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Growth mindset and finding your voice #AMAconf

‘Ouch, I have some of the traits of a fixed mindset.’ Such is my reaction as I’m listening to the keynote by entrepreneur and author Melanie Yusebe at this year’s two-day Arts Marketing Association (AMA) conference in Newcastle. Ironically, I envisage her telling me that this is the embodiment of a fixed-mindset – fearing that I’m doing something wrong and not appreciating that there’s something I can do about it.

During this 45-minute presentation at the end of our first day, Melanie gives us some great insights into the fixed versus growth mentality. At 28, you stop coasting on natural ability and you have to work hard, which explains the extra two pounds I can’t shift since turning 30. Another memorable slide is that talent can be cultivated through strategic effort, risk-taking and learning from failures. Something that we tend to hear a lot from senior leaders and inspirational speakers. But how do we build our resilience to take these risks in the first place? Our Director of Actor Training at RADA talks about ‘failing spectacularly’, which sounds quite fun.

In its most basic form, I understand the growth mindset to be allowing yourself the time and space to really get in to something new, or more familiar. Melanie gives us an example of grooming her Bichon Frise dog. She explains that hours and hours go by as she combs and trims her pet, yet she’s so engrossed in the process that she totally loses herself in learning. She asks us when we’d last experienced this. Binge watching series one and two of Fleabag last month? I don’t think that’s what she means. How about the process of building a relationship with the AMA and giving our organisation a voice?

Earlier in the day, RADA Business ran its first practical session for arts marketers. Rewiring the body with tutor and RADA-trained actor Imogen Butler-Cole aimed to give participants a taster of the communication skills we all need to speak about our creative ideas with confidence. It offered insight into how we can hold our space when under pressure, and how we can give our messages more impact through using our physicality and voice.

Our session was over a year in the making. I’d first worked with the AMA as Communications Manager for arts charity Stagetext. We set up a live subtitling partnership to ensure the conference was accessible for deaf, deafened and hard of hearing delegates. As an avid attendee of the conference over the years, I always feel inspired when it ends, but lacking the practical, soft-skills to put these amazing ideas into practice. RADA Business works with individuals and organisations around the world but building relationships with an arts network is close to my heart because I want as many people as possible to benefit from these skills. Finding the right fit for RADA Business was a challenge that I relished and this year things fell into the place – take that, fixed mindset!

To answer my previous question, I don’t think we can begin to take risks (personally or with our brand) until we understand the power of our voice and the part our story plays. Producer Tobi Kyeremateng touched on this earlier in the day when she spoke about the idea of belonging in the arts and who feels that they do. I think that knowing (and learning how) you can have the same impact as anyone else is vital to overcoming this.

I’m back in the room, applauding Melanie and deciding that I’m going to start asking more questions at conferences, and not have a quiet word with the speaker afterwards if I have something to ask. I’m about to speak but realise there is no more time for questions. I was totally lost in that presentation!

Emily Gallagher, Commercial Marketing Manager, Royal Academy of Dramatic Art.


Emily Gallagher heads marketing for RADA’s Short Courses and its commercial arm, RADA Business. She brings creative ideas and strategy to life in a coherent and structured way and is responsible for leading and delivering content-led, multi-channel marketing for a variety of courses, products, projects, advertising and brand campaigns.

She brings a mixture of marketing, communications and account management experience to her current role, with a varied perspective of working in the arts and charity sectors, as well as the wholesale trade industry.

Image courtesy of RADA Business.

#AMAconf Infographic

It’s been 2 weeks since AMA conference 2019 and what a resounding success it was.

We’ve collated some of the headline stats into this fancy infographic, which you can also read as a text document.

Thanks to all our Sponsors, Exhibitors, Advocates and (most importantly) Delegates for helping us make NewcastleGateshead THE place to be for professionals in the cultural sector this Summer.

And don’t forget, if your organisation joined us in the North East, you are eligible for an AMA conference 2020 Loyalty Ticket.

 

AMA conference 2019 Infographic © AMA

Reverse Mentoring: My Antidote to becoming a Grumpy Old Man #AMAconf

It’s 25 years since the first AMA Conference. I didn’t go (too busy having babies and promoting festivals) but as an AMA Member I received the conference report and still have it today.

A lot has changed in the last quarter of a century in our industry. One of the professional highlights for me in 1994 was procuring my first Box Office System. For a small arts organisation, this was revolutionary. We could trap customer data at point of sale and start building profiles of who was attending our events. We could identify our most loyal bookers and encourage them to become members or donors. In 2019 this may sound pedestrian, but in 1994 it was magic. Just like the fax machine.

I think it must have been the following year that I first became acquainted with the ‘World Wide Web’. I signed up for an email account and bought a URL. Before long we had a website. It had almost as much information on it as you could find in the brochure and told you the number to ring to book tickets. I’m not sure if anyone actually visited it (yes, there was a time before Google Analytics), but even then, we knew this was the future.

In 2019 my takeaway concept from the Conference was ‘Reverse Mentoring’. This is the notion of oldies like me be patiently guided and supported by the next generation of innovators who are far better placed to spot emerging trends in technology and society. We needed this concept in 1994. We need it even more today. If a digital native would like to volunteer to invest some time and effort in furthering the tech education of someone who hasn’t meaningfully engaged in gaming since the launch of Space Invaders, it would be much appreciated.

I’m hoping that some ‘Reverse Mentoring’ will slow my progress into becoming a ‘Grumpy Old Man’. Sadly, I’m already showing symptoms. I had a lovely time in Gateshead, but there were many moments of déjà vu where I was haunted by the content of conversations and conferences past. Here are three lessons I thought we’d all already learnt:

  1. Learn from the successes (and mistakes) of the past. It’s wonderful that so much knowledge and good practice is collected in knowledge banks like CultureHive. It would be even more wonderful if arts marketers spent some time researching what has or hasn’t worked in the past before re-inventing the (square) wheel as a ‘ground-breaking audience development initiative’. A quick search on ‘young audiences’ could save a huge amount of time and effort and increase your impact exponentially.
  2. Good data and resource management is essential. If I reflect honestly, the 25-year old me was probably far more interested in tracking down a talented ‘Web Master’ than focusing on the bread and butter of effective marketing, but there were basic notions that we knew were important then and seem to have forgotten today. For example, good data collection rates (in both performing and visual arts) and clean, well-managed databases. Tracking spend wherever possible to be able to demonstrate ROI. Segmenting communications to ensure you’re effectively engaging with a range of different audiences. Managing communications so you’re not overwhelming the same customers with a million messages.
  3. It’s all about relationships. It may feel like we’re so busy that all we can do is focus on the next show, but this is a treadmill that leads nowhere. It’s crucial to understanding at what stage of the relationship you are currently in with individual customers and then engage with them appropriately. One-size-fits-all approaches rarely fit anyone.

Of course, some individuals and arts organisations are getting these basics right. But from my experience it is far from universal. And it’s not all about size and relative resource: there’s good and bad practice at all scales. Northern Stage’s story at the conference about how they have transformed the resilience of their business by putting increasing customer loyalty front and centre of their strategy was a lesson for all organisations, from the biggest to the smallest.

The next 25 years will undoubtedly provide huge challenges for AMA Members. I hope I’ll be able to join you at the carbon-neutral conference in 2044 where we’re all be celebrating the continued growth and increased diversity in audiences for the arts and a more resilient and reflective sector. We’ll only get there by getting the basics right and learning from the past as well as embracing the new.

David Brownlee, Director of International Strategy
TRG Arts

 

 

 

 

 

 

TRG Arts — Loyalty Sponsors, AMA conference 2019

Owning your Potential — mentoring for progress

Mentoring / Working Relationships / Communication

What is it about?

Are you an experienced or emerging manager looking to get the best from the people you lead – and fulfil your own potential? Being a mentor can give you skills to approach team situations differently, build better working relationships, communicate more effectively, and establish expectations and boundaries constructively.

In this session you will hear from existing AMA mentors who have learned to apply these skills to shape their management style, to achieve even more impact in their roles and with their teams, and lessons you can take away to apply in your own roles, as well as a brief introduction to the key things to consider when beginning the process of becoming a mentor.

View more information on AMA conference 2019 and book your place.

Speakers

 

Amy Firth | Head of Marketing — Membership | AMA

 

 

 

 

Bea Udeh | Programme Producer | AMA

 

 

 

 

Sebastian CaterSebastian Cater| Freelance Consultant

 

 

 

 

image of sarah hornerSarah Horner | Head of Marketing & Communications | BBC National Orchestra & Chorus of Wales 

Rethinking your Social Media

Data / Social Media / Platforms

What is it about?

It’s easy for social media to become something you just churn out, unable to put too much time and thought into what you’re posting and why. Feeling like you’re stuck in a rut? Join us in this session where Chris Unitt will show you ways to reinvigorate your approach. Using data from across the sector, Chris will explore how to make the best use of the platforms you’re using, the content you’re sharing, and the conversations you’re having.

What will I gain?

— Advice for deciding where to focus your social media attention

— Insights into the type of content you should be posting

— Tips for leveraging your partnerships for more social power

Who is it for?

This session is for those delegates responsible for choosing social media platforms for their organisations. It’s also for those who manage social media accounts and content.

View more information on AMA conference 2019 and book your place.

Speaker

Chris Unitt | Founder | One Further

Chris is the founder of One Further, a digital analytics and user research consultancy. He works with cultural organisations that want to gain a better understanding of their online audiences and how best to serve them. Current clients include the Victoria & Albert Museum, Royal Academy of Arts, and Shakespeare’s Globe. 

Chris is also responsible for the mostly-weekly Cultural Digital newsletter, which rounds up recent developments on the digital side of the cultural sector, and he sits on the board of the Hackney Empire.

 

The Big Debate

What is it about?

At the AMA conference 2019, we want you to have the opportunity to debate.  

This is your chance to get involved and have a say on some of the most important issues impacting the cultural sector today. Join the conversation, air your views, hear thoughts from our panel members and ask the big questions. 

How it works 

On the Wednesday, The Big Debate will run in two 45 minute sessions. You can come to both or either, the choice is yours – each session will have a different topic and there will be a short break in between. You will have the opportunity to put your questions to the panel in advance, and during the debate too. 


The Big Debate — What’s our role in these polarised times? 
1.45pm – 2.30pm 

In a year when our society seems to be fracturing further than ever before, what is our role? Do we have a duty to take a stance or should we act as impartial mirrors to society? 

In the first of The Big Debate sessions we welcome questions such as those on divisive politics and its impact on our organisations, the ethics of funding and sponsorship, organisation’s responsibility and communicating brand values. 

Panelists

Alan Lane | Artistic Director | Slung Low

Cath Hume | CEO | AMA

Alia Ullah | Media & Marketing Officer | Manchester Museum

Simon Dancey | CEO | Creative and Cultural Skills


The Big Debate — Are we really still talking about this? 
2.45pm – 3.30pm

When we talk about ‘diversity’ it’s difficult not to feel the eye rolls. But look around you — unless you see a microcosm of society reflected in your organisation and on your stage, then don’t we have a responsibility to keep on talking about it?  

With some quarters maintaining that the arts and culture sector is a meritocracy, how do we make sure our organisations are genuinely inclusive? And how do we break through defensive or apologetic reactions and move to action? 

This will be a frank conversation amongst peers, taking a look at where we are and where we want to be. 

Panelists

Rinkoo Barpaga | Theatre-maker, Film Maker & Comedian

Bea Udeh | Programme Producer | AMA

Simon Dancey | CEO | Creative and Cultural Skills


View more information on AMA conference 2019 and book your place.

Rethinking your Social Media

Social Media / Data / Platforms

What is it about?

It’s easy for social media to become something you just churn out, unable to put too much time and thought into what you’re posting and why. Feeling like you’re stuck in a rut? Join us in this session where Chris will show you ways to reinvigorate your approach.

Using data from across the sector, Chris will explore how to make the best use of the platforms you’re using, the content you’re sharing, and the conversations you’re having.

What will I gain?

— Advice for deciding where to focus your social media attention

— Insights into the type of content you should be posting

— Tips for leveraging your partnerships for more social power

Who is it for?

This session is for those delegates responsible for choosing social media platforms for their organisations. It’s also for those who manage social media accounts and content.

View more information on AMA conference 2019 and book your place.

Speaker

Chris Unitt | Founder | One Further

Chris is the founder of One Further, a digital analytics and user research consultancy. He works with cultural organisations that want to gain a better understanding of their online audiences and how best to serve them. Current clients include the Victoria & Albert Museum, Royal Academy of Arts, and Shakespeare’s Globe. 

Chris is also responsible for the mostly-weekly Cultural Digital newsletter, which rounds up recent developments on the digital side of the cultural sector, and he sits on the board of the Hackney Empire.

 

Change of details?

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