Alan Brown (he/him), Managing Principal of WolfBrown, is a leading researcher and management consultant in the arts and culture sector worldwide. His work focuses on understanding consumer demand for cultural experiences and evaluating support structures for the arts. Brown helps industry leaders make informed decisions and respond to changing conditions. His studies have introduced new vocabulary to the lexicon of cultural participation. Furthermore, they have propelled the field towards a clearer view of the rapidly changing cultural landscape.
At the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Alan conceived and directed the Audience Outlook Monitor’s COVID-19 Study. Importantly, this was a longitudinal analysis of audience attitudes about attending cultural events during the pandemic, involving over 650 organizations worldwide. The study builds on Alan’s vision of low-cost, cohort-based studies. These are a means of making access to professional-quality market research more equitable for arts organizations of all types, not just those with access to foundation grants.
Alan works at the nexus of cohorts of arts organizations and foundations striving to build audiences, deepen community connections, and capitalize appropriately. He has facilitated cohort learning efforts for grantees of The Wallace Foundation, the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the James Irvine Foundation, the Flinn Foundation, and others.
He has authored research reports for the National Endowment for the Arts, Canada Council for the Art, Arts Council England, and numerous other foundations and agencies. Applied audience research, including customer segmentation, remains a thrust of Alan’s work. Recent studies were done with Cal Performances, University Musical Society, Steppenwolf, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Welsh National Opera, Glyndebourne Opera Festival, Pacific Symphony, San Francisco Ballet, Chicago History Museum, and Vulcan.
Brown is working as a facilitator and change agent with institutional partners committed to transformational change. He is drawing on frameworks for cultural democracy, artistic vibrancy, and civic practice. For the next several years, he will focus on guiding arts organizations through the research and development process toward new product lines in the digital, immersive, and virtual spaces.
As a contribution to the field, Alan developed the CultureLab website. This is a knowledge hub and archiving solution for students, researchers, and practitioners working in the cultural sector. He has chaired the Cultural Research Network, a worldwide network of researchers working in the cultural sector. Brown is a guest lecturer at the Accademia Teatro alla Scala in Milan, Italy. Finally, he also speaks frequently at conferences in the US and overseas.
In the past year, Alan launched several communities of practice, including Audience Outlook Monitor and Immersed in the Future. Recent contributions to our “On Our Minds” flagship newsletter include a discussion of equity in strategic planning.
Alan can be reached directly via email.