What I’ve Learnt: Alistair Hudson

Do everything to the best of your ability or you won’t sleep at night. The great art dealer Anthony d’Offay told me that and he was right. I worked with him for seven years and it was the most comprehensive education I got in the workings of the world.

You need creativity and a good aesthetic to run a successful business. By this I mean how people relate in a sensory way to what you do. All the big companies – Apple, VW, Tesla and Facebook – get it. Those that don’t usually come a cropper.

Economics is not just about money. In its truest sense, it is a much more holistic idea of ‘good housekeeping’ – how we maintain a good society, environment and relations between people. John Ruskin wrote about this in his Unto This Last as a response to Adam Smith, but no one really listened. Given the mess the planet is in now, I wish we had!

There’s no such thing as mistakes – as long as you learn from them. I’m always amazed by people who have risen again after falling spectacularly.

My advice if you’re thinking of starting a company is to go for it. Someone has to.

Whatever you do, do it with all your heart. That’s the motto of the primary school my children went to. I think it’s great.

Give back what you take out and spend your money well. I see so many rich people spending money badly – I was discussing with a fellow museum director the other day about starting a taste police for wealthy art collectors.

Support others in your sector. The art world is a very generous place on the whole. mima is part of a very strong network of over 30 museums in the UK and overseas and we talk to one another and give support to one another all the time.

I strive for a nurturing environment, where everyone feels they can make a contribution and has a voice. The relationship between how much you contribute and health is well proven.

Encourage a sense of being part of something, a mission or a cause. In terms of mima, this means not art for art’s sake, but a way of making social change through education, making, creativity – and injecting more thoughtfulness and consideration into the world. This has made mima quite a ‘thing’ nationally and internationally, and I think there is some excitement about shaping it – even though it is a lot harder and more complicated that nailing pictures to a wall.

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