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Two locations — Digital Marketing Day 2018

For the first time ever, Digital Marketing Day will be held in two locations at the same time. We’re delighted to be holding concurrent events at the Centre for Contemporary Arts in Glasgow and the British Museum in London.

The experience at each location will be unique but equally as impactful for your learning. There’ll be a keynote speaker at each venue and the one not directly in front of you will be streamed live. Glasgow will call London and London will call Glasgow. (We promise this will be the only element of Eurovision making an appearance on the day!)

Whichever location you join us in, you’ll experience a full day of learning, a choice of breakout sessions and plenty of networking opportunities. Expert speakers will present their work, ideas and fill you with inspiration for the possibilities of the future of digital. You’ll hear from speakers from within the cultural sector, as well as those working in other professions.

The theme of the day — Future Now — will allow you to explore what’s happening now, the immediate opportunities for digital and what might occur in the future. Are you curious about how your budget can be best utilised right now? Do you want to know what’s achievable in the next couple of years? Are you excited by the future possibilities for digital and its use across the cultural sector?

  • You’ll leave with practical insights into how to better use and understand digital.
  • You’ll feel inspired to take forward exciting digital ideas and have the practical know-how to implement them.
  • You’ll broaden your understanding of the digital landscape and how cultural organisations fit within it.

Some AMA members have already snapped up their Early Bird tickets.

“We’re always keen to keep up with trends and future developments in the digital sphere here at the Tron and were delighted to see that the AMA’s Digital Marketing Day was coming to Glasgow this year. We like to take advantage wherever we can of training that is local to our theatre — it’s better for the environment and the budget! What’s not to love about that?”
Lindsay Mitchell, Press and Marketing Manager, Tron Theatre


Digital Marketing Day 2017 delegates said: 

“Overall brilliant day. Left brimming with ideas and buzzing to go!!”

“My first digital marketing day (I’m a conference regular) and I enjoyed it a lot.”

“Really good day, well organised. Would definitely attend again.”


Interested? Digital Marketing Day takes place on Wednesday 5 December at the Centre for Contemporary Arts, Glasgow and the British Museum, London. Book your place now.


Image: AMA Digital Marketing Day 2017 © Photographer Eleanor Howarth

Shared Ambition — new cohort announced

After a successful pilot, the AMA are now running the impactful Shared Ambition — fundraising and marketing together programme for a second time.

This change programme, managed by the AMA as part of the Arts Fundraising and Philanthropy programme, explores how fundraisers and marketers can collaborate to better achieve their organisation’s objectives. It looks at why fundraisers and marketers benefit from working together, how this can be improved across the cultural sector and what impact it can have on individuals and organisations.

Rose Cashman-Pugsley and Emma Evans from the Eden Project took part in the pilot programme:

“Shared Ambition gave us some much-needed time to reflect on our progress working together and make a plan for the future. This led to the development of a business case which made a clear, compelling proposition for expanding our work together and building further capacity in the membership team.”

Debbie Richards from Baker Richards, a trainer on the programme said:

“There is a lot of agreement between fundraisers and marketers about the benefits of collaboration. Whether it’s creating a joint, customer-centric approach to communications or working collectively to maximise income, marketers and fundraisers believe that together they can make a bigger impact on helping an organisation achieve its vision. In practice, though, there seem to be many barriers — departments working in silos, targets that set departments up to compete, a lack of joined up systems, a lack of time or resistance to change…These challenges, and more, make ‘joining up’ difficult. The Shared Ambition programme is all about helping people to make that change and foster greater collaboration between fundraising and marketing. And with organisations placing ever-increasing emphasis on earned income it’s never been more important.”

Selected organisations

The 11 organisations that have been selected to take part represent a variety of art forms and are located in various regions across England.


Julie Aldridge from Julie Aldridge Consulting, also a trainer on the programme said:

“The organisations taking part in Shared Ambition have a diverse mix of aspirations for the programme. For some it’s about becoming more ‘philanthropy-driven’, for some it’s about becoming more ‘audience or people-focused’, some are considering how they embed entrepreneurial thinking to enable new income streams, and others have clear, practical goals such as launching a specific joint initiative or project. Shared Ambition helps teams explore what approach might have the biggest impact in line with their vision and purpose. It provides tools and discussions to help them explore how marketing and fundraising might best work together to meet their joint objectives and to think through what might need to change — practice, processes, internal culture, habits, communication, strategies etc. — to bring these ambitions to life.”

David Johnson, Head of Programme at Arts Fundraising and Philanthropy, said:

“Facilitating ideas, creativity and good dialogue between marketing and fundraising teams is key to developing successful income generation activities for cultural organisations. We are pleased to see a diverse range of organisations ready to step up to the challenge of integrating their communication and fundraising strategies over the coming year.”

Participating organisations will be asked to share their stories to help inform and inspire others across the cultural sector. This will include the projects and experiments that come out of the Shared Ambition programme and will be shared via the AMACultureHive website, as blog posts and case studies.


Top image courtesy of Cryptic © Louise Mather

Thinking about the Small-Scale Development Programme?

Sian Hughes from Freshwater Theatre Company attended the CultureHive Small-Scale Development Programme (SSDP) in May 2018. Here she answers a few questions about the programme and what she got out of it.

What made you decide to take part in the Small-Scale Development Programme?

I was new to my role and had just got my bearings in the company and begun to understand what was what, and a little about what the company directors wanted to achieve. I felt a little bit out of my depth (which turned out to be a confidence issue rather than a knowledge/experience issue) I hadn’t performed a specific marketing role before and within such a small organisation we don’t have the skills or experience to give me a direct mentor. My manager said I should look out for training or mentoring and that there was a small budget to do so.

I was pretty disappointed because the budget turned out to be really small, the training budget per person is only really enough to cover half a day or 1 day of study in London. But then I was speaking to a friend of mine Sairah Rehman — who is coincidentally the AMA member rep for the West Midlands and she said the AMA must do something that would work for me.

So I had a look on the website and found the SSDP, it seemed too good to be true! I looked at last year’s course content which seemed amazing, the price fitted within my very small budget, and the timing, at the end of the week and in a central location, really fitted with when my company could spare me. Essentially I booked on because of the course programme/content based on last year, and the price. I therefore had mixed expectations before I arrived, but every encounter with the AMA and especially the SSDP has completely exceeded my expectations.

What was the best thing about taking part in this programme? 

The variety of attendees and how willing everyone was to participate, learn from one another, and be accepting of one another. When I say it like that it sounds like that would be a coincidence and a thing that would potentially change in future courses. I don’t think it would, as an attendee I can confidently say that the AMA staff and the speakers facilitate such a nurturing environment that all participants feel confident to say and try anything. There is a ‘what goes on tour, stays on tour’ rule from the start, so you aren’t concerned talking in depth about professional relationships or finances within your company. This is really necessary, because the course is all about overcoming obstacles that stop your company from growing, or reaching new audiences, or being totally on brand, or having the most creative impact. So I guess the best thing is the learning environment created for the duration of the residential — it is so empowering, freeing and inspiring.

What 3 things did you take away from the programme?

  • I learnt that I knew more than I thought I did — I gained confidence in what I already knew, and a way to put it into practice
  • Tools not rules — Everything we learned could be used in one way or another and we were specifically encouraged to think how everything would apply to our own organisation
  • You can’t market in a vacuum — even if you have a killer marketing strategy and an amazing brand, you need the involvement of your whole organisation, the input of the top directors, and insight or advice from your audience to be the best that you can be

What impact has the programme had on your work / organisation?

I feel like I know what I’m doing now. I did actually know before of course, but the SSDP has given me so much confidence to implement what I know. I had picked up most of the fundamentals of arts marketing throughout my career but didn’t have the on-paper experience (specific job titles etc) so I now feel like I have experience and authority behind the ideas I contribute and the decisions that I make.

In terms of the impact on my organisation — we were looking to update our marketing strategy anyway — it hasn’t been looked at since 2014. Now though, I know that we can make it really good. I have the knowledge and strength of conviction (from the AMA programme) to develop and put into place the kind of marketing strategy that could actually be shown as a good example to other organisations similar to us.

Would you recommend the programme to others?

I would absolutely recommend the SSDP to others. I learnt more in three days than I have throughout my career, consolidated everything I was unsure of, gained extremely lovely friends and contacts, and began to develop a strategy that could be the best thing my company has ever had for marketing direction.

I don’t want to keep coming back to cost — but the bottom line is so important to many struggling arts organisations. If you’re on the fence about whether to do this, I would say that it is the best value thing that you could possibly do to improve the success of your organisation. Send someone on the course who is open minded and has the correct position to be able to influence or implement strategy, make sure you have the resources to dedicate to digesting and using what they have learnt afterwards — and this course will totally change the future of your organisation for the better.


The next Small-Scale Development Programme will run in Leicester on 17-19 October 2018. Find out more about the programme.


Image: AMA event photography by Leo Cinicolo.

Play and the Oxygenation of the Workplace

Image courtesy of The National Gallery of the Cayman Islands ©

Book your AMA conference place here:                                                   

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.

Watch this session live streamed on Wednesday 25 July at 4pm.

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/ (REF: POW_170710_0047)
Image: Eureka! The National Children’s Museum – Celebrating 25 years – The Spark Gallery

Book your AMA conference place here:                                                   

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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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.

Change of details?

If you would like to change your contact details or organisation please get in contact with us.