CT Consults

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The Importance of Experiencing

Posted on: January 19th, 2024 by ctceditor

The team here at CTConsults makes a conscious effort to do something together once a month during working hours. This routine monthly occurrence is dubbed ‘Culture Club’ and let me tell you why we do it and what we’ve been up to.

During 2023, we got out and about and experienced a wide range of events – not just limited by culture. We saw Factory International in each stage of its opening, from Jerram’s First Breath, socialising in a sunny Festival Square and then seeing the extent of its exhibition space with You Me and The Balloons. Some of our other highlights include, The Manchester Flower Festival, The Science and Industry Museum’s The Power of Music and A Phantom’s Remains at the esea contemporary. We even escaped to the seaside, wrapped up warm for Blackpool’s Lightpool, which adds a contemporary, cultural take to the town’s annual, famous Illuminations. 

Now, having organised time to socialise as a team has its obvious benefits: it’s fun, it gives us something to look forward to and it lets us get to know one another outside of the office. It is also important to the work we do as consultants.Immersing ourselves in these different experiences allows us to see, first hand, the sectors we work to support, taking inspiration from stimulating new ideas and practice. By no means do we attend Culture Club with notebooks and magnifying glasses at the ready – quite the opposite. We go, we enjoy, we experience and then we talk, chat and share our thoughts. What better way to gauge the impact of the current cultural and experience market than as an active participant.

That is why every last Friday in the month you’ll find us all gone early doors. Let us know if there is something we should see at your place as we will definitely take a look.

Explore the all-new Creative Tourist!

Posted on: July 19th, 2023 by ctceditor

For over a decade, Creative Tourist has been connecting its culturally curious audiences with unmissable experiences in the North of England. Our updated website is helping us to go wider and deeper with this mission, as we reveal more arts and cultural gems than ever before.

Head to creativetourist.com and you’ll find guides to cultural destinations right across the North, from small towns to major cities. These guides join the dots between standout attractions of every kind, from heritage sites to future-leaning theatre shows. The idea is to encourage readers to explore both what’s on their doorstep and what lies beyond their usual arts and cultural stomping ground, while revealing connections between places.

There’s a huge amount of information on the site, but it’s incredibly easy to find, with improved navigation getting you to the heart of the matter in a few clicks. Events feeds, for example, now allow you to search by both category and location. Looking for exhibitions in Leeds? Or theatre in York? There’s a filter for that.

Explore these new features and many more besides while taking a quick trip around our new site. We have to say, we’re rather proud of it.

CultureHosts needs your help!

Posted on: October 28th, 2022 by ctceditor

We’re gathering insights to improve CultureHosts, our digital events listings platform.

Do you have 20 minutes to share your thoughts and experiences with independent consultant-researchers & designers at Absurd.

Your input will help us to refine the platform, and help you promote to promote your culture and events more effectively.

Please email Absurd@ctconsults.com


CTConsults recognised in the InnovateUK Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) Scheme

Posted on: March 16th, 2022 by ctceditor

We are delighted to share a really exciting job opportunity to work full time on an 18-month Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) to develop and embed a range of strategic management capabilities that will facilitate the rapid growth of the business by exploring digital transformation and exploiting digital market opportunities in the UK cultural heritage and tourism sector.

Employed and supported by a team of academic experts from the Manchester Metropolitan University, you will be based at CTConsults premises in the vibrant and growing Northern Quarter Manchester City Centre.

For more information about the project and how to apply click here 

The Case for Culture in the North

Posted on: January 21st, 2022 by ctceditor

Congratulations to the team who took on the huge undertaking of delivering the All Party Parliamentary Group report ‘The Case for Culture:What Northern Culture Needs to Rebuild, Rebalance and Recover’.

CTConsults is proud to have supported this crucial, laudable and urgent work. The publishing of this report is a significant step towards positioning culture as the fastest way to achieve the Levelling Up ambitions for our region. The cross-party support for the report demonstrates the shared understanding that culture is a vital tool for regeneration and recovery.

In particular, we are pleased to see the prioritisation of improving digital infrastructure  – we are passionate that digital transformation within the cultural and tourism sectors is essential to drive sector growth and innovation.

Collaboration talks to heart of our core values. This is the first time the North has come together as a region to champion and create a pan-Northern vision for the cultural sector, and we are hopeful it will bring together many of the initiatives and programmes we have been involved with and advised on over the last 10 years to support destination marketing, in relation to cultural assets.

Many of our current and former clients are featured case-studies  in the report – both urban and rural – such as York where we delivered a place brand, and Cumbria where we are currently developing a cultural strategy.

How will CTConsults implement the recommendations of this report? We will continue to commit to working with our clients to ensure culture is ingrained in all sectors. We care deeply about cultural- and place-based collaboration, and will continue to help places prominently position culture, heritage and tourism within their investment principals as tool for Levelling Up across all our work, whether cultural strategy, placemaking, digital transformation or place brand.

Once again, thanks and applause to the Northern Culture Club on this achievement, and we look forward to working with partners to realise its aims.

A visit to West Cumbria unearths unique commercial arts initiative

Posted on: January 11th, 2022 by ctceditor

Before Christmas, Amy, Alex & Andrew visited West Cumbria to conduct a stakeholder workshop, with our associate John Knell of The Intelligence Agency. CTConsults has been commissioned to develop a Cultural Strategy for the area, a vast and rugged region which encompasses industrial and maritime heritage, futuristic technologies, sandy coast and the quieter areas of the Lake District National Park. 

The workshop was held at the Florence Arts Centre, located at a former haematite mine just outside of Egremont. When the mine opened in the late 19th century, it was the deepest in Europe; at its closure in 2008, it was the last working deep mine on the continent. Since then, the site has been home to an active artist community and arts centre, comprising studios, theatre & events space, gallery, café and shop.  The arts centre is one of the partners on the recently announced Creative People & Places project for West Cumbria.

The former mining infrastructure looms over the arts centre, and iron ore dust coats everything with a striking, rich red pigment. It is an atmospheric location which speaks to both the industrial and agricultural heritage of the area. On the rainy day we visited, even the puddles were bright red. Pigment from the mine has been used for centuries by local farmers, who use it to mark the fleeces of the famous Cumbrian Herdwick sheep. 

Now, the artists working at Florence use this pigment to create their own paints, inks and pencils. The Florence Paintmakers use locally-sourced materials and traditional techniques to manufacture the products by hand. This range of high-quality art materials can be purchased here and provides a sustainable source of income for the Centre. More information and images can be found here.

This is a brilliant example of creative placemaking, where the very ground itself is used to create art which is distinctly and uniquely of this place. The CTConsults team looks forward to exploring more of West Cumbria on further visits, as the project progresses.

Iron ore stains the puddles bright red

New year, new team

Posted on: January 11th, 2022 by ctceditor

As 2022 arrives, CTConsults is delighted to welcome some new and old faces to the team.

Starting with creativetourist.com, where we cover events, activities and places across the North of England, we are thrilled that Johnny James and Emily Waller have made the transition from freelancers to staff members. Johnny becomes Managing Editor and Music Editor, in between performing with his band The Blinders. Emily is looking after sales and campaigns for our valued clients and partners.

Sophie Young has started as Digital Data Analyst to support our expanding digital team. Sophie will be preparing insight reports, analysis and findings for our clients, such as for West Midlands Growth Company in their readiness to host the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games this year.

Finally, we are joined by new Place Consultant and former client, Amy Lewis. Amy will be helping meet the demands of our growing place-branding, masterplanning and cultural strategy projects, and is already enjoying building relationships with clients up and down the country.

Welcome, everyone.

Have a look at our Team page for more details about all our team members.

Moving on

Posted on: September 7th, 2021 by ctceditor

After 10 years, one of our founding Directors Helen Palmer has made the difficult decision to leave CTConsults at the end of September.

With full support from the team at CTConsults, Helen has chosen to step aside so that she can concentrate on working more directly with the cultural sector and to build on her 15 years working as one half of Palmer Squared, a marketing and audience development consultancy established with her brother Andrew. This will include working with the outdoor arts experts Walk the Plank on their major, once in a lifetime Festival UK* 2022 commission – Green Space, Dark Skies.

Helen commented: ‘It’s been an extraordinary 10 years as part of a great team working to build CTConsults into the agency it is today. I’ve been lucky to work in some amazing destinations with clients across the UK and overseas. But it’s now time for me to focus on what really brings me joy and that’s working directly with and as part of the cultural sector to support and enable organisations to engage with a diverse range of audiences to explore creativity in all its forms. I wish the company all the very best for the future, not least because my brother Andrew is still one of the Directors!’

Under Helen’s stewardship alongside founding Directors Alex Saint, Andrew Palmer, Dan Lukas, and Mat Bend, CTConsults has evolved from its initial beginnings focusing on cultural tourism consultancy and its award-winning creativetourist.com what’s on listings site, into a place-based consultancy with key strengths in digital transformation and place branding.

Helen’s highlights of the last 10 years include developing Norfolk and Suffolk’s first cultural tourism strategy which led to increased investment and support for the region’s cultural sector. Amidst many other highlights, she led on creating London’s first cultural tourism strategy which helped to inform the Borough of Culture initiative, supported Bristol and Bath on their collaborative two-city cultural tourism journey, created new visioning strategies for National Museums Northern Ireland’s Ulster Folk Museum and Ulster American Folk Park, and delivered cultural tourism workshops in Denmark, Iceland and the Faroe Islands.


Welcome to our new team members

Posted on: September 6th, 2021 by ctceditor

Over the summer we’ve been busy expanding our team to meet the demands of our growing client base and workload.

Our new Operations Manager Pam McNally has joined us to manage our team, lead on our finances, work with our Directors on business planning, resourcing and generally ensure the smooth running of the office.

Following our appointment by West Midlands Growth Company to deliver the Digital Visitor Engagement strand of their Business and Tourism Programme, leveraging benefits from the upcoming Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games, we have appointed Ollie Ferres as our Digital Projects Manager and are currently recruiting a Digital Analyst.

As part of the consortium appointed by Fáilte Ireland to deliver major strands of their ambitious Digital that Delivers programme, we have recruited Megan McGurren as the Bookable Experience Development Project Coordinator, Eleanor Higgins as the CRM Manager and we are pleased to once again be working with consultants Anh Nguyen, Carly Straughan and Mike Newman.

Welcome all.

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