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A letter from Jane Cordell #AMAInclusivity

Hello,

My name is Jane Cordell. I am an AMA Board member and will be chairing Inclusivity and Audiences Day 2019.

By way of introduction, I call myself an AMA ‘insider-outsider’ because:

  • I am a musician and writer and love, but don’t work, in the arts.
  • I co-direct a social enterprise but not as a marketing professional
  • I became deaf as a young adult.
  • I love arts and culture but frequently feel excluded from places and events.

One of many things which drew me to the AMA was its openness. The AMA looks ahead and beyond the status quo and challenges their own thinking on a regular basis, bringing in people with different perspectives to help them do this. Unusually, I felt not only welcomed there, but also confident that I could ask any questions I had including challenging ones — and that I would be answered and heard.

Presumably what we all want, as arts and cultural organisations, is for as many people as possible to experience what we offer to be able to respond to it, regardless of their background. To achieve that, we cannot be static. We have to keep questioning and exploring who those people are and how they may experience what we offer.

As someone who works mainly with marginalised people, I notice that when events or services are accessible they can have a proportionately greater impact. Think about it. If you feel unwelcome or your needs are overlooked, you go to fewer (or no) places and events. So when you do feel welcomed, the performance or event can really take you by storm.

I once went to see a ballet locally. I was experiencing periodic mild depression and feeling very low at the time. I remember feeling uneasy about attending the performance in what ‘should’ have been work time. I was transported and emerged from the auditorium realising that I felt better — and lighter — than when I went in. Although intellectually I knew that the arts could have this effect, I was taken aback by how significant that effect could be.

My colleagues at the AMA asked me to consider a couple of really interesting questions, surrounding the topics of Inclusivity and Audiences Day 2019. I hope you find my responses useful and that they may inspire you to join us in Birmingham on 7 November:

 

— As a deaf person who has attended and spoken at a variety of events, what makes the most positive impact regarding the event and its marketing?

First it always has to be whether it appeals to me personally, professionally and/or artistically. I try my best not to ask first ‘Will I be able to access it?’ though it is difficult at times not to! I want to be stimulated, challenged and taken to what L.S Lowry called ‘the other side’. If such an event also offers access provision, then I will go a long way (literally sometimes!) to try to get to it.

I am married to a British Asian man, so as the family ‘culture vulture’, I will also consider whether an event would appeal to him. When we do attend an event together, we have fallen into a pattern of noting the usual lack of many other people in the audience who are not Caucasian!

 

— What makes the most negative impact?

Unnecessary layers of complexity and admin when booking. I am not naturally patient and get fed up when telephone booking is the only option given and websites haven’t been thought through for people with additional needs. I have lost count of the number of different access schemes I have signed up for at different organisations. I can’t help thinking that an arts version of the ‘disability passport’ — which some employers provide so that employees can move to different roles without having to explain at length each time their needs — used across the whole arts sector, would save everyone a lot of time and energy.

The good news is that the flip side of this is if you successfully engage new audiences, including those with disabilities, you are likely to achieve greater loyalty from them as customers[1].

 

— How challenging will it be for you to chair the Inclusivity and Audiences day, which is a multi-speaker event?

If you ever become complacent as a speaker or chair at an event, then it’s time to stop! I think of my deafness as a positive filter. I have to concentrate and ‘listen’ with the support of lipspeaker professionals, really well. I don’t have the option of filtering out the less fascinating bits as hearing people do. And if participants at an event don’t observe good etiquette, such as speaking one at a time and being clear, then I have an even greater reason than most to challenge this!

When I run training and coaching for disabled people in large organisations, we often discuss the fact that we need to develop skills as disabled professionals, but don’t always see that we have developed them, or how valuable they can be. For example, I read people visually, including their body language, and this can be a useful additional skill when managing the dynamics of any group, including a large one such as on 7 November. It is a privilege to be asked to chair the event and I am looking forward to it.

 

I hope this piece has given you a taste of how Inclusivity and Audiences Day 2019 could help you expand your strategic thinking and connect you to potential new audiences in future.

For our event to make an impact, we need you as participants to represent your organisation at all levels (appreciating micro-organisations may have one level only!). So I really hope that you decide to join us on 7 November at and look forward to continuing the conversation with you then.

See you at Birmingham Hippodrome,

Jane Cordell
Director, Result CIC


[1] ‘Disabled customers are more likely to be loyal customers, who may also bring their friends and family, meaning repeat business for you.’ Equality Commission for Northern Ireland: Every Customer Counts. https://www.equalityni.org/EveryCustomerCounts

 

 

 

 

How to Own the Changes You Make, No Matter your Position

What is it about?

change / ownership / confidence

‘If you look after the pennies, the pounds will look after themselves’.

‘I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples’.

Many an adage talks about small change. No matter how much experience you have, or your perceived power, we can all take responsibility to help be the change we want to see.

This round table practical workshop will leave you with the courage to make just one small change. With the support of other delegates you will identify something in your organisation that you could do differently — because by changing nothing, nothing changes.

View more information on Inclusivity and Audiences Day 2019 and book your place.

What will I gain?

— Tips to identify small things that you can change within your organisation to make it more inclusive

— Confidence to action your ideas

— How taking ownership of change can make a difference

Who is it for?

This is a practical session for those wishing to make change within their organisation, no matter at which level they are working.

Speaker

Richard Loftus | Director of Sales and Marketing | Town Hall Symphony Hall, Birmingham

Richard Loftus is Director of Sales & Marketing for Town Hall Symphony Hall. He joined the world-class venues from Oxford New Theatre where he was Senior Sales and Marketing Manager.

Richard’s career in arts marketing encompasses both the UK’s second largest theatre operator and the UK’s largest theatre owner/operator and a multi award-winning theatre production group.

Book Club — The Architecture of Language

What is it about?

language / messaging / data verbalisation,

This strategic session will create a safe space to discuss the books on our #AMAbookclub list (submitted by you). Explore and discuss the books we are reading and those we are avoiding due to systemic socialisation practices.

How can we take action from the pages to change our behaviours? How does data verbalisation follow the language in our messaging?

The books we discuss will follow the theme of the day and challenge our biased thinking.

View more information on Inclusivity and Audiences Day 2019 and book your place.

What will I gain?

— A different perspective on communications literacy around messaging

— Access to a co-curated #AMAbookclub list to share widely across their own networks and ecosystems

— An insight into sharing information via Data Verbalization from the pioneer of this method

Who is it for?

This is a strategic session for those wishing to explore reading materials, language, communications and data verbalisation.

Speaker

Dr Martin Glynn | Birmingham City University

Dr Martin Glynn is an experienced and internationally renowned criminologist, educator, theatre director, and dramatist with over 35 years’ experience of working in criminal justice, public health, and educational settings.

As a writer Martin has written for BBC 1’s Casualty, had radio drama’s produced for BBC Radio 4, written and directed numerous theatre productions, published many poetry books, alongside developing a growing reputation as an author of children’s books.  His new book ‘Speaking Data and Telling Stories: Data Verbalization for Researchers’ is published by Routledge (2019). 

What comes first, a change in marketing or a change in organisational culture?

What is it about?

intersectionality / millenials / social justice / collaboration / governance

Is your marketing on hold, in anticipation of a much-needed cultural shift in your organisation? Could your marketing curate and present a new message about your organisation and lead a strategic change? What power do marketers have to lead the change you want to see?

View more information on Inclusivity and Audiences Day 2019 and book your place.

Speaker

Richard Loftus | Director of Sales and Marketing | Town Hall Symphony Hall, Birmingham

Richard Loftus is Director of Sales & Marketing for Town Hall Symphony Hall. He joined the world-class venues from Oxford New Theatre where he was Senior Sales and Marketing Manager.

Richard’s career in arts marketing encompasses both the UK’s second largest theatre operator and the UK’s largest theatre owner/operator and a multi award-winning theatre production group.

The Architecture of Language

What is it about?

language / messaging / data verbalisation / audiences / privilege

This provocation will identify some of the language that is written into our long-term subconscious.

What are we reading and what should we be reading? How do you apply language in reaching your audiences? If the messaging is not honest then the attempt to reach your intended audience fails. If the language is not relevant then your audience becomes frustrated and alienated.

View more information on Inclusivity and Audiences Day 2019 and book your place.

Speaker

Dr Martin Glynn | Birmingham City University

Dr Martin Glynn is an experienced and internationally renowned criminologist, educator, theatre director, and dramatist with over 35 years’ experience of working in criminal justice, public health, and educational settings.

As a writer Martin has written for BBC 1’s Casualty, had radio drama’s produced for BBC Radio 4, written and directed numerous theatre productions, published many poetry books, alongside developing a growing reputation as an author of children’s books.  His new book ‘Speaking Data and Telling Stories: Data Verbalization for Researchers’ is published by Routledge (2019). 

Strength in Numbers — establishing a culture of collaboration

What is it about?

projects / data / policy / holistic practice / partnerships

How do we know if we are making a positive difference and becoming more inclusive (and what happens if the answers are uncomfortable)? Discover more about the recent prototype project, XP and XPlore, delivered in Cambridgeshire. It was developed to help improve arts engagement by children and young people, particularly those from disadvantaged backgrounds.

You’ll hear first hand how innovative partnerships and a coalition model was adopted to deliver the projects. Michelle will explain how the collaborative and data-driven approach led to the project’s success — for the young people taking part as well as the cultural organisations involved. You’ll understand how local authorities can play a key role in addressing inequality. You’ll also explore how targeted communications can go beyond past behaviour and attendance.

This workshop will prompt you to take a holistic view of how families, children and young people want to engage. How can you champion a user-led, rather than organisation-led approach to improving inequality and inclusion? You’ll also explore what we mean by impact — what is the change we want to see and it is measurable?

View more information on Inclusivity and Audiences Day 2019 and book your place.

What will I gain?

— An understanding of effective ways to work collaboratively

— Ways to identify factors that are known to contribute to inequality of access to arts and culture

— A rounded understanding of how to measure the impact of your work

Who is it for?

This strategic workshop is for those planning partnership work or looking to build on their approach to engaging young people.

Speaker

Michelle Lord | Senior Arts Development Officer | Cambridge City Council

Michelle is Senior Arts Development Officer for Cambridge City Council.  She manages the Cambridgeshire Culture Card scheme, and is a member of the MyCambridge Cultural Education Partnership.

Michelle has delivered numerous arts projects and cultural events, was Learning and Participation Producer at mac, a lecturer in Photography, Art and Design; and a visual artist.

 

Does everyone count? Children and young people

What is it about?

privilege / community engagement / social mobility / alternative models / intersectionality / audiences

Is the current system ensuring our young people thrive? What approaches can arts and cultural organisations take to evidence change among young people?

During this provocation, Michelle will explore the systemic challenges and motivations that led to the development of XP and XPlore. This collaborative prototype project was recently delivered in areas of low social mobility in Cambridgeshire to address issues of inequality.

View more information on Inclusivity and Audiences Day 2019 and book your place.

Speaker

Michelle Lord | Senior Arts Development Officer | Cambridge City Council

Michelle is Senior Arts Development Officer for Cambridge City Council.  She manages the Cambridgeshire Culture Card scheme, and is a member of the MyCambridge Cultural Education Partnership.

Michelle has delivered numerous arts projects and cultural events, was Learning and Participation Producer at mac, a lecturer in Photography, Art and Design; and a visual artist.

 

Smashing Systems — decolonising our work spaces

What is it about?

community engagement / leadership / alternative model / social mobility

Smashing systems does not need to be a violent act. It can be a purposeful one.

During this keynote, Stella Kanu provides a chance to deconstruct existing structures that are embedded across our ways of working. This includes how we interact with and engage our audiences — including young people and local communities.

She’ll also explore the systems that might be evident in our personal thinking, team practices and organisational structures.

View more information on Inclusivity and Audiences Day 2019 and book your place.

Speaker

Stella Kanu | Executive Director | London International Festival of Theatre

Stella Kanu is Executive Director at LIFT (London International Festival of Theatre). Previously, as Executive Producer at Ovalhouse, she spent 4 years overseeing a comprehensive artistic, organisational and community-led transition as Ovalhouse constructed London’s newest purpose built £15m theatre in Brixton.

She has worked in the theatre, festival and cultural sector for over 27 years shaping ideas, communities, events, people and organisations for great shifts. Working in the UK, US and Australia including Soundwave Cumbria where she was CEO, Cardboard Citizens, Harlem Stage, Bernie Grant Arts Centre and Clean Break Theatre, as well as arts and regeneration directorates at numerous local and city councils.

Stella created The Pivotal Place to coach and mentor emerging, mid-career and established leaders across multiple sectors, and is a long-term leadership mentor on Engage’s UK wide Leadership Programme, Extend. Stella is a former Powerbrokers International Leadership Fellow (Cultural Leadership Programme, 2008), she is a sought-after speaker, strategic brain and trainer on topics including Diversity in Theatre, Inspired leadership, Artivism and Women & Power. 

She has served on boards including Creative Margate (including interim Chair) and New Writing South, Stella is currently Chair at Eclipse Theatre. 

 

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.

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