Welcome address - Jo Taylor, AMA chair
Jo will open the conference by outlining the key themes, challenges and opportunities for the rest of us to collectively consider. She will kick start our thinking about how we engage with the different motivations audiences and visitors have and the kind of connections they want with us.
Audience engagement – what does this really mean?
Andy McKim, artistic director
Theatre Passe Muraille, Canada
Andy believes that we are facing the danger of a coming tsunami of indifference for the arts and that the way to counter this is to really listen to what people are saying. In his challenging and thought-provoking session he will outline his vision for Theatre Passe Muraille, the values that they have instilled and why engaging the audience is at the heart of the organisation.
He will explore what 'engagement' really means for the theatre, for its staff, its artists, and its audiences. And will inspire us to consider what relationship we want to have with our communities, what relationship they want to have with us, and what myriad of ways we might use to engage a diverse community of people with our work.
Keynote two: effective public engagement
Wednesday 11th July - 2pm to 3pm
Testing theories of engagement
Erica Whyman, Chief Executive
This keynote will challenge our collective wisdom and thinking on how to reach and engage a wider audience. Erica will share ideas and opportunities resulting from collective research and pilot projects across a group of ten arts organisations in the North West of England (Newcastle Gateshead Cultural Venues) designed to test theories about public engagement.
How might we work collectively to understand and reach out to new audiences? Can we achieve more by pooling resources for the more expensive public engagement challenges i.e. reaching out to those who may currently seem indifferent to the arts, but where culture has touched their lives and where there is potential for it to do so much more? And can a better understanding of audiences / visitors lead to the opportunity to take greater risks artistically?
Becoming a catalyst for active engagement
Ryan French, director of marketing and PR
Walker Art Center
Walker Art Center aims to be a catalyst both for the creative expression of artists and the active engagement of audiences.
In this keynote presentation, Ryan will explore how the team at the center are interpreting and delivering on this mission. He will share information and trends he’s identified in how the audience wants to engage with art, artists, and the Walker. Ryan will outline how shifting audience expectations and behaviours are influencing every element of the Walker’s relationship with the public – from how they communicate online with visitors from around the globe, to how they encourage visitors to interact with one another in their indoor and outdoor spaces, to how they offer opportunities for people to learn and share ideas, and to how they provide opportunities for people to engage with and experience the art itself.
Keynote three: emerging opportunities
Thursday 12th July - 10am to 11am
Inventing new ways to engage with communities
Alex Fleetwood, founder and director
Alex recently won the British Council UK young performing arts entrepreneur of the year award following the launch of a number of new initiatives including Hide&Seek. In this keynote presentation Alex will share his vision for arts organisations and thoughts on how we can each bring entrepreneurial thinking to our efforts to engage communities – regardless of our job title, budget or resources.
Alex believes that play, as a theme, a way of being, and as a design tool, is integral to understanding how culture will develop in the 21st century. He will encourage delegates to consider how to adapt social and game concepts for traditional organisations to make connections and engagements with audiences. 'Gamification' has become one of the latest buzzwords in the marketing world. This keynote seeks to separate out the genius from the hype to explore how the arts could learn from the world of game design.
James McVeigh, head of marketing and innovation
How do you work with audiences, the media, digital developers, and other key partners to drive both product and audience development? This keynote will explore an innovative approach to enriching the experience for audiences while also exploring the future landscape for the organisation.
Keynote four: creating the right culture for public engagement
Thursday 12th July - 3.45pm to 4.30pm
The journey to an engaged organisation
Dame Fiona Reynolds, director-general
The National Trust
When Dame Fiona Reynolds became head of the National Trust, it had 2.7 million members and 52 trustees. Now, ten years later it has over 4 million members, twelve trustees, a new management structure, 62,000 volunteers, and a farm run by a virtual community. Reynolds has taken the charity through radical governance and structural changes, and today Britain's biggest charity is streamlined, smart and modern. But it hasn't been without its challenges.
Our final keynote speaker will share thoughts from the experience of opening up the National Trust to enable people to engage, connect and participate on many different levels. It will provide a frank description of the highs and lows of their journey and will outline what it takes internally for a company to become truly open, connected and engaging externally.
The AMA will make every effort to deliver the programme and timetable as described but reserves the right to make any necessary changes and will notify delegates accordingly.