to theatre-making, Lift is also making new demands of its audiences, inviting them
to engage with a much broader concept of performance. Lift is also conscious of the tensions in a
community consultation process which may result in programming very different to that
envisaged by the some of the consulted groups; tensions which Lift views as creative and
dynamic, but which will need careful management and communication.

Virtual Lift. In response to the opportunities of new technology and expanded public
engagement it can allow, Lift has launched as part of its rebranding, their website has been
relaunched offering browsers a forum to comment and exchange views with Lift and each other.
Lift is prioritising two major opportunities offered by digital technology: the Lift Living Archive,
and the Virtual Lift. The Lift Living Archive is planned to present the wealth of archive material in
different media including photography, documentation, correspondence, posters, sound archives,
film and programme books which tell a unique story of the development of contemporary
international performance in London. The Lift Living Archive will form a central part of Lift’s
developing virtual presence and be part of the Virtual Lift. The Virtual Lift. The Lift has the
potential to travel around the world, connecting artists, audiences and communities and as such,
the project has clear synchronicities with global developments in online activity and from its very
inception. Lift also recognises that establishing a virtual presence of global reach is a potentially
MMM exemplar case study: Lift
enormous project that will require new skills sets within the organisation. Initial advice has been
sought from online company Magic Lantern, and from new media specialist Tim Jones,
coordinator of the Node festival of digital art. Lift also wants to keep the virtual presence
relatively easy to implement, and simple to use and maintain, in part to keep it manageable
within resources and also to future-proof it, given the pace of technological change.

Creative risks. Lift is breaking new ground with the development of The Lift: an
entrepreneurial and innovative project, initiating new partnerships, developing new ways of
working and new ways of engaging with communities and with contemporary issues. Each stage
of the project is informed by deep consultation across the organisation, its partners in the Lift
2008 Festival, and with communities across east and south-east London. Such a project is
inherently risky, raising fundamental challenges of capacity and funding, of organisational
definition and priorities, of re-framing partnerships. Lift has ensured that at each stage of the
planning process these issues are addressed, alongside the new and unexpected challenges that
inevitably emerge in the development of a significant and innovative project.

MMM exemplar case study: Lift

The call to action The trials Wise advisors The prizes The return

Wise advisors

On any journey, we encounter people who are guides and guardians on the path. Lift is involving
an extraordinarily wide group of people in the development of The Lift. Below we outline some of
the people and events that have most contributed to Lift’s journey.


Architectural practice AOC Architecture, with engineers Momentum & Mark Prizeman, won The
Lift architectural competition in May 2006 with a stunning initial design. More importantly, they
expressed a firm commitment to a participatory method of evolving the design into a finished
structure, which has continued through an extensive series of Creative Workshops from
September 2006 through to March 2007.


The Lift Seekers are an expanding team of artists, producers, festival directors, educationalists,
scientists and activists who will connect communities and organisations in London and around
the world, through the activities of The Lift.

The Seekers are an essential part of Lift’s new vision, enabling new participatory relationships
between audiences, artists and curators. They will share ideas and cultural practice from the UK,
Kenya, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, China, Canada, India and Bangladesh. They will
work collaboratively with artists, participants and audiences and they will find and commission
new work that responds to local issues and reflects international connections.

East London communities

One of the aims of The Lift is to develop a new model for connecting arts and the community.
From September to December 2006, working with architects AOC and a team of artists, Lift
engaged local communities from across five east and south-east London boroughs in a series of
over 30 consultations, or Creative Workshops.

The groups involved ranged from Discovery Children’s Forum in Newham, to 491 Gallery in
Waltham Forest and Half Moon Young People’s Theatre in Hackney. This first set of workshops
focused on the concept and physical build of The Lift.

The participants were questioned about how they feel about different types of spaces and
atmospheres, where they have great conversations, what activities they think should take place
inside The Lift and what it should look like. In this way, they have been able to play a central
part in the final design of the structure, as their comments and feedback were built into AOC’s
final Architectural Brief in January 2007.

“There shouldn’t be a difference between participate and watch. It’s an interactive space and the
borders are a bit erased.”
Goldsmiths College creative workshop

“You need to be able to go outside to get fresh air and a change of scene – like having a sorbet
to cleanse the palette.”
Forum @ Greenwich creative workshop

“The building should help everyone out.”

Half Moon Young People’s Theatre creative workshop
MMM exemplar case study: Lift

This model of participation / community engagement will enable Lift to develop new audiences
who feel a sense of ownership of the work programmed.

In addition, the outcomes from the Creative Workshops have provided Lift’s team of international
artists with a curatorial brief as each group wrote a letter to the Seekers outlining their thoughts
and ideas. This way the Seekers can connect The Lift to their own localities around the globe,
makings links and facilitating conversations. They will also select artists or commission new work
that responds to and resonates with the issues identified during the Creative Workshops process.

Building Development Group

A smaller group of east and south-east London residents, representing each of the groups
involved in the creative workshop process, is working more closely with Lift on The Lift. The
Building Development Group meets monthly, acting as consultants to Lift, AOC and the Seekers.

Partners and advocates

The Lift is a Lift initiative built in partnership with venues in east and central London. Our
partners in Stratford include Theatre Royal Stratford East, Stratford Circus, East London Dance,
Theatre Venture, Urban Development, NewCEYS and the Discovery Centre. In central London our
key partner is Southbank Centre. Lift is currently working with all its partner organisations on the
shaping of the Lift 2008 Festival, which will open in Stratford before travelling to Southbank

Lift Board of Directors and Founders

The Lift Board is an invaluable knowledge and expertise resource for The Lift, and Amelia Fawcett
has been an exemplary Chair, steering the organisation through succession, transition and into
the biggest (and already the most successful) fundraising drive in the history of the organisation.
The Board generously provide support, networks and experience in areas of finance and
corporate development, PR, tourism, cultural industries, audience development, education and
learning, local authority regeneration, action research, regional development, the arts and
private and public sector brokers. Rose Fenton and Lucy Neal (founders of Lift) and Angela
McSherry (previous Administrative Producer) have also been generous enablers of the transition
to a new leadership and vision – providing personal and public support to the new direction.

The Lift Development Group

The Business Arts Forum, a Lift initiative led by Julia Rowntree, has been re-imagined for the
organization’s current transition operational mode as The Lift Development Group with a specific
brief to advise and support Lift in raising funds for The Lift. Individual members of the BAF gave
feedback, advice and contacts to set up a Development group, chaired by Amelia Fawcett and
bringing together Lift Board members and external members. The group includes a corporate
strategy consultant and East London property developer.

Lift staff

The Lift team is one of the organisation’s greatest assets. Bringing together a depth and breadth
of diverse experience in the arts, education and cultural sector, Lift’s staff are an incredibly
motivated team who consistently show a collective ability to achieve extraordinary things, from
fundraising to production, marketing to organisation development. They are a values led, vision
driven team. Lift also has a culture of a learning organisation at all levels, and it is an
organisation where everybody’s input and opinion is listened to and valued.

Lift secondments and placements

MMM exemplar case study: Lift

Lift has a long history of welcoming short term placements and internships within the
organisation. In the development of The Lift, these have included Alice King-Farlow, a Fellow on
the Clore Leadership Programme whose Clore secondment at Lift involved
invaluable, considered work on future business and operational models once The Lift exists.
Furthermore, Lift has had a secondee from the Step Change programme, Nathalie Abrahami (co-
director of the Gate Theatre) who has been working with Angharad on developing the Seeker
projects for the Lift Festival in 2008.

Lift has also a changing team of volunteer placements (who work on Lift projects for around 3
months each) who bring external perspectives, energy and critical feedback into the process, as
well as essential delivery.

Arts Council England London

ACE London were supportive from the start. The ambitions of Lift chimed with their own. They
consistently challenged us on our capacity and encouraging us to do less better enabled Lift to
delay the first festival from November 2007 to June 2008, allowing more time to fundraise,
develop our East London partnerships and relationships with the communities. Ultimately, their
input and support has given us a better chance at being sustainable in the long term…intelligent
funding at its best. As the comprehensive spending review looms, the pressures on the sector for
public delivery mount, and the capacity to think longer term shrinks. The Lift is a new model,
and will need time and resources to learn as it grows. The challenge is for ACE to continue to
support innovation in a much tougher climate.

New media advisers

The virtual possibilities around The Lift are many and varied, and Lift has sought external advice
on the forms this might take.

Magic Lantern. Lift has been advised by Anthony Lilley and Paula Ledieu from Magic Lantern, a
company specialising in creative online projects.

Tim Jones. A recipient of one of ACE’s creative producer bursaries, Tim combines a theatre
production background with digital experience as producer of the Node festival of events and an
in-depth understanding of the creative possibilities around new media events.

Jonathan Drori. Previously Director of Culture Online, Jonathan Drori has advised Lift on its
online strategy and direction.

MMM exemplar case study: Lift

The call to action The trials Wise advisors The prizes The return

The prizes

As with all the MMM exemplars, Lift’s story of innovation is ongoing, and as such the final prizes
for which they set out on this journey to claim are still being secured. However, as with all
journeys, the benefits are often to be found in the process rather than the destination.

Prizes won. Although Lift’s new vision will not be fully realized until June 2008, with the
opening of The Lift and the first biennial Festival programmed in collaboration with Lift’s Seekers
and with East London communities, the organisation is already benefiting from the project’s

These benefits include:

• a broader platform of supporters and stakeholders. Funding for The Lift has already been
raised from a wide range of sources, including Arts Council England, local authorities
including the London Borough of Newham, Shoreditch Trust (a New Deal for Communities
organisation), trusts and foundations and individual donors. There is also growing interest
in The Lift from the corporate sector, both in relation to its internationalism and its
potential for corporate social responsibility activities.
• Lift has also drawn a broad range of stakeholders into the development of The Lift,
including the members of the Development Group, specialists in new media and digital
arts, partners across east and south-east London, and other individuals and organizations
with interests in broad issues from social capital to environmentalism. Their interest and
expertise contributes both to the development of The Lift and to the organisation as a
Lift has built a range of new partnerships around The Lift and the 2008 Festival,
particularly with organizations in east and south-east London, and is developing
partnerships to enable the structure to tour. Lift’s own approach to partnership is evolving
and becoming more flexible: the core mission of the organisation remains firm, but within
that framework Lift is able to adapt to meet the needs of a specific partner or community
• Lift’s public, sectoral and international profile is developing, from the considerable
national and local press interest generated by Eat London to invitations and requests
internationally for information on Lift’s new programming model
Through management of a complex consultation and capital project alongside
development of the 2008 Festival and Lift’s Trailblazer events, Lift is becoming a more
skilled and a more flexible organisation, with robust planning and risk-management
practices. Lift is also moving into a longer-term planning and funding cycle, mapping the
journeys and partnerships of The Lift up to the Olympics in 2012.
• Although yet to be confirmed or made public, the richness, variety and distinctiveness of
the Seeker’s proposals for the 2008 Festival already demonstrate the value of the
devolved programming model Lift has developed.
• The Lift creative workshops have laid the foundation for Lift’s ongoing presence in East
London, building relationships with members of its diverse communities, and developing
new models for engaging with those communities.

MMM exemplar case study: Lift
Prizes ahead

• Once built, The Lift will be Lift’s first major tangible asset, strengthening the
organisation’s balance sheet and offering potential to develop new streams of income
alongside Lift’s core priorities for the structure.
• The Lift is a brand new model for our times. For Lift itself, it allows the organisation to
flex, grow and adapt to a changing environment, rather than replicating existing
practices. Lift will be firmly positioned at the cutting edge of the sector and also
demonstrating new models for engagement with wider social trends.
• The Lift will continue to encourage and enable Lift to develop new partnerships with arts
and non-arts organisations.
• It also presents a new approach to audience development. A new audience is being grown
through active participation: in the creation of The Lift, in involvement in trailblazing
events like Eat London, through an increasingly interactive online presence. As well as
traditional arts attenders, The Lift has the potential to attract and engage with an
audience currently unreached by cultural activity.
• As its activity develops, The Lift has the potential to expand Lift and the wider sector’s
understanding of how a cultural organisation can engage with an increasing number of
participants. There is scope within the whole project for new models of engagement to
continue to evolve in response to the needs of particular situations. The Lift also offers
the cultural sector new models of engaging with communities and with the challenges that
face our cities and our world.
• The development of The Lift and Festival programme also offers new models of
programming through the involvement of a diverse international curatorial team (the
Seekers) who, within the context of this project, combine connections with London
communities with a deeper knowledge and understanding of the cultural activity of their
own regions. During the Lift Festival, London audiences will benefit from a fresh and
distinctive cultural offer.
• For the communities hosting The Lift, Lift offers a space where people can meet and
engage in different ways with what matters with them. Time and time again throughout
the development of the project, participants have voiced the need for a cross-
generational, welcoming and safe space where they can engage in culture, discuss, meet,
eat, celebrate and reflect together. At the moment there is no such space for them.

MMM exemplar case study: Lift

The call to action The trials Wise advisors The prizes The return

The return

Since our hero’s journey is not yet complete, Lift’s return home has yet to be realized. We can
still however learn about:

How the new vision has been received by the wider sector. The importance of The Lift is
already being recognised and Lift is currently talking to a number of national and international
organisations around future national and international residencies (these are still in negotiation,
so are not made public at this stage). Funding agreements in place with the London Borough of
Newham and Shoreditch Trust also provide for residencies in east London and this is a model
that is likely to expand.

The organisation is also garnering support for The Lift from all sectors, public and private. In
April this year an individual giving campaign was launched and Lift has already developed a
vibrant network of funders, partners, advisors and advocates who share the new vision and
recognise the benefits that partnership will bring.

Currently major investors include Arts Council England, the Paul Hamlyn Foundation, the Garfield
Weston Foundation, the London Borough of Newham, Shoreditch Trust.

The impact in East London The process of creating a space such as The Lift demands different
relationships with its users and shareholders, so that everyone involved becomes collaborators.
In a unique curatorial process, communities and audiences from east and south-east London
have engaged in a year-long, artist-led consultation process with the winning architect and play
an active role in shaping how The Lift looks, feels and operates.

Only in this way, could the final design truly respond to the needs, desires and hopes of those
who will use the space.

The process started in May 2006 as Lift and the Architecture Foundation launched an architecture
competition to design The Lift. The selection process consisted of a jury of internationally
renowned architects, designers, and artists, an online public vote and a group of east London
community members.

The community group was led by Sophia de Sousa, Chief Executive of The Glass-House
Community Led Design in London, who said:

“The community jury is an essential first step in the collaborative process that will see Lift, the
design team and members of the community working together to develop The Lift. Acting as
ambassadors for the five London boroughs involved, the community jury members will bring
their input to the selection of the design team and play a vital role in informing the next phase of
broader community participation.”

While The Lift will travel nationally and internationally it will also have a regular presence in east
London – developing partnerships with local authorities – and continuing to involve both the east
and south-east Londoners who have participated in its development and as new communities.

As well as providing a unique and important cultural venue, Lift and The Lift will contribute to
east London’s cultural, social and skills capital in the lead up to 2012 through a variety of
training programmes

MMM exemplar case study: Lift
Mission, Models and Money

Now that we have come to the end of Lift’s story with MMM, what has been the effect of The Lift
project to date on the interdependent areas of mission, models and money.


Models Money

The development of the new model of The Lift has been a direct response to the re-evaluation of
the organisation’s mission following the Lift Enquiry. The proposition of The Lift and the new
model developed to create and deliver it has enabled Lift to engage with a much greater diversity
of funders for support of both the capital and the longer term operations and activities of The Lift
than ever before. Alongside the support of trusts and foundations, local authorities and housing
associations are the early adopters of Lift in London and the organisation is developing significant
long-term international partnerships with the British Council, UK regional cultural initiatives (such
as Newcastle-Gateshead 2010 initiative) and other international hosts (such as the Queensland
government and Flame, a new university in Pune) identified by their network of Seekers. The
corporate sector has been the hardest to engage with in these early stages but it is anticipated
that once the structure is in existence and the Festival programme and other activities confirmed
Lift will also attract their support.

In the last 14 months, Lift have more than doubled the value of their core ACE revenue grant
which is a significant increase on their previous capacity to fundraise. As a new model which is
developing its market as it develops itself, the model, mission and money points of the triangle
require a balance of clarity of vision, opportunism, adaptability and responsiveness. Its short
term (i.e. 5-10 years) sustainability is predicated on core revenue support from ACE. As the
proposition becomes a reality we will be better able to understand measure and predict its value
in different sectors, including its commercial value, developing as sustainable future for Lift and
its assets with less reliance on ACE

Further resources related this story

Hero with a Thousand Faces, Joseph Campbell (1946)

Linking Mission and Money, Nonprofit Finance Fund (2001)
Changing the Performance, Julia Rowntree (2006)
The Turning World, Rose de Wend Fenton and Lucy Neal (2005)
Lift website,