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Play and the Oxygenation of the Workplace

Image courtesy of The National Gallery of the Cayman Islands ©

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What is it about?

In this keynote, Emma will talk about how she has developed ‘Principles of Play’ that unlock her particular brand of theatre-making. She will explore how, as an Artistic Director, she has transferred these principles to the office environment.

Playful, controversial and collaborative, she will challenge what we are conditioned to value in the workplace and explore new models of creativity in all areas of life and work.

 

Emma Rice | Artistic Director | Wise Children


AMA conference 2018 — The Power of Play

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One-to-One — SEO and analytics

Eureka! The National Children's Museum - Celebrating 25 Years - The Spark Gallery – Picture date Monday 10 July, 2017 (Halifax, West Yorkshire) 
 
Photo copyright, contact for licensing. For licensed images, credit should read: Jonathan Pow/jp@jonathanpow.com (REF: POW_170710_0047)
Image: Eureka! The National Children’s Museum – Celebrating 25 years – The Spark Gallery

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What is it about?

Individual one-to-one sessions offer you the opportunity to explore your current challenges. Sit down with Daniel to troubleshoot a particular SEO or online analytics challenge you may be facing.

Once you have selected this session, you will be contacted by a member of the AMA team to give a brief line or two on the particular topic you would like to focus on.

What will I gain?

1) Bespoke advice and guidance on SEO and Analytics challenges
2) Insight into your organisation’s online presence and data
3) A troubleshooted, clear understanding of how you can approach your challenge

Who is it for?

Delegates who want to understand how to better approach their online presence and data.

 

 Daniel Rowles | CEO| Target Internet


AMA conference 2018 — The Power of Play

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Hackathon

Image: AMA conference 2016

What is a Hackathon?

In its simplest form, hacking is creative problem solving. It doesn’t have to involve technology but this one will.

The challenge: How can a tech solution improve accessibility within cultural organisations?

You’ll be allocated into a group of 6 people from across the sector in various roles and organisations. There’ll also be tech and digital specialists in your team. Once the Hackathon begins there’ll be discussion around the root of the challenge, creative thinking from all sides, lots of good, bad and ugly ideas and the opportunity to deep dive into your solutions.

Ultimately, the goal is to reach the end of the Hackathon having created a tech solution to a cultural sector problem. You will spend the day working in your teams and present your solution at the end.  This is a great opportunity to improve your problem solving skills and work with a variety of people with different expertise.

Are you ready to create a solution that may revolutionise the cultural sector?

What will I gain?

1) The opportunity to enhance your creative problem skills
2) Increased knowledge of tech and digital approaches and solutions
3) Insights into solutions for challenges around accessibility

Who is it for?

The Hackathon is for delegates who are up for a challenge. Do you want to try something different and tackle challenges around accessibility in a unique and highly practical way? It’s for those who want to work with people from both the tech and cultural sectors. The Hackathon is one whole day of the conference.

The logistics

  • You’ll need to book a conference place, if you haven’t done so already
  • You’ll take part in the Hackathon on Wednesday 25 July from 11.30am – 4pm
  • You’ll attend the Hackathon instead of breakout sessions on this day
  • You’ll still get to go to the opening keynote and closing keynote on this day

If you’re interested in taking part in the Hackathon, secure your place by emailing our Programme team. We need to know who would like to take part as soon as possible in order to allocate teams.

The digital and tech specialists will be announced shortly.

 

The Hackathon is supported by the Tessitura Network and Arts Fundraising and Philanthropy.

    

AMA conference crèche

Would a crèche help you attend AMA conference this year? We’d love to hear from you if it would.

We know childcare can sometimes be an issue, we don’t want it to prevent you coming to this year’s AMA conference. That’s why, for the first time, we’re hoping to run a crèche.

In order for this to go ahead, we need a minimum of eight children, aged 0 — 12 years old, so if you think you’d make use of this service, please get in touch.

There will be a charge of £40 per day per child, with the AMA subsidising the rest of the costs. (This cost includes additional venue hire needed for the crèche during the conference).

Please get in touch asap as we’d like to confirm if the crèche will be going ahead by mid-June – but this will depend on enough people being interested so do let us know if this would be beneficial to you.

 

Image courtesy of Enfield Council – Simon O’Connor

AMA team in Amsterdam

On Friday 2 March, five of the AMA team attended the first ever Arts Marketing Europe conference in Amsterdam. Here’s how Verity, Lucy, Amy, Fiona and Rebecca got on…

Flying out on Thursday 1 March meant our trip started with a few delays due to the Beast from the East causing snow havoc in the UK. However, we all managed to catch our flights and made it to Amsterdam — even if it was a little later than planned.

Friday morning in Amsterdam was cold but a short walk and coffee on arrival set us in good stead for the Arts Marketing Europe conference. We were keen to start meeting other delegates and wanted to chat to as many people as possible, to find out who was there, learn about their work, discover their challenges and question the differences between arts marketing in Europe and the UK. Each of us had some interesting conversations with people from all over Europe and found there was a general consensus that lots of people look to the UK for latest trends and best practice in our sector. A nice feeling!

There were some interesting sessions at the conference and it was particularly lovely to see AMA member, Chris Condron, Head of Campaigns at Tate, delivering a session on his learning from some of their most recent campaigns. Other speakers came from organisations including Penguin Press, Dutch Design Week and the Irish Museum of Modern Art.

     

After a day of listening to speakers and chatting to other delegates we hosted some drinks in a nearby bar. Nearly all the delegates came along for a drink! It was great to see so many people there, lots of the European delegates were keen to find out more about the AMA and plenty of the conversations carried on into the evening.

     

A cancelled flight meant an unexpected extra night in Amsterdam but it gave us time to reflect as a team and chat through what we took away from the day.

Our key takeaways included:

Lucy, Head of Programme:
“Going to the inaugural Arts Marketing Europe conference in Amsterdam was a great experience. I particularly loved hearing about the publicity campaign for Goodnight Stories for Rebel Girls. I bought the book for my mum for Christmas, because you’re never too old to be a Rebel Girl.”

Amy, Head of Marketing — Membership:
“It was certainly a lesson learned about always bringing more spare clothes when travelling! More seriously, it was really interesting to hear from so many delegates how the UK is looked to as a leader in arts and culture, in how we are approaching and tackling issues across the sector.”

Verity, Head of Marketing — Events:
“I loved speaking to other delegates from different countries and learning about their challenges. In terms of diversifying audiences, it definitely felt like UK organisations were doing more in this area.”

The snow melted (a little) and our Amsterdam adventure came to an end on Saturday morning. Back to Britain armed with lots of ideas and some great new connections.

 

Fancy going to an arts marketing conference yourself? Remember to book your place for this year’s AMA conference — The Power of Play which will be in Liverpool from 24 – 26 July 2018.

Bring your team #AMAconf 2018

Every year we see hundreds of people attend AMA conference. Some delegates come with their colleagues and find real value in experiencing the conference together.

We know lots of members are regular conference attenders, but one member always brings his team with him. We caught up with Curtis Fulcher, Head of Communications at The Courtyard, Hereford to find out why he brings his team to conference every year.

AMA conference 2016: Jessica Prosser, Marketing and Sales Manager, Curtis Fulcher, Head of Communications, Abby Jones, Press OfficerAMA conference 2017: Oliver Wheatley, Marketing Officer, Jessica Prosser, Marketing & Sales Manager,“AMA conference is the main bit of training for us each year. I think it’s important we set aside the time and budget for us all to attend. I find funding to make this happen. You get so much in such a short space of time, it’s the best way for us to learn as much as possible.

It’s a great way to catch up with others in the sector who you might have engaged with throughout your career. It’s also a great way to meet new contacts.

We attend different sessions and then feedback to each other. The journey back home after conference always includes a conversation about the one thing each person is going to instigate when we get back.

The AMA conference is also a time for my team to socialise away from work. I’m not the big bad boss, I can let my hair down. Last year we ended up in a karaoke bar!”

 

This year’s AMA conference — The Power of Play is in Liverpool on 24-26 July.

Thinking of bringing your team? Take advantage of reduced rates when booking 2+ or 4+ together.

Groups of 2+ members: £428 + VAT each

Groups of 4+ members: £398 + VAT each

 

 

 

Images courtesy of Curtis Fulcher
Image 1: AMA conference 2017: Jessica Prosser, Marketing & Sales Manager, Curtis Fulcher, Head of Communications, Oliver Wheatley, Marketing Officer
Image 2: AMA conference 2016: Jessica Prosser, Marketing and Sales Manager, Curtis Fulcher, Head of Communications, Abby Jones, Press Officer
Image 3: AMA conference 2017: Oliver Wheatley, Marketing Officer, Jessica Prosser, Marketing & Sales Manager

 

What running a successful software platform taught me about rebuilding our corporate website

Kristin Darrow is Senior Vice President of Digital at Tessitura Network, one of the leading CRM and technology providers to the arts and cultural sector. Her team builds a platform to host, build and maintain on-brand and personalised ecommerce experiences for hundreds of organisations worldwide.           

Tessitura Network were Networking Sponsor at Digital Marketing Day 2017 — Getting to Know You.

I have been part of a lot of website projects in my career. Hundreds.

In fact, it’s not too reductive to say that building websites for arts and cultural organisations has been my entire career. So when my boss and our CEO asked me to run a little side project to redesign and relaunch our corporate website, I smiled and said “sure!”. Actually, I think I even said something MORE like, “riiiiiight!”. (Ah, that protracted vowel. It can mean so many things—genuine downhome enthusiasm… or a way to expel excess air from one’s lungs before large inhale.)

But why would I be nervous? Well. For starters, every website launch is a big deal. No matter how many projects you’ve been a part of, no two projects run the same way but they all require the right alchemy of resources and political tightrope walking to be successful. Second, mortise and tenon. An effective website is built with the mortise of clear company identity and the tenon of clear internal corporate process and operations. Where confusion lies in either of those directions, the website project is sure to find it. Third, this relaunch of the Tessitura Network website was personal. I love the company I work for and to do justice to the Tessitura community we serve and properly convey the Tessitura story, this project needed to be a complete overhaul of the existing site – a refresh of corporate brand and identity… a complete technical and design rebuild… a completely new taxonomy and search approach…  a whole new marketing and content strategy… plus a whole way to better connect the Tessitura user community to the thousands of pages of learning resources assets and product documentation.

This was going to be a giant project. (Riiiight.)

Most of my time these days is spent leading a product team who builds website-building tools and software components. So working on a bespoke, built-to-spec website was a little like me being a manager of a large factory that builds semi-custom housing and deciding to build a traditional house on the weekend. Some knowledge would readily transfer… and some things might need a refresher. Like what a hammer does.

As it turns out, what did serve me incredibly well was an early decision I made to think about this website project like I was running a product.  In fact, that’s exactly what websites are… products. And much of the product management/product ownership methodology in software building applies.

Here are a few product-building tenets I found valuable in running the website rebuild project for Tessitura.

A ‘think like a product’ approach to building a website:

1. Launch is just a release date. (There will be many more.)
A big mindset shift between product-thinking and website-thinking is that launch is a major milestone. Sure, celebrate that your new site went up. But be careful of “launch mentality” as it can lead to resting on one’s URLs. A product has hundreds (or thousands) of releases and the work is never done. So, too, the website. Launch day is just a day. And tomorrow should have new bug fixes and functionality to add.

2. Make one unified team (web vendors are people too).
Website builds often have a “client-vendor” flavor to them. “We are the client and we want you to do XYZ.”  On this rebuild project, we had two outside firms (one to do design, one to do build) plus a few Tessitura full time staff working on this (and a whole other internal “working group” team). That is a lot of people working across different time zones and speaker phones to make important daily decisions. This is often the case with building a product too – it’s not uncommon to loop in outside contractors at points in time. But the difference between website-thinking and product-thinking here is again, based in the idea that the project is never done. The veteran product team quickly folds in the outside contractor and does their best to make NO distinction between the “outsider” and the core team. They do this because on a long-running project the best way to get the most out of anyone on a project (vendor or not) is to incorporate them fully. So let go of the “us” vs. “them” thinking with your vendor (or even the other department you are collaborating with to build your website if internal) and set up a Slack channel.  Develop an open door philosophy across the entire working team. Do everything possible to make it feel like you check your titles and departments and company addresses at the door. Get to know everyone, even if just by voice through the phone. Ask how their weekend was. Tell them about your new dog. This is not just being nice, this has a direct impact on the outcome and quality of the site because building good rapport with outside engineers and designers helps them become first-hand advocates for your company. Not just temporary help.

3. Small steps with course-corrections are less costly than large steps.
Building a website is obviously time-intensive and can be expensive. There’s a concept in product development that is called MVP (Minimally Viable Product) which is essentially building the product/feature out just as far as it will be useful and then observing how it is used in the wild before investing in further changes or additions. This does two things. It allows the product (your website) to be user-guided in its design based on real usage feedback and also allows the website user to see the site continually improving over time. Added benefit: if you “improve” things but it gets a bad reaction, you can always roll it back because you are releasing in small, incremental slices rather than one monolithic chunk.

4. Where’s the data backing that?
Following on from #3, customer input is important but nothing beats data for telling you where things are working on your website and where things are not. This one is rather obvious but just because it is obvious doesn’t mean it is easy to do. The secret here is finding an internal website data advocate (they can be in any department – remember, a website crosses all departmental boundaries!) who is interested in data crunching and task them with setting up the standard web usage reports your company needs to see regularly. Hopefully, this same person can also be a point person for answering and researching any specific questions that will inevitably come up from the data. Getting good, ongoing insight from your website analytics should be part of your build and staffing strategy and (post-launch) should be core to any discussion that asks “what should we do next on the website?”. For the Tessitura website project, we did this exact thing. We set up a small working group (led by one very knowledgeable person) to develop a regularly distributed report of website numbers across the company and that person will also track down answers to questions as they come up.

5. There will be bugs.
We all know bugs and defects are inevitable in any piece of technology. Don’t get me started on iOS11! Product-thinking means that bugs and defects don’t throw off your budget and timeline. They are planned for and factored in (in advance) when planning budget and time for future releases. If you don’t have a separate line item in your budget for “break-fix” and “site improvements” this should tell you something.

6. Post a “recent website updates” page to your new website and keep it updated.
You know how mobile apps tell you in 3 bullets what was recently added/fixed? That builds trust and transparency with the person using it and reassures them (and your boss) that the technology is being well-tended. As websites increasingly serve as the primary channel for your patrons and customers to your entire organisation, it makes sense to have a place to post news and information about new features and resolved issues for your website. Trust-building equals loyalty-building with your customer and it can take many forms. Maybe not all people will be interested in this page but you can count on it scoring big points to some in your community.

7. Effort at launch day should be the same effort a year later.
It sounds obvious but still seems a huge mindset shift, even for me. What if we were to take the money it takes to rebuild a website every 3-4 years and distribute much of that over time to provide better upkeep and evolution of the site we have now? Would it keep us from having to do big-bang projects as often? Would it provide a better customer experience day-to-day?  Likely. With the new Tessitura website, we intentionally built it to have a long shelf life and to be adaptable in a few key ways. First, we limited customisation to underlying technology platforms (using native components as often as we could and lightly styling them) which we hope will keep upgrades to those technology platforms easier. Second, we designed the site to allow the aesthetic design to be easily adapted (use of big header images which can be swapped out, easy change of site colours when we wish, etc).  That way, we hope to adapt the design over time without having to do a whole new design/rebuild project. We tried to build it like a big black and white box which we could flexibly add content and adorn as needed. These, along with trying to budget more evenly year over year will allow us to issue more frequent updates and improvements to the site and will hopefully get us a long way toward an evergreen and flexible website as our company and business continues to evolve.

We are not alone #CultureHive SmallScale

Kathryn Lambert from Span Arts attended the CultureHive Small-Scale Development Programme in October 2017 — here she shares her key takeaways and thoughts on the residential.

I applied for the Arts Council of Wales bursary to attend the Small-Scale Development Programme as I am fairly new in post running Span Arts and wish to re-energise the organisation. The organisation suffers from a wide range of challenges, coupled with the fact that it serves a rural area and I was in need of some inspiration.

Leicester, was a long way to go from deepest West Wales to find some kindred spirits and a shot of expertise and advise.  I was worried the journey wouldn’t be worth it, but as soon as I arrived at College Court, I felt inspired and that I had met a group of people who were all struggling with very similar challenges.

In fact, I instantly saw one delegate publishing on Hootsuite, whilst I chatted to another about all of the responsibilities she covered in her role and I knew I had found the right place.

The course tutors were an inspirational team of professional women who shared an inordinate amount of experience and expertise between them.  Each tutor had an almost uncanny knack of cutting through any waffle to get the most salient points of all of the topics covered.

I was particularly inspired by Mel Larsen’s session on vision, who asked the poignant questions about why our organisations exist and what the future would look like without them.  She told us to imagine what the world would look like if all things were possible and backed it up by sharing ambitious examples of others.  She spoke of Oxfam, who strive to achieve a ‘world without poverty’ and reminded us to articulate a vision that was aspirational rather than achievable.  This seemed like a brilliant idea to me. I also found my 121 with Jo Taylor a real boost. She told me to take it slow and that great things can still be achieved by stealth and with patience.

Throughout the 2 days I kept meeting like-minded, creative and courageous individuals. I was thrilled with the national remit of the group, and the fact that at one point you could sit next to someone who was a specialist in Italian baroque music and another time talk to someone about belly dancing.

Key things I’ve learnt:

  • We are not alone and the challenges we face are not all of our making!
  • That folk and contemporary dance are hard artforms to sell everywhere, not just in Pembrokeshire!
  • That we would benefit from using more creative ways to find out what people think and want.
  • That people who work in the arts sector are lovely people.

The course was intense and I absolutely loved the way that it was kept on schedule. It was really respectful of everyone’s busy lives and ensured that we didn’t waste a minute!

It’s very rare to access such high quality professional development in the arts from Pembrokeshire, and I am very grateful for the opportunity.  All I need to do now, is find the time to implement the lessons learned to help find a robust way forward for Span Arts.

Image of College Court, courtesy of Kathryn Lambert

Become a Caption Hero

Captioning Awareness Week is an annual campaign from Stagetext, which raises the awareness of captioning and live subtitling within the arts, giving access to d/Deaf, deafened and hard of hearing audiences. 

This year Captioning Awareness Week is happening right now, 6 – 11 November, and the campaign has a ‘superhero’ theme – ‘Be a Caption Hero’ – encouraging individuals to take action and spread the word about captioning.

What can you do to be a Caption Hero?

Spread the word: Many people still don’t know about the accessible the events, exhibitions and talks you may be offering. By updating your website with accurate access information, as well as listing accessible dates on event pages, you and your venue can make a difference.

Promote your event: If you’re holding a captioned or live subtitled event during Captioning Awareness Week and haven’t already let us know, then we can still help promote you. Let us know any activities you have planned and we’ll make sure to share it with everyone.

Join Stagetext on social media: We want you to tell us what makes you a “Caption Hero” using #CaptionHero, post a picture with one of our downloadable signs, take part in competitions, and use our campaign filters on you profile pictures.

The campaign aims to reach the 11 million people in the UK who are deaf, deafened or hard of hearing – that’s 1 in 6. We all know someone who may have some form of hearing loss and we’re asking those who may already be aware of Stagetext to pass on the message in any way they can.

Find out more about the campaign and all the ways you can join in on the Stagetext website.

An intense experience #CultureHive SmallScale

Amanda Wells from Celf Able received a bursary from the Arts Council of Wales to attend the Small-Scale Development Programme in October 2017.

I applied for an Arts Council of Wales bursary to attend the Small-Scale Development Programme (SSDP) because the opportunity arose at exactly the right time. Celf-Able has reached a point where it needs to consider how to grow going forward, and the SSDP seemed ideal as it would help us think strategically about this.

I greatly enjoyed meeting and working with the other delegates, some were from similarly small organisations to Celf-Able, some from slightly larger organisations. There was a great deal of experience and expertise and people shared freely and willingly. What was evident was that most of us don’t get much time to sit back and reflect and look at our organisations with a good overview, but this is crucial to sustainable development.

We were shown and had a chance to try out a number of tools and techniques, I will take these back to Celf-Able and we can go through them together as a group to work out where we need to go next. We will make time at board meetings for strategic planning, so that we are not chasing our own tails. Sometimes it is easy to get lost in the day-to-day running of an organisation and lose sight of the overall vision and mission, but now we are aware of and have the tools for strategic thinking we will make best use of them.

The residential was packed and intense, we were given so much information and so much to think about. It would have been good to maybe have another day or half-day, so that there would have been time to reflect individually on what we had learned. Since coming home I have been processing everything, and look forward to sharing it with the group, we will set a date and devote some time to working out where we’re at and what are our next steps.

I would like to thank the Arts Council of Wales for the opportunity to attend the course, and Lucy, Abby, Helen, Mel and Jo from the AMA for making it so informative and enjoyable.

Image courtesy of Celf Able

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