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Make the same old new: Redefine the mindset. #ADA

Carrie Blake is a Fellow on the Audience Diversity academy (ADA 2.0) and Broadway’s Marketing and Outreach Assistant.  Here she shares her thoughts on building and re-building inclusive audiences.

Dear Diary:  Failure is an option it leads to learning: This has been tough to swallow. But the clue is in the word Experiment. Dust yourself off, learn from this and move on, preferably in an agile fashion. And… People are individuals – Remember that!  What you think will work, might not. Reach out Learn, some organisations and individuals won’t respond in a favourable way, and that’s fine, ask yourself why, you’ll learn from it. UnderstandGrow … Start again!

Like many cultural organisations we often have to achieve a lot with little. So approaches to reach wider audiences through underfunded ‘outreach’ can feel like climbing a mountain.

We know that a box ticking reactive approach makes no lasting difference, so how can we make sure that we move away from approaching engagement in this way?

Diversity is too important to the creative process and the cultural sector to ignore; we know this, we have been having the same conversations for years. So let’s make diversity integral, if this is at the heart of your work and embedded in your organisations approach, then it becomes truthful.

Put the work in to building a lasting offer, opportunities to collaborate and building relationships that go beyond the life of one off projects, and this will become genuine exchange and interaction, redefining the approach to engagement so that this is the thread running throughout everything you do. Well this is work in progress, and experiments are just that, the starting point on a journey. I’ll keep you posted…

Get your head in the game #ADA

ADA 2.0 Fellow Rebecca Farkas from Meadow Arts is playing her Agile experiment out with her audiences.  With this they are warming up slowly to the idea of how the use of language can entice them in or turn them off visiting heritage spaces and art exhibitions.

After a rather slow start due to an intensely high workload, we have really got moving now. The idea is to create some ‘relaxed curator’s tours’ at our exhibitions that would appeal to older people or people who are isolated in the rural areas where we work. We have seen the great work that lots of theatres and performances are doing with relaxed performances and wanted to know if we can translate that into the visual arts. 

Meadow Arts has just gained a brand new ‘Youth Trustee’ on our board, recent graduate Katie Hodson, who we have roped in to help out on the ADA project. An advantage for me is that Katie lives quite close to our venue, whereas I am a two-hour drive, along country roads, from the recent exhibition, Synthetic Landscapes! 

Working in a rural area is tricky as everything is so far apart and public transport is often not good. I had a mentor session with Rachel Grossman and we discussed why I had asked other people to do a series of quick interviews and not done them myself. Rachel was surprised at how far away from the venue I am based: this is the reality for Meadow Arts as we don’t have our own venue, so our exhibitions take place across the West Midlands and sometimes even further afield. Other arts organisations in rural settings have similar issues with distances and transport: a simple meeting can take up a whole day because of travel times. This is one of the reasons that I knew I could apply for ADA: the training and meetings are all online, so I knew that it would be much easier to fit in than a course I would have to attend physically. 

 The experiment we tried this time for ADA was to gather opinions from the audience we are targeting. We decided to go back to basics with our older potential audience members. We know that older audiences attend our exhibitions, which are often at historic venues like stately homes, but we have not asked this section of audience what their specific needs or requirements are, beyond assessing the physical accessibility of the venues we work with. 

The aim was to target four groups of older people and ask them a couple of quick questions, to gather opinions on Contemporary Art, which we know is a challenging art form for many people. We approached groups who provide services to older people in our area, but did not get a successful response, so Katie and I had to rethink our approach (we knew we needed to get things moving somehow), so I asked a family member to approach a Women’s Institute group that she has ties with and Katie approached elderly family members.  

Although this was a small initial group, the responses were encouraging and flagged up some initial concerns that the people we asked had. We asked them firstly, “When I say Contemporary Art, what do you think?” Responses were divided and included, Art we don’t usually understand,” and, “Could be exciting.” 

The second question was, If there was a stately home with a friendly art tour, would you go?” Half of our respondents said “yes” and half “no”. 

 Katie’s respondents also said that ‘curator’ is quite a specialist term, so they wouldn’t feel it was aimed at them. They suggested using something less formal such as, ‘public tour’ or ‘exhibition introduction’ would be more appealing. 

The next steps are to get feedback from a lot more people, to give us really useable data. We also intend to target people who are not that keen and get them to visit an exhibition with us, so that we can understand what their concerns are and ask them directly, “What would make you feel more comfortable with this?” We will probably use a bit of bribery as encouragement: tea and cake, anybody? 

There is also an idea of playing with tour formats, suggested by mentor Rachel, including doing things we wouldn’t normally do. A bit of brainstorming could bring up some slightly off centre ideas, to add to the normal routes: different text guides, audio guides, post it notes on things, a tour where visitors give scores and the tour leader loses points when they use jargon and even the ‘Stupid Questions Tour’ – a kind of ‘Exhibitions for Dummies’ idea!  

Lots of ideas to play with before next time and the Holy Grail of ‘The Most Comfortable Exhibition Tour Ever!’ 

You don’t know what you don’t know. #ADA

Bulwell Arts Festival 2017

Carrie Blake, is Broadway’s Marketing and Outreach Assistant.  She’s currently developing engagement activities for and with Children, Young people and Families in North Nottingham and Nottingham City, aiming to increase socio-economic diversity of participants engaging with Broadway’s creative learning programme.

Reach outLearn ExperimentSucceed or FailUnderstandGrowEstablish This is pinned to my wall and serves as a reminder whenever I forget to challenge my own assumptions- Reach outLearn! Or when I find myself bogged down in a ‘business as usual’ mindset.  Experiment!  Or sometimes if my confidence has taken a nosedive Succeed or Fail – Understand – Grow!  Or when there has been a positive turning point and visible difference, Establish… and then, a firm nudge not to get complacent… Start again!

Reaching Out. We were fortunate to have seed funding to continue our community cinema project.  Building on the legacy of the initial project has allowed us to further grow relationships with community volunteers in North Nottingham making a cinema experience more accessible in areas of economic deprivation, supporting volunteers to host screenings at venues familiar to the community.

Taking ourselves off to a community arts festival in Bulwell, provided some useful informal insights, we were able to talk with people about the range of activities we had to offer and see first-hand what people were drawn to.

More organisational conversations around data collection would have been beneficial, as the restrictions around how we could conduct this meant that we couldn’t glean data via our original paper questionnaire; and lack of WiFi at the venue stopped us from gathering information online. We did miss an opportunity to gain some information for analysis.

However this has allowed time for more reflection and a revised approach, and the experience was really worthwhile, we found that there is a great existing network of artists and strong community led creative activity.  I’ll continue to Reach outLearn and remember not to make assumptions, after all no one wants others parachuting into their community thinking they know what’s wanted and needed.  A useful and enjoyable day connecting with communities in Bulwell and proof to us that we need to do more of the same.

To me it’s important that we refine, grow and develop what we have started throughout this process.  In order to achieve this, it’s crucial that this is closely aligned with Broadway’s organisational ethos, to, embed a Lifelong love of Film and Inspire creativity.  The approach has been to reach out to a wider range of people in their own community on their terms, getting to know each other, before we expect them to come and see us on our patch.

Don’t Worry, Start Growing #ADA

Photo by Ryan Maxwell.

An interactive storytelling performance during a dog & pony dc devising weekend with hearing and Deaf artists. Photo by Ryan Maxwell.

Rachel Grossman is an ADA 2.0 mentor, artist and engagement strategist and wants us to grow comfortably outwards from our points of privilege when it comes to being inclusive in the arts.

When I started working closely with artists and audiences who were Deaf, I was confronted head-on with my identity as Hearing. I also was confronted with a world that is auditory-centered.  I then realised I carried a boat-load of prejudices, misunderstandings, or simply lies about people who audiologically speaking do not hear.

Like anyone who comes face-to-face with a privilege they have, but were previously unaware of possessing, I could:

A. Retreat back slowly into the comfort of not-knowing.

B. Stammer around awkwardly—knowing but doing nothing.

C. Move forward graciously knowing I needed to do some significant growing

I chose “C.”

Three years later, I stammer awkwardly with great frequency and on a few extreme occasions I’ve longed to retreat into my hearing privilege. And yet: choosing “C” early and often is what’s helped identify me as a hearing person who acts with good intentions and acknowledges impact.

So how does this story support the work of the ADA Fellows and anyone else interested diversifying their audiences?

What I heard from ADA 1.0 and 2.0 Fellows was worry, doubt, and outright fear that when they first interacted with members of their identified “diverse” audience group—whether youth, the elderly, a specific racial or ethnic group, or people with disabilities—they would Do Something Wrong.

Super valid. Doing Something Wrong can be a paralyzing feeling. It is the feeling of discomfort, sometimes to an extreme degree. It is a feeling that’s so powerful it prevents people from even truly attempting to diversify. Because “comfort” is the place where we know and recognize everything, and “discomfort” is the place where learning occurs. Discomfort is where we change and grow.

Anyone in a position of privilege is used to feeling comfortable. Like me, being Hearing in a world that’s auditory-centered. I am super-duper comfortable in this world because it is tailor made for people who have the sense of hearing.

Get me around a person who is Deaf, and I’m out of my element. They are not of my world. I don’t know what it’s like to be like that. What will they want? How can I possibly relate to them? And now, I’m not comfortable. And now, a host of unhelpful feelings and thoughts bubble up that compels me to choose “B” or “A” as a course of direction.

I don’t know what it’s like to live in an auditory-centered world as a person who is Deaf, but you know who does? People who are Deaf! They’re experts. And they know what I don’t know already, even before I’ve realized it myself. Which means they’re aware of the high likelihood of me Doing Something Wrong. Which means I don’t need to worry about it happening, it’s going to happen. So what can we learn from those experiences that assist us in expanding our worldview and making our audience and organization a slightly more diverse and inclusive place.

In the United States and Britain, this feeling of comfort is true for a number of social identities (for instance people who are White, Male, cisgender, non-disabled, heterosexual, to name a few). That’s why it’s important to remember we all inhabit the same world. Instead of entering diversity and inclusion work with a worry about Doing Something Wrong, let’s enter with a interest in Doing Some Growing.

Learning, adapting and growing together #ADA

ADA 2.0 Fellow, Samara Jancovich from Sound and Music is making sure that her experiments have this year’s date all over it – not just for impact!

Over the past 2 months I have begun to initiate and deploy the first set of newly developed audience data capture forms to the talented artists on Sound and Music’s Composer-Curator touring programme. This experiment aims to give these grassroots artists the tools to capture insightful audience data, including around diversity, from their own events and activity in a useful and standardised format. This has already proved extremely insightful.

Sound and Music made a proactive decision in its criteria and when shortlisting both the projects and the artists for the Composer-Curator programme, which included a commitment that they would clearly speak to and support our diversity aims and goals; 50/50 gender split across all projects, to target and present new music in areas of low engagement and low access around the UK, and to represent equality and a variety of artists from diverse ethnic and cultural backgrounds.

As such, the 6 artists that were selected as our composer-Curator’s for 2017/18 are diverse; however their initial data shows that their audiences in comparison interestingly are not. By assessing the data provided from all 6 composers and analysing what they currently capture and know, some key trends and patterns are beginning to come to the forefront. Each of the composers represents a different region in the UK, different genders and stylistic output, yet organically has an audience which is predominantly male, limited geographical and with minimal age diversification. This insight came as quiet a shock for some of the artists, as this had not been their perception of their audiences, but as they had not previously looked to analyse their current data in such a way it proved extremely valuable. Following this initial evaluation I have begun to support these artists to explore this initial insight further and advising them on how they can turn this data into meaningful and actionable change.

Through this process these artists are beginning to think more deeply about their audiences, who they are, who is not represented, and why. It is clear so far that by organisations giving support artists and by placing onus on them to take personal action to review, amends and diversify their audiences; they are gaining insight, actively beginning to increase audience numbers and initiating more meaningful audience interactions and engagement. As one artists stated, “By collecting audience data, I now have both quantitative and meaningful qualitative data which have helped me to change the way in communicate with my audience and has actually allowed me to reach more diversified people leading to an online growth of 15%’’.

One of the biggest challenges for theses artists, and in turn myself, have faced during this initial period is addressing and removing the stigma around data sharing, and what this means for organisations and artists alike. There is a real sense of fear surrounding the sharing of personal data and in particular around diversity. Also in light of the new data sharing laws coming into effect next year (GDPR) there is some increased anxiety about what these changes mean and how this will affect all those collating, using, sharing and handling data.

One way in which I have begun to address this is by supporting and encouraging the artists to develop their own creative solutions to capturing diversity data at their live events, which feels authentic to them. I have encouraged the artists to think about creative ways to make data capture fun and interactive, giving the audience a voice, developing meaningful relationships and not merely a passive exchange of information. This approach is much more engaging, exciting and effective for both artists and audiences alike. Our Composer-Curator’s have embraced this challenge and explored various ways to gather data. One artist has created a live data capture through an immersive music piece; another has run a live data visualisation in partnership with a follow visual artist, allowing real time feedback from audience members at the event. These are just some examples of ways in which these artists’ are creatively gathering diversity data and importantly opening a dialogue with their audiences. It has been brilliant to see the artists speak one to one with each of the audience members about this experiment and their motivations, making this diversity commitment a shared one. This has been positively received. Audiences are more likely to share if they understand the context in which information in being captured, and most importantly by whom. This key learning is something that I will be taking forward also.

These past few months have been a significant period of change and great growth both in my own development, but also for Sound and Music as an organisation. Building on the past 6 months, Sound and Music and its dedicated team have worked tirelessly in piloting a new programme dedicated to opening up composer and talent development to artists that define as non-white British and having a disability through its Pathways Programme.

This proactive and essential change was a direct consequence of Sound and Music undertaking an audit of current and previous equal opportunities data from applicants to its artistic programmes. The review of this data showed an alarming lack of diversification in all senses of the word. In 2015/16, over 550 people applied to a Sound and Music programme. The average applicant was a London-based 25-34 year old white male with a PhD who had already applied to Sound and Music before.

Out of the 470 applicants who filled in the equal opportunities form, only 7% considered themselves to have a disability and only 26% listed their ethnicity as anything other than White British. Applications from women comprised 32% of the total. Not a single person of Indian, Pakistani or Bangladeshi heritage submitted an application.

This is a serious issue for the future of the new music sector. New music needs a broad range of creative voices and talent to thrive, and for there to be an interesting, vibrant and relevant musical landscape.

As such, this experiment has become a part of something much bigger within Sound and Music. Susanna Eastburn, Sound and Music’s chief executive sums it up stating, “Last year, when the new Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was asked why his cabinet was 50/50 men and women, he simply answered: “Because it’s 2015”. This is how we feel about the data we see regarding the diversity of the composers we are supporting – which we believe reflects a wider problem across the music sector. Why are we doing this? Because it’s 2017.”

Audience Finder, friend or foe? #ADA

Image Credit: Anthony Delanoix

How powerful is the data that we hold in our hands, once collected directly from people who visit our arts, heritage and cultural spaces?  The potential to gather audience data in the U.S.A. does not compare to the metrics that are readily available on this side of the pond.  ADA 2.0 mentor, Sara Devine tells us more.

One of my favourite things about the academy is the opportunity to exchange insights and ideas across the pond. One difference I’ve noticed between the US and the UK when it comes to metrics is Audience Finder. In the US, it’s left completely up to each organisation if they gather audience metrics at all, let alone using the same tool across the sector.  I’m therefore quite intrigued by the possibilities of a shared tool like Audience Finder. I realise, as I write this, that it sounds like a paid advertisement, but looking in from the outside, it seems like a real opportunity.

Now, I’m aware that there are limitations to the data points collected, and even perhaps some over simplification on the part of Arts Council England in terms of what audience metrics they want in the first place (particularly the age groups: how is 16-30 an age group? Too big a gap in lifestyle and approach there, yikes) and it all might feel too prescribed, but I encourage you to find the usefulness of this shared tool.

Being able to compare metrics across similar (and even different) arts and cultural organisations is a real opportunity. In order for me to find out more about the museum-going audiences of New York, I’d have to reach out to each museum individually to see if: 1.) they gather metrics, and 2.) they are willing to share them. Some institutions are more forth-coming than others, so the idea that I could go to a (free!) dashboard and see metrics from my colleagues and competitors is pretty compelling. Think of all the questions that spill forth with access to that data! Do we share audiences? Who is going there that isn’t coming here? Who comes here that doesn’t go there? With answers to these kinds of questions, you can start to ask yourself the reasons for this behaviour and really get to know your audiences. Perhaps there is room for a mutually beneficial partnership or cross-promotion with other institutions. Perhaps you find a segment that is more dedicated to your organisation, with whom you can really focus on deepening engagement.

This shared data absolutely does not and should not preclude you from gathering your own, more specific data that will help you understand what makes your audience unique. However, it’s a great place to start and by having the opportunity to compare audiences, who knows what insights you might glean? I encourage you to think of these data sets as the beginnings of something useful. There may be more work to do to improve the tool, but from my point of view at least, Audience Finder feels like a friend (or maybe fremeny?), and not a foe.

Be Foolish #ADA

Livia Filotico is Arvon’s Communications Officer and ADA 2.0 Fellow.  Livia shares her wisdom gained to date on the Audience Diversity Academy.

As part of my ADA’s training, I had a plan for a quick and easy digital campaign aimed at making Arvon more receptive to and engaged with diverse online communities. The plan was to engage the Twitter writing world through a conversation on biases in the craft of writing. Now, I like a good success story much more than a long list of reasons (feel like justifications) why things have failed. Especially when the subject of the failure is me. But fail I did and it was bloody useful. So here’s what you can learn from my failure.

– Time spent researching the right platform for your experiment is never time wasted. I made a decision out of the lethal mix of assumptions and habit. And it backfired.

– When it comes to radical change, a shift in consciousness needs to happen before actions can be implemented. Don’t try to run before you can walk, a wise woman once said. Don’t focus on external experiments if your organisation isn’t exactly on the same page as you.

– A shift in consciousness inevitably involves losing control and embracing vulnerability. You cannot change and stay in control at the same time. So take your pick and don’t try to do both.

– Experimenting requires both confidence and resilience. Use confidence to take ownership of your ideas and resilience to shrug these same ideas off your back when they prove not to be useful. To some degree, both confidence and resilience depend on your willingness to take risks, but don’t underestimate the crucial role a supportive environment plays.

– An agile approach to work will make your fall less painful when that fall inevitably happens. It’s like being a child again. You’re constantly stumbling on your feet but you’re not far away from the ground so falling is never too painful.

– Bear in mind you cannot be agile if you’re carrying around with you a heavy weight and that could easily mean facing your own fears and anxieties. To be agile, you have to allow yourself the privilege to be foolish.

– Mentors are the bread and butter of life. Seriously, if you don’t have one head over here right now and get yourself one. They will give you clarity, confidence and remind you why you’re dong stuff.

– If you don’t put yourself on the line, you won’t fail but you won’t succeed either. What is likely to happen however, is you will turn into a frustrated human, which isn’t good for the soul.

Fresh Experiments in Diversity #ADA

So the second Audience Diversity Academy (ADA) is now well underway and I am keen to see what gets created by the fellows on this programme. The programme encourages arts organisations to trial new ‘quick and dirty’ approaches to further diversify their audiences. These can then be developed into longer-term strategies. My mentees ‘experiments’ include:

• a social media campaign to start a conversation with young people about art

• creating an inter-departmental team to work on developing access for audiences with disabilities

• a film festival encouraging members to screen a diverse programme

I’ve been involved in a lot of Diversity focused conversations with the AMA lately from chairing the CultureHive Sharing Day livestreamed to 10 UK cities,which included speakers Janine Irons MBE on her experience of the last ADA and the talented Grime Poet Debris Stevenson sharing tips on ‘being a Ninja’. Plus Diversity was a key topic at the recent AMA annual conference which was fantastic, if you missed it, you SO missed out – get your Early-Bird tickets for next year now!).

One comment has really stuck in my mind lately. Paul Fordham of Way Art West who spoke at the conference, has been successful in attracting large Somali audiences and is frequently mystified as to why venues are not keen to work with this under-served market. He says that, “the trouble with a lot of diversity work is that it is approached as though it is missionary work”. I tend to agree. This is not ‘conversion’, largesse or sharing an assumed cultural superiority. For me diversifying audiences is about fully serving the cultural market.

Diversifying audiences is a great opportunity for the arts, but why are we still banging on about it after decades of research and initiatives? A common theme crops up with work on diversifying audiences: people get very worried about making mistakes and causing offence. This concern should not stop important progress: the truth is we’ve all got a lot to learn about true diversity, inclusion and equality. You only have to glance at the news and social media threads to know that.

Few people are experts in attracting and sustaining audiences from right across the 9 ‘protected characteristics’ – age, disability, gender reassignment, race, religion or belief, sex, sexual orientation, marriage and civil partnership, and pregnancy and maternity – and lets add socio-economic status to that list, I’m not suggesting that people within these audience ‘segments’ are all the same of course: deeper psychographics are far more useful in the long term but these characteristics are useful in terms of measuring the kind of diversity that can too often slip off the agenda.

What the Audience Diversity Academy demonstrates is that you don’t need to be an expert to get started, you just need to care enough to make a difference and then be willing to learn and grow as you go along (…and having a CEO that is committed to Diversity is critical for real and lasting change of course).

You may not be part of the ADA but no-one can say they can’t access any support or guidance. There is a TON of good guidance and resources available, not least from the AMA’s very own CultureHive. If you want to target BAME audiences, young people, and audiences with disability and many more, it really is a treasure trove of case studies and it’s all FREE. If you haven’t yet tried it, what are you waiting for? Get started!

Mel Larsen is a Marketing Consultant, Small Business Coach and AMA Board Member.

Taking on a challenge #ADA

ADA 2.0 Fellow, Kirsty Young, explains how she is putting in the agile experiment hours now to lay new welcoming ground for offsite audiences, as her gallery organisation is in the middle of a building expansion and renovation project.

There probably couldn’t have been a more challenging, yet appropriate time for me to be a fellow of the Audience Diversity Academy. I enjoy a challenge and I applied for it knowing full well what lay ahead.

My place of work – Site Gallery in Sheffield – has been around in various forms for almost 40 years. It is Sheffield’s leading contemporary art gallery, supporting artists specialising in moving image, new media and performance. Pioneering emerging art practices and ideas, the gallery works in partnership with local, regional and international collaborators to nurture artistic talent and support the development of contemporary art.

2017 is a year for significant change and development for us – the gallery closed to the public in March of this year, for 12-month expansion project. This expansion will see the gallery treble in size and is due to reopen in 2018.

Being closed is in some ways a challenge in itself; in addition to that, trebling in size equals ambitious targets for increasing audience numbers once we reopen. We are committed to achieving this target whilst also diversifying our audiences at the same time. We’re currently updating our Audience Development Plan to reflect this, using the Audience Agency’s Spectrum Segmentation system for the first time.

This context is providing vital opportunities for research and I will able to feed my learning from experiments I’m undertaking directly into this process. For example, I am working closely with our Participation Team, which is leading a programme of offsite activity for young people in Sheffield while we are closed, to run agile, simple experiments that we can learn from quickly. So far I’ve had one failed (well, abandoned) experiment and one that I consider to be a success, which I am going to re-try on a bigger scale in the next couple of months. I’m actually as happy with failed experiments as I am with successful ones – good job really!

The start of the journey. #ADA

Clare Sydney from HOME is a Fellow on the Audience Diversity Academy 2.0 and here shares with us her parenting tips for growing a new audience from data to people to teams.

If audience development was measured in life stages, I guess you could say that at just over two years old, here at HOME in Manchester we’re on our feet, but perhaps still toddling!

Another way of looking at it is that even after this relatively short lifespan, the wealth of audience data we have at our fingertips means that, theoretically at least, we should actually be well into wise old age by now! By evaluating specific events and through the Audience Finder programme, we’ve been able to build a detailed picture of who our audience are. Much more importantly, however, we can also clearly see who we’re not reaching and engaging and begin to develop strategies to rectify this.

Our audience data tells us many positive stories. Amongst other good news, our audience is truly multi-generational (although we definitely want to build our 14-25 audience, more on this in the next blog). Our audience is drawn from across the North West, is full of people who feel comfortable and confident enough to visit alone and we’re seeing a rising number of frequent bookers. But, in common with many venues across the country, the less positive side of the story is that proportion of BAME visitors to HOME, in particular Asian people, really doesn’t reflect the demographic profile of our city.

We’re conducting two audience diversity experiments at HOME. Both are focused on achieving organization-wide audience development objectives and the shared priorities of the marketing and film programming teams. For the first experiment, we have worked closely together to map an audience journey through our film programme, specifically targeting Manchester’s south Asian population.

The programme started with our weekend of films marking Partition in June, runs through a series of special events over the summer and will take us up to our major Not Just Bollywood season in the Autumn, and, hopefully, beyond.

It’s still relatively early days, but the results so far have been really encouraging. In the run up to Partition, we worked with a seventeen Asian community organisations, networks and groups to directly engage with information gatekeepers and those who could advocate directly with their communities and members about the weekend. We offered a range of free ‘taster’ tickets for first time visitors to several of the screenings. This was supported by a marketing & distribution campaign focused on target postcode areas and Asian media. The programming maintained our focus on independent, niche film-making, and included two Q&A’s with Director Anup Singh. Despite the fact that there was All the screenings and events exceeded audience targets and 35% of respondents to post-event questionnaires identified as Asian – a huge increase on our average quarterly Audience Finder result of 2-3%.

We followed up this successful weekend later last month with Sunday screening of Little Zizou, the exuberant Indian comedy, with a Q&A with director Sooni Taraporevala. The screening was promoted to all the networks we’d already built a relationship with, focusing on the comedy and music in the film and having collated contact data from the Partition event bookers we were now also able to communicate directly with many of them about the screening. The screening was a sell-out success. 26% of advance bookers had also attended a Partition event and 47% of post-screening questionnaire respondents identified as Asian, a fantastic result just two steps in to the project!

Our contact strategy continues, with regular update emails to the networks and groups to keep them up to speed with what’s coming up next and hand to hand distribution of a targeted flyer at the Manchester Mela. The marketing and film teams are now working closely together on the campaign for Not Just Bollywood, and will continue to build on the encouraging results the project has delivered so far.

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