Knowledge Centre Blog

Inspiring Commercial Opportunities for Culture

Intelligent Naivety Commercial Opportunities for Museums & Culture Institutions

‘Intelligent Naivety Commercial Opportunities for Museums & Culture Institutions’ available to download at

We might be biased, but we think that any arts organisation thinking of commercialising its assets should read ‘Intelligent Naivety – Commercial Opportunities for Museums & Cultural Institutions’ by Simon Cronshaw and Peter Tullin. We are big fans of this entrepreneurial pair, so much so we’ve hand delivered copies of this book to people we think should read it. Simon and Peter are also co-founders of the fantastic Culture Label, and Peter travelled to Dublin from the UK (twice) to speak and take part in New Stream events at our request.

In the forward, Marcel Knobil rightly points out that, “product design and its promotion frequently exploit a feast of cultural inspiration. But has the ‘Culture Vulture’ delivered much in return? It certainly isn’t a one way relationship, but it’s not a marriage of equal parts. For cultural endeavour to flourish, as it deserves to do so, it needs to capitalise on entrepreneurial talent and approaches. This isn’t compromise – it’s enterprise.”

You might say that things are different in the UK, and real commercial opportunities do not exist for cultural organisations in Ireland. We challenge that view and suggest you seek out examples such as the IMMA Editions,  the National Gallery of Ireland Greeting Card range; The Chester Beatty Library’s range of scarves, ties and jigsaws inspired by their collection.

In the book, Simon and Peter identify common features of successful cultural enterprise including:

  • How information that helps any cultural institution to understand its consumer is invaluable
  • Preparation is critical for new cultural entrepreneurs who identify and profit from new/future trends
  • How success often depends on the ability to continually identify and negotiate with collaborators and leverage those collective assets
  • Realising the importance of uniting people at an emotional level – a sense of belonging to a group that is working together to create
  • If you are supplying a consumer demand it is important to communicate and SELL it

Like most things, it is not rocket-science, but when practical information is presented well and easily digested, you never know what ideas and plans it can spark.

Intelligent Naivety – Commercial Opportunities for Museums & Cultural Institutions is available to download for free here

Culture Label is a curated collection of art and artist-designed products which is sourced from the world’s leading museum stores, galleries, artists, designer-makers and independent boutiques.

Design by New Graphic.