Are you an AMA member? please login

A whistle-stop guide to NewcastleGateshead #AMAconf

The AMA team love conference but this year, Senior Marketing Officer — Events Jemma Green is particularly excited as she counts Northumberland as her second home. Jemma says:

Brightly coloured beach huts can be found along the prom on Blyth beach.

My mum comes from a small town on the Northumbrian coast called Blyth. Every school holiday we would travel up the A1 and spend our time exploring the county. As I got older these trips included regular visits to the ‘Toon to take in its shopping, sites and culture and I can’t wait to help show the city off to our AMA conference 2019 delegates. There’s definitely more to Newcastle than Geordie Shore.

To my family, I will always be ‘the southern cousin’, so I thought I would put together a short guide for all the other ‘southerners’ (and those north of the wall) travelling to NewcastleGateshead for conference.


The words

Geordie isn’t just an accent, it’s a language. Whilst slang goes in and out of fashion, there are some words that you will always hear:

  • Wye Aye — Yes
  • Howay — Come along
  • Aal reet — Ok
  • Canny — Very good
  • Bonny lad/lass — Informal term of endearment
  • Blather — Talk nonsense
  • Cadge — beg e.g. “can I cadge a lift?”
  • Mint — Great, excellent etc.
  • Mortal — Drunk
  • Pet — Term of endearment


The food

A pack of 2 Stotty Cakes, freshly bought from Greggs.

There are some things I’ve only ever tasted in the North East, and every time we visit the family I have to go to Greggs (which was founded in Newcastle) to pick up some stotty cake (I actually moan about it on the way home if I haven’t managed to pick any up):

  • Stotty cake — a flat, round loaf of bread.
  • Monkey’s blood — raspberry sauce for your ’99 from the ice cream van.
  • Pace eggs — a real treat at Easter, the eggs are hard boiled in onion skins to give them a dark red-brown colour. Sounds awful but tastes delicious!
  • Ham and pease pudding — one of my mum’s favourites growing up. Pease pudding is made from yellow split peas and has a soft paste-like consistency.
  • Broth — a soup consisting of meat or vegetables cooked in stock, sometimes thickened with barley or other cereals. This is something my Aunty makes for us every Christmas Eve.


Eating/drinking out

There are plenty of places to eat out in Newcastle. The Quayside is famous for providing a great night out and there are loads of bars on the Gateshead side of the Tyne.

I asked my cousin for her top picks of where to eat and drink, and she suggested:

  • Scrumpy Willow and Singing Kettle — a vegetarian café on Clayton Street
  • Super Natural — a vegan bar and café on Grainger Street
  • Dala Café — a Swedish café on the Quayside. Does good vegetarian/vegan alternatives
  • Bridge Tavern — a pub on Akenside Hill that does a great selection of real ales
  • The Botanist — a bar and eatery near the Monument, that does a great selection of cocktails


What to do

There are some great cultural venues in NewcastleGateshead. The Sage Gateshead is home to large-scale concerts and the Royal Northern Sinfonia, Orchestra of Sage Gateshead. The BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art has some fabulous exhibitions and there’s a nice restaurant on the sixth floor. There’s also a viewing gallery, which offers stunning views across the Tyne.

The Sage Gateshead is also home to AMA conference 2019 and this year’s Spektrix Ginterval. The BALTIC will be playing home to the AMA conference 2019 First Night Social, which is sponsored by Art Fund, so you might just have time to look around these fantastic cultural venues, throughout conference.

There are plenty of other things to see and do in the ‘Toon. From shopping to sports, you’ll want to extend your trip to take it all in:

  • Elden Square — the main shopping centre in the city, it has recently been done up to include restaurants
  • The Metro Centre — a short hop into Gateshead on the Metro will take you to what was once the biggest shopping centre in England. It’s so big, it used to have its own funfair and roller-coaster
  • St. James’ Park — home to Newcastle United, you can take a tour of the stadium
  • Mog on the Tyne — a cat café in the city centre, you have to book to avoid disappointment. There is also a pop-up daschund café that visits the city but sadly not in July.


What to see

The Angel of the North welcoming us up to the North East.

There are some fantastic monuments and architectural features across NewcastleGateshead, including:

  • Angel of the North — one of the most famous sculptures in England, she welcomes everyone travelling on the A1 to the North East.
  • Tyne Bridge — opened in 1928, the bridge links Newcastle and Gateshead and is a welcome site as you are pulling into Newcastle from the south by train.
  • Grey’s Monument — this Grade I listed monument to Charles Grey, 2nd Earl Grey built in 1838, can be found in Newcastle city centre
  • Blacksmith’s Needle — a sculpture found on Newcastle’s Quayside.


The view of Blyth beach, heading toward Whitley Bay and Tynemouth

Further afield

If you have time to do an extended trip, it’s worth getting out of the city and exploring the best that Northumberland has to offer. My top picks include:

  • Tynemouth — home of the Boxing Day North Sea dip, this beautiful little seaside town has some lovely shops and one of the nicest coastal walks in the North East.
  • Alnwick Castle and Gardens — known to Harry Potter fans as Hogwarts, you can very easily spend a day perusing its history and horticulture
  • Woodhorn Museum — all the men in my family used to work down the pits, so I have vivid memories of this mining museum in Ashington, including an exhibition on the Charlton brothers, who came from the area.
  • Hadrian’s Wall — stretching 73 miles from coast to coast, you can still see the remains of this piece of history at various sites across Northumberland.

So there you have it, my whistle-stop guide to NewcastleGateshead. I’m so proud that we are visiting these fantastic cities for AMA conference 2019 and I can’t wait to see you all there.

For full details on AMA conference 2019 or to book your place, please see the conference home page.

All images © Jemma Green

Talking Brand

Brand / Effecting change

What is it about?

In this keynote we’ll be talking brand – all through the lens of change. Explore what it means to create a brand from scratch, what role our brands play and how we can use them to effect change.

Nadja Bellan-White of Ogilvy will use her 25 + years’ experience in growing major brands in different sectors to talk about the higher order purpose that our brands have, and the power we have to effect change. Claire Eva will discuss the journey of 14-18 NOW’s brand, from an ambitious idea to a hugely successful programme that engaged with a diverse blend of people across the UK.

Join us to consider how thinking differently about our brands can rewire our relationship with audiences.

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


Nadja Bellan-White | Executive Partner | The Ogilvy Group

Nadja Bellan-White is an accomplished integrated brand marketing and digital communications executive. Her 25+ years’ vertical industry experience spans B2B, Financial Services (Banking and Credit Cards), Luxury Goods and Spirits,Retail (Big Box and Electronics), Telecommunications, and Brand PR.

As Chief Client Officer for Ogilvy across Europe, Africa, and the Middle East (EMEA) for Ogilvy, Bellan-White is overseeing growth for a $250M+ portfolio of brands.

Nadja’s relentless pursuit of driving ROI for her clients is valued and recognized: she is consistently a key member of her clients’ advisory circle. Her belief is. “If my team and I focus on driving the business results, then everything else will fall into place.”

Her client roster has included leading Global brands like American Express, Diageo North America, LVMH,Coca-Cola, Bharti Airtel, LG Electronics, RBS Citizens, IKEA North America and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation — where she oversees a multi-disciplined behavior change program globally.

Nadja is an alumna of A Better Chance, Inc., a graduate of The University of Virginia and holds an MBA from New York University’s Stern School of Business.She is a Non-Executive Board member of Roundhouse.Org.Uk, member of the Worldwide Executive Team of Ogilvy, and has been recognised within WPP for being one of its high-performing leaders. Nadja was the recipient of AdForum’s Legend Award in 2017 for her 25 career in the industry and for being a champion of diversity and inclusion in the advertising and media industry (globally).

The married mother of two currently lives in London, UK with her family.


Claire Eva | Director of 2020 Campaign | Serpentine Galleries

Claire is a specialist in strategy, digital marketing and branding for the arts. Claire has recently joined the Serpentine galleries, and her previous roles include Brand and Communications Director for 14-18 NOW (the UK’s contemporary arts programme for the First World War centenary) and Head of Marketing and Audiences for Tate.  

Claire is passionate about brand management in the digital age where audiences take control. She managed the Tate brand for 10 years and has significant experience of building and shaping brand identities and personalities for projects and organisations.  

Claire has led multiple high profile marketing strategies including Matisse, Damien Hirst and the annual Turner Prize for Tate, and Jeremy Deller’s award-winning Somme soldier tribute We’re here because we’re here.

The value of benchmarking — three things you never knew about arts business models

Benchmarking / Business models

What is it about?

Arts Fundraising & Philanthropy in partnership with MyCake launched the first Arts and Culture Fundraising dashboard in September 2018. The dashboard is designed to help organisations in the Arts Council England (ACE) National Portfolio and in the wider non-profit cultural sector, compare and contrast business models, their achievements in income diversification and set targets for the future.

This free tool looks first at the national picture but then digs into the detail of how that picture changes when you start looking at individual artforms, areas and turnover bands. Ultimately the goal is to support the Trustees and leaders who run arts organisations to explore the benchmark dashboard themselves, create meaningful slices of data, and build evidence to support your own organisation’s aspirations for growth and change, as well as to build effective fundraising strategies.

Join us in this session to talk through some findings we discovered when we first built and started using the dashboard, and then work through an example of how it can work for an organisation like yours.

What will I gain?

— An insight into how benchmarking works

— Trends and suggestions around your business model

— Advice on how to diversify your income

Who is it for?

Senior Management, Trustees and other staff interested in business models and income diversification.

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


David Johnson | Head of Programme | Arts Fundraising & Philanthropy

David joined Cause4 in April 2018 as Head of Programme for Arts Fundraising & Philanthropy, an Arts Council England Sector Support organisation within the National Portfolio. From 2011 David was Head of Development at the Albany, an arts centre in South East London and was responsible for earned and raised income generation, partnership development and contract management. During his tenure the Albany more than doubled its turnover. He also supported the leadership of the national Family Arts Campaign.

Prior to this, he worked in the Cultural Development team for the London Borough of Hackney, supporting the development of 2012 Cultural Olympiad projects and producing the borough’s key youth arts festival – Discover Young Hackney; and as Company Manager for outdoor arts organisation, Emergency Exit Arts. He sits on the board of Babylon Arts in Ely and is a member of the Institute of Fundraising.

Sarah Thelwall | Founder and CEO | MyCake

Sarah set up MyCake in 2007 to enable creative, cultural and non-profit organisations to access sector specific business information tools. The core of MyCake’s work is the development of a series of financial benchmarks to track the trends in the changing business models in the non-profit cultural sector. These benchmarks are then used to support strategic decision making both in individual organisations and with funders and policy makers. Benchmarking can inform your work to answer questions such as ‘what does a successful cafe/shop/room hire business look like as an income stream for a cultural organisation?’ or ‘what level of sponsorship and donations income should we be aiming for given our location, sector and size?’.

Since 2012 MyCake has been analysing the ACE NPO annual data set to produce a benchmark dashboard of the results. In 2018 MyCake partnered with Cause4 to produce the first Arts & Culture Fundraising Benchmark and combine the insight and experience of Cause4’s work on income diversification with MyCake’s expertise in data analysis and insight.



Ideas Lab

Ideation / Ticketless events

What is it about?

Help find the solution to the challenge of tickletless events in the cultural sector.

Join Richie Turner as he introduces you to the Innovation Drill — a method of ideas generation and ideation. You will then look at how to capture data for audience development strategies when hosting ticketless events.

This will be the perfect space for generating ideas and solutions with your peers.

What will I gain?

— Methods of ideas generation and ideation

— Understanding of the various challenges posed by ticketless events

— Potential solutions for some of your ticketless challenges

Who is it for?

This session is open to anyone wanting to work with peers to ideate on the challenge but it will be particularly interesting for those hosting ticketless events, at whatever level — your expertise and input will help to shape the success.

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


Richie Turner| Member of Arts Council Wales and Incubator Manager at University of South Wales



We won’t Mention ‘Digital Transformation’ — but you could if you want to

Digital projects / Organisational engagement

What is it about?

We have recently seen examples of insights initially gained through the lens of a new website being used to start important conversations across the organisation. From audiences, marketing activity, tone of voice and brand positioning all the way through to organisational structure, recruitment and mission.

Anyone who has been involved in a large scale digital project will have encountered concepts such as user-centred design, user research, prototyping, inter-departmental working, process review, prioritising organisational objectives, content strategy & development and usability-testing.

We have observed that properly engaging with these concepts on a digital project can (and does) lead to much wider institutional engagement with a range of issues. Because they place your audiences (users) at the heart of the conversation the insights gained can be surprising and powerful.

What will I gain?

— An understanding how digital projects (should) encourage risk-taking, experimentation, testing new ideas and rethinking the way you do things

— Examples of the common elements of projects which result in such widespread impact and how you can use these projects to kick-start such discussion (or “transformation”) in your own organisation

Who is it for?

Manager and Director level delegates working in Digital, Marketing and Audience Development.

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


Ash Mann | Strategic Director | Substrakt

Ash is the Strategic Director at Substrakt, a digital agency whose clients include the The Bridge Theatre, Royal Court Theatre, Birmingham Hippodrome, and English National Opera among others. He’s very interested in building effective relationships with arts organisations that help make the most of their digital offering, and has seen first-hand the power of using data and audience insight to inform that process


This Morning Briefing is sponsored by Substrakt

Substrakt is a web agency. We make websites and applications for organisations in the arts, cultural, heritage and creative sectors in Europe and North America. We work with people we like, on projects we love


Pricing Power to the People! – dynamic pricing that enhances audience engagement

Dynamic pricing / Maximising revenue

What is it about?

At its core, a robust dynamic pricing strategy should be about asking your patrons what a particular performance is worth to them.

During this session Sean will be discussing emerging trends in dynamic pricing and tactics that organisations, large and small, can use to accurately price their performances.

When you charge patrons what they believe a performance is worth, you maximise revenue, and because you are charging the right price, you ensure that you are selling as many tickets as possible.

What will I gain?

— Knowledge of what value proposition is, and how it affects patrons’ buying decisions

— Competence in properly valuing different titles and performances

— Ability to effectively ask your patrons what you should be charging (spoiler alert — it’s not £0)

Who is it for?

This session will be for marketers at all levels, as well as Executive/Managing Directors, Presidents, and CEOs.

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


Sean Kelly| Founder | Vatic

Sean Kelly is the Founder of Vatic. Vatic provides dynamic pricing software specifically designed for the performing arts. For the past eight years Sean has been the Vice President of Marketing at The 5th Avenue Theatre in Seattle, and the Dallas Symphony Orchestra. A recovering actor with two degrees in Theatre, before entering arts administration, he worked for Starbucks Corporation as a Product Manager.




This session is sponsored by Vatic

Vatic provides dynamic pricing software for performing arts and ticketed venues. Vatic’s Dynamic Pricing Tool was created over the past ten years by Sean Kelly while Vice President of Marketing for the 5th Avenue Theatre in Seattle and the Dallas Symphony Orchestra. The Tool utilizes powerful algorithms to monitor the fifteen factors that can affect pricing for performing arts organizations, applying your budget and capacity goals to ensure that you maximize revenue as well as sell more tickets. Vatic has managed the pricing for more than 1400 performances of all artistic disciplines. This past season, Vatic’s clients averaged double digit growth in single ticket revenue per performance and a 5:1 return on investment.  

Art Tickets — a system for museums and galleries

Ticketing system / Museum and Heritage

What is it about?

This session will introduce Art Tickets, a ticketing platform designed for museums by museums. After several months of research and user experience design and testing, Art Fund launched Art Tickets in 2018.  A ticketing system specifically designed to meet the needs of museums and galleries, Art Tickets provides the tools to help improve visitor service and income generation, it’s also free to use for museums in the National Art Pass network. Merrin will demonstrate how easy the system is to use and share some insight into effectively using online ticketing to market your venue and events.

“Art Tickets has been revolutionary for a small organisation like ours. It enables us to connect with a much wider audience online, providing a simple and accessible solution for buying both event and admission tickets. It has also reduced our behind-the-scenes administration by about 80%. Invaluable.” — Jenny Hand, Director, Munnings Museum

What will I gain?

— Insight into how Art Tickets could work for your museum

— Top tips for how online ticketing can help you market your venue and events

Who is it for?

Museums and galleries who would like to be selling ticket online or thinking of changing to a system designed for them.

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


Merrin Kalinowsky | Museum Marketing Relationship Manager | Art Fund

Merrin has worked at Art Fund for over three years as Museum Marketing Relationship Manager. Her main responsibilities include co-ordinating the Art Happens crowdfunding platform and the Art Tickets system, working closely to support museums using these platforms. Before joining Art Fund, Merrin spent three years at The Lightbox gallery and museum in Woking as Marketing and Communications Officer


Fund_Logo_RGB_BlueThis Morning Briefing is sponsored by Art Fund

Art Fund is the national fundraising charity for art and supports the vital work of museums and galleries across the UK. We help them build and share collections, do more for their visitors and support the curators of the future.   

We also believe that museums and galleries are a great untapped wellbeing resource – read our ‘Calm and collected’ report – at We found that 63% of people visited a gallery or museum specifically to de-stress, and that people who regularly visited reported a greater sense of satisfaction. As a passionate advocate of UK museums and galleries we have always believed that art can help us see, think and feel differently. 


Plug in to. Switch on. Stay connected

The meaning of culture / Audience targeting

What is it about?

The irrevocable explosion of digital marketing and technology has had an enormous impact on consumer media habits, social interaction and how brands influence their audiences.

In this fast-changing world, London Calling + Culture Calling reveal the results of their latest consumer survey which takes a closer look at understanding what culture means to people today; how important local versus city based cultural events are; and the main drivers for purchasing event tickets in a cash strapped society.

We’ll offer solutions to target those harder to reach audiences of young, BAME and older and share several client case studies highlighting how a truly integrated print and digital campaign drives real returns.

What will I gain?

— Insight into what culture means to people today; how important are local versus city based cultural events and the main drivers for purchasing event tickets in a cash strapped society

— Solutions on how to target those harder to reach audiences of young, BAME and older

— Recent client cases that have successfully delivered results through employing both digital and print marketing communications

Who is it for?

Anyone who directs, manages or implements marketing plans, communications, business strategy and development.

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


Clare Dentith| Head of Marketing | London Calling + Culture Calling

Clare Dentith was born in 1973. After completing a Chartered Institute of Marketing Postrgraduate Diploma from Manchester Metropolitan University, Clare spent the first 12 years working in television in London. Notably, she managed the multimillion pound trade and consumer marketing for world leading television company – Discovery Networks Europe, driving the growth of flagship channel – Discovery Channel – and launch of multiple sister channels.  Later, she moved to international broadcaster and Liberty Media owned Chellozone to head-up their marketing and communications global department where she successfully managed the launch of many new television channels, including four new CBS channels, into the UK and Europe. Since 2010, Clare has been consulting on a variety of strategic marketing and PR contracts within media; most recently setting up and heading the marcomms team for leading digital marketing agency, iProspect. Clare joined London Calling in May 2018 as Head of Marketing.


This session is sponsored by London Calling + Culture Calling

For over 30 years, London Calling + Culture Calling have worked with some of the UK‘s leading brands to deliver successful marketing campaigns.  We deliver print marketing daily to millions of consumers across the UK, speaking directly to over 100 targeted audiences segments, through our 20,000 print racks. We drive brand awareness, word of mouth and sales for our long-standing clients.  London Calling + Culture Calling also specialise in door2door distribution, on-street handouts, posters, event marketing and reach thousands of loyal arts and culture followers through our popular what’s on website –  

You can see more of what we do and our client work at


Connecting through Culture Export — expand internationally with the Culture Diary

International ambitions / Touring overseas

What is it about?

A brief presentation on how the Culture Diary can help you promote your work and ultimately achieve your international ambitions.

We will explain how the Culture Diary has helped UK culture organisations reach potential new audiences abroad.

You will find out how we can connect you to overseas opportunities, presenting the potential to tour, exhibit and sell UK culture internationally.

We will show you how registering with us for free and uploading your events and other content links you to government and the rest of the UK culture sector.

What will I gain?

— New ways to benefit your cultural exporting

— Knowledge on how to connect with the GREAT Britain Campaign, DCMS and potentially be seen all over the world

— Some new culture sector friends!

Who is it for?

Anyone in the culture and creative industries sector looking into or already touring and exporting overseas (and want more).

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


Brad Barrett | Culture Diary Website and Social Media Editor | The Culture Diary

Brad Barrett spent a decade as a journalist writing about music and arts for print and digital both in-house and freelance. He picked up further digital experience in government tourism offices in the UK and Australia, including the National Parks and Wildlife Service, websites for The Rocks and Darling Harbour in Sydney, and Kew Gardens in Richmond, London. Driven and inspired by arts and culture, from literature, film and theatre to video games and visual arts, Brad joined the Culture Diary in early 2016. For almost three years, he’s been responsible for web content and social media channels, running the new public website, marketing, and supporting Head of Cultural Partnerships and Culture Diary Programme Lead, Anna Maloney, on the Culture Diary’s mission to promote UK culture and creative industries nationally and internationally, and to encourage UK culture export for the Government’s GREAT Britain Campaign. 


This Morning Briefing is sponsored by The Culture Diary

The Culture Diary is the government resource for the culture and creative industries. Based at DCMS and part of the GREAT Britain Campaign, it aims to increase UK cultural export and is where officials, UK embassies and the sector find activity in their region. With 9,000 organisations already registered, we are the one stop for UK cultural touring and promote key activity through social media, monthly newsletters and potentially via the GREAT Britain Campaign using your imagery in print and online. Register & upload events and tours – we’ll promote them online through our international networks.

From Marketer to CEO

Leadership journey / Transferable skills

What is it about?

As a marketer you know the importance of great communication, of understanding your audiences and of getting people on side with new ideas. It’s not always easy to see the real value of this experience though when it comes to making the next career step.

In this session Jo Gordon, CEO of Royal & Derngate, talks about her journey from Head of Marketing and Sales to CEO. She’ll touch on everything from imposter syndrome, creating a culture of openness, building great partnerships, putting nodal networking into action, and her organisation’s place in the community.

This session will help you think about: how to create an environment within your teams to identify and support the strategic leaders of the future, how to encourage transparency and share responsibility, what you might need to think about before you take the next step yourself and how to give yourself a break in the process

What will I gain?

— Ideas on how to take an honest appraisal of your own leadership style

— Tactics for how to identify the emerging leaders across your organisation

— Further thoughts about how all of your marketing and communication skills can be applied in a leadership context

Who is it for?

Anyone who wants to reflect on their own skills as a leader, is considering taking a next step in leadership, or who wants to hear a frank account of achieving work/life balance in doing so (or pretending to)!

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


Jo Gordon | CEO | Royal & Derngate

Jo Gordon is currently Chief Executive of Royal & Derngate, The Core at Corby Cube and Northampton Filmhouse, having recently taken on this role from her previous post as Marketing & Sales Director. She has been an arts marketing professional for 20 years, including running her own freelance marketing agency with clients including the Royal Shakespeare Company, Greg Ripley Duggan, Oxford Playhouse and Theatre Royal Plymouth. She also worked for Ambassador Theatre Group for 7 years and spent time overseas under contract to Creative New Zealand and St James Theatre in Wellington. She is a Trustee of Northamptonshire Community Foundation and mum to two boys. 


Change of details?

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