10 Minutes With Flo Carr

Each week I spend 10 minutes with someone from the cultural-sector-meets-digital and ask them about their career, opinions, and what’s on their radar.

This week I spoke with Flo Carr, whom I’ve been working with for about a year on the Insights Alliance.

Flo Carr, Associate at Indigo

Never be nervous about trying something new: whether it’s a project, a system, a piece of analysis, do not think that you can’t do something. With the right support, you can do anything. 

☕ Tea or coffee?

Coffee, sadly instant (usually it would not be!).

💼 About your career and where you are now: accidental or intentional?

Probably accidental!

My approach to a career has always been to be happy in my job, and if something comes up and feels right, to trust my instinct. I’ve never really had a long term plan – but I do have some long-long term goals, but to get there I prefer to trust my instincts and be happy with what I’m doing.

Theatre has always been a hobby for me, even before I graduated. I studied Classics at the University of Cambridge, but I was not a very diligent student because I spent all of my time in the amazing student theatre. My first job was working there (ADC Theatre at the University of Cambridge) as a Marketing and Front of House Manager, and then Theatre Manager. It’s an amazing place, and brilliant people have come out of there. It was my dream job!

I then worked for Cambridge Live as their Press & Marketing Manager. It was brilliant, I got to work on the Cambridge Folk Festival, and it’s where I stepped out of the student world to go into a broader range of cultural events and city-wide programmes. 

I then moved to London and became the English National Opera’s CRM Executive: that gave me lots of experience of working in a much bigger company, it was in the opera world, and I specialised in CRM & email strategy and marketing for 3 years, which I really loved.

I moved to the Arcola Theatre, a brilliant off-West End producing theatre, as Head of Communications & Marketing in 2019, but unfortunately with COVID, I ended up furloughed in April 2020. During that time, I started helping Katy Raines at Indigo on the After the Interval national sentiment survey. A year later and I’m now working full-time for Indigo!

📚 Describe your current job

Indigo is a cultural sector consultancy specialising in all things marketing, fundraising and data. We work with a range of cultural clients on audience development strategy, CRM, fundraising, systems, business strategy… In the last year we have also moved more into large scale national cultural audience sentiment tracking with the COVID recovery surveys (After the Interval, Act 2, and now Culture Restart): we have been tracking audience sentiment around COVID, intention to return, and consumption of digital. The Indigo team are fantastic, I love the variety of projects I get to work on and it has been amazing to be able to provide this vital audience data to the sector during COVID.

🤩 What are you working on right now that you’re particularly enjoying?

I’m working on a project called Tramway Revisited: it’s different to anything I’ve worked on before. It’s funded by Innovate UK: the goal is to develop a toolkit of some kind to support venues, producers and audiences to return to live events after COVID.

It has involved so far developing a ‘digital twin’ of Tramway in Glasgow: we’re looking at how we can do different outputs for audiences to explore this virtual space, to understand COVID measures that are in place, how producers can use that to plan shows, how venues can use it to plan their audience management…

We’re also exploring how that might work post-COVID, and whether there are possibilities for widening access, using it to push the idea of a full ‘relaxed’ venue where anyone could understand what the venue would be like ahead of their visit.

Indigo’s bit in that project is all about understanding the audience appetite for this.

📣 What’s happening in the industry that’s on your radar?

At the moment it’s the hybrid between digital and live experiences. I’ve got tickets for Dream Online at the RSC, which I am so excited about. I think a lot of people are really excited to see what this digital disruption time will bring to the industry, and how that’s going to change things in the future. There is a lot of potential for more hybrid experiences in theatre in the future.

📖 Anything you’d recommend to read/watch/listen to?

I’ve been listening to a podcast lately called More or Less on BBC Sounds: they’re 10-minute episodes looking at a statistic or figure from that week and breaking it down, so it’s about helping people to understand data and what it means in different contexts. In just 10 minutes you get a really interesting and entertaining deep dive into it.

I’ve been reading a brilliant book called Culture is Bad for You: Inequality in the Cultural and Creative Industries written by Orian Brook, Dave O’Brien and Mark Taylor: it challenges all the things we tell ourselves in the industry about the power of culture and examines who is currently working in the sector, looking at race, class, gender, who is being excluded from these occupations and what that means about the work being produced and who then goes on to consume that. So it’s about a cycle of exclusion and inequality in culture. 

💡 What advice would you give someone who would like to do what you do?

Never be nervous about trying something new: whether it’s a project, a system, a piece of analysis, do not think that you can’t do something. Have a go and normally you find that you can do it! Especially if you’re willing to ask for advice from the right people, then you can do anything. 

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