Get to know our new BOSS
Who is the BOSS?
The Box-Office Systems Specialist at thrive is myself, Alix Craig, hiya.
I have a background in the first-hand operations of ticketing systems, alongside a joint honours degree in the arts. I also have training in coding and arts production, and I’ve done on-the-ground social research in many people-focused culture roles. These roles have given me keen insight into audiences: how they relate to the arts, as well as one another. With my skills, I’m able to be part of the wider focus on audience research within the arts sector. I’m always in the habit of making pals, so if you see me, please introduce yourself (if I don’t do so first). My ethos is one that is primarily focused on people. With this, I’m able to articulate what clients need and help them expand their scope.
My interests are in music and production, technology, literature and the natural world. Previously, you could find me at Deveron Projects, a socially engaged arts organisation where I assisted on the endeavours: Lunar Odyssey, Walking Without Walls, The Community Crockery, White Wood, Think: Brexit, and The Town Is The Garden. Here, I had the opportunity to curate a poster series for Refugee Festival Scotland’s WHO IS? project and co-organised a day of cultural exchange between DP and the Al-Amad (Hope) Project. I also delivered a three-month programme of regular Friday Lunch talks, funded by donations, to provide free and weekly artistic discussion and food in rural Aberdeenshire. So, if you ever need excessive portions of rice, pasta, or potatoes, let me know. Accompanying this work, I also delivered administrative, website-building, and funding efforts. I moved to NI early last year and have worked in several roles for cultural organisations since. I'm thrilled to be supporting the sector from another perspective.
I had a rural upbringing with little arts access. My hometown was devastated by the loss of our local cinema when I was young, which affected me. My hope is, that with this work, I will be able to aid in expanding arts access for more people. Thrive's fundamental goal is to provide cultural support to facilitate work. So, it's a great place to approach the task from.
I am motivated by the big picture and hope my findings will be used to achieve people-focused cultural ongoings in the wider scene. I always want to be collecting and connecting stories to work towards something larger. Accessibility is deeply important to me, and I want to help organisations use their data to adapt and face challenges with confidence.
What is the BOSS role about?
Through this role, we can build stories that show how the community is impacted by the arts. These narratives will show the real-life effects of the work you do, and these will help you make informed bids to further pursue this. We will use both box-office systems and groundwork research to find together the stories that your ticketing data tells. With these, you'll be able to strengthen your relationships with your audiences. Helping you understanding your processes and how to use research for your benefit is my role. I want to help organisations have a stable base of evidence to work from. This will allow the exploration of new territory, and to make artistic risks seem exciting rather than something to fear. I'm looking forward to seeing more people and organisations in NI and helping you move ahead practically.
What does the BOSS do?
The BOSS is all about box-office systems, data gathering and the ability to relate this to audiences. At thrive, there is a fostering of curiosity (how class), and this role will allow me to inhabit and carry this by looking at data and forming stories from it.
I will offer ways to garner who audiences are, assess and fill in informational gaps, and how to measure and enact people-focused goals. This role will allow explorations of practical methods of audience development.
I will help arts and culture organisations to plan for the future. Part of this will come from dispelling myths around their own audiences' engagement and how this knowledge could be used going forward.
I will refine practices of box-office systems, so that they are more user-friendly and legible. I also hope to highlight the essential work of front-of-house staff. People-facing staff are wells of knowledge, with skilled and valuable points of view (and who none of this data would exist without).
I will take knowledge that I have learned to new projects, to create a wider understanding of how to use data effectively. With all this, I will be able to create available resources for anyone to access, should they wish to. My goal is not just for a good day's work. It is to be able to spin a thread between places and time to further build the value of the arts into an ongoing, evidential framework.
With the above, we will enable better communication within the network of cultural organisations in NI. Operational staff will be able to streamline the function of the box-office systems they use. Reading and understanding data will be easier. In turn, this will be used by marketing teams who can plan for relevant communications and strategise on both new and returning audiences. This knowledge sharing between your whole team will aid in smooth and full delivery of services. This will strengthen the motives and outcomes of your organisation, and we can carry this practical knowledge to other places, too.
This is a particularly challenging time for arts organisations. Funding is thin, and there is a continual prioritisation towards a culture of cuts. There is a genuinely astounding arts culture in NI. Much of it is grassroots, run by hope and creativity, and deserves infinitely more material support. I am really hoping that I will be able to create connections with organisations of all sizes and help them use our research to continue their work.
I am thrilled that thrive have chosen me to be a part of their team. Everybody is so welcoming, honest, and communicative. It's been exciting to be so engaged in research and help out on a variety of projects. I am looking forward to continue expanding my vision and abilities to assist both people and artwork through tangible methods.