[ISEA2023] Paper: Nicolas Ricci & Marine Agogué — Drivers for resilience in cultural organizations: lessons from the Montreal festivals in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic


Short Paper, Theme: Museums – Curation  Sub theme: Symbiotic Organization

Crises such as the COVID-19 pandemic represent appropriate moments to innovate. Many organizations in the cultural sector have thus proposed numerous changes in their activities trying to develop new forms of symbiosis, bringing back the notion of resilience.

Beyond its buzz word aspect, resilience has essentially been associated with a set of organizational capacities to adapt and innovate in the face of a disruption in the cultural environment, leaving little consideration to question the main drivers of resilience in cultural organizations.

We propose then to study the adaptation of the Montreal festivals offer, building on primary data from 8 interviews with festival directors or managers and secondary data from internal and external documentation. We therefore mobilize the concept of the business model to identify and discuss the drivers for resilience in cultural organizations.

We show a trend for festivals to come back to their formal business model despite the deployment of different innovations and identify role and purpose as the two main drivers for the resilience of festivals.

Finally, we call for a comparison with other cultural organizations to discuss the preserving and reconfiguring aspects of their resilience.