Top 10 art and culture posts in Guardian Culture professionals

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1 Disability and the arts: the best of times, the worst of times

Jo Verrent, senior producer at Unlimited, set the stage for the Culture Pros Network’s series on disability arts, which launched in March. In it she examined the key issues affecting disabled artists and organisations in the sector – no easy task in just 1,000 words. It featured some eye-opening statistics and survey findings (eg two-thirds of the British public feel uncomfortable talking to disabled people), a strong list of recent work and a handful of considerations for the industry.
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2 Six creative ways artists can improve communities

One of the network’s most read pieces of the year was Laura Zabel’s feature on the ways in which artists and communities can pull together to solve critical challenges around income inequality, unemployment, education and healthcare. “Any of these challenges could use an artist’s mind,” she wrote. “Artists can illuminate truth, offer transcendent experience in a far too literal world, challenge us to feel, and connect us to our common humanity.”
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3 Museum Selfie day 2015 – in pictures

In January, museum fans, managers and mascots shared their best snaps for #MuseumSelfie day, a global Twitter celebration run by Mar Dixon of CultureThemes to showcase some of the world’s greatest collections. One of our most colourful and action-packed galleries of the year, it featured everything from fractured filters to Cuckoo Bee close-ups.
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A purrfect #MewseumSelfie from the Curatorial Cats twitter account
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A purrfect #MewseumSelfie from the Curatorial Cats Twitter account. Photograph: @CuratorialCats

4 Life at the sharp end as an arts freelancer

Two self-employed arts professionals – marketing and comms consultant Christina Lister and illustrator and author Ben Tallon – offered their top tips in April on how to make it in the rewarding but Darwinian creative world. Know your unique selling point, invest in training and make time for marketing, advised Chrstina. “Cram as much of your personality into your creative output as possible,” said Ben. “In an age when we face so much competition, it’s getting harder to be noticed. Individuality, originality and character will stand out.”
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5 Brain injury survivors are storytelling their way to recovery

Another piece from our disability arts series, this feature from Ben Graham at Headway East London was a particular highlight because of the amount of correspondence it generated. The piece, which revealed how brain injury survivors are tackling discrimination and developing their skills through writing and narrating their experiences, encouraged many other survivors to get in touch with the Guardian to share their stories.
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6 Galleries: let’s ditch the artspeak and artybollocks

A definite contender for most divisive article of the year, Susan Jones’s column on why galleries should listen to George Orwell and never use a long word where a short one will do garnered 100 comments and more than 4,000 social shares. “Why is it necessary for exhibitions to have such pompous, overblown statements?” she questioned, highlighting some of the year’s best and worst offenders when it comes to verbosity, artybollocks and overblown, inaccessible statements.
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7 Five ways to attract new arts audiences

Another of the network’s most read pieces of 2015 came from Manchester Camerata. The chamber orchestra enticed 50% more concertgoers this year and its head of marketing and comms, Paul Davies, was more than happy to share some tips and insights. “Data is crucial to audience development, yet it still baffles me to find marketers who are reluctant to share,” he wrote. “You lose out if you’re territorial about your audience. If you’ve done your research, you’ll be approaching organisations with audiences relevant to your offer.”
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8 #LoveTheatreDay 2015 – as it happened

One of the standout cultural moments of 2015 was #LoveTheatreDay, the Lovie award-winning social media celebration of all things stage. The 24-hour online event – run in partnership by the Guardian Culture Professionals Network, Twitter UK and CultureThemes – featured inspiring videos, backstage glimpses and expert advice. More than 500 theatres, venues, amateur groups and industry bodies from a dozen countries worldwide took part.
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Sheffield Theatres launched this stirring video especially for #LoveTheatreDay, to celebrate the work on and off the stages of the city

9 Music education is out of tune with how young people learn

Sarah Derbyshire’s comment piece on exams and informal approaches to music achieved more than 4,000 social shares. “The established music education sector remains fixated on formal learning (an area that draws an alarmingly narrow demographic),” she wrote in October. “In doing so [it] fails to reflect the diversity of young people, the ways in which they engage with music and the achievements of those who learn away from the exam system.”
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10 What should our museums look like in 2020?

“Museums are much more than repositories of objects; they are meeting places for people and ideas,” said curator and academic Robert Hewison in this blogpost. Three more experts shared their views on the past, present and future of museums. “[They] should be enjoyable, curious, allow us to see beauty and fill us with wonder,” said Whitworth Art Gallery director Maria Balshaw.
Read it here

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