Adaptive Resilience

Mark Robinson was one of the first people to write about resilience in the arts and cultural sector, publishing Making Adaptive Resilience Real in 2010 and then The Role of Diversity in Building Adaptive Resilience Real (co-written with Tony Nwachukwu) in 2011. He bears a certain amount of guilt for that, but only a certain amount. Lots more has been written about the subject since, much of it missing out on the adaptive and funding systems aspects of that first paper.

Adaptive resilience is defined as ‘The capacity to remain productive and true to core purpose and identity whilst absorbing disturbance and adapting with integrity in response to changing circumstances’ but it is important to note the role of creativity in that, and the impact the cultural sector can have on its environment. Our research has identified 8 characteristics that tend to make organisations more resilient over time, and more able to ride the rollercoaster of the adaptive cycle without losing your nerve.

Thinking Practice can work with individual organisations, with groups of organisations in a particular place, or with artform-based groups or networks to first examine current indicators of resilience and then work on building up the most relevant elements.

Here are a few Thinking Practice resources and links to papers you might find useful.


Making Adaptive Resilience Real

The Role of Diversity in Building Adaptive Resilience


ArtWork (Community Arts Network South Australia) Special Edition 2011


8 characteristics of adaptive resilience

5 Things people forget about ‘resilience’