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7th August 2018 Jemma Green

My AMA conference 2018 Experience — Abbie Button

Abbie Button, Marketing Assistant (Development), Assembly Hall Theatre

Two years into my career in arts marketing, I’ve realised that there is so much to learn, and so many people to meet in the arts marketing world. When I was given a bursary from the AMA to attend this year’s conference, I was excited, but nervous as I had never been to a conference like this before.

I really didn’t need to be nervous at all. It was great to get out of the heatwave in the South East for a few days, away from the day to day job and spend a few days meeting new people, learning from some inspirational speakers and explore a new city. I came away feeling refreshed, inspired and excited for the future of my career, and the arts.

I attended a mix of different sessions, some were very practical, such as ‘Impactful Influencing’ and ‘Do you measure up’, where I wrote so many notes and have already started looking and taking the advice of Daniel Rowles to make a difference in the digital profile of the theatre.

My favourite sessions however were those that really made me think about the way that I approach my work. When I came out of ‘Let’s Get Serious About Play’, I was ready to change my whole outlook on life. Perhaps a bit dramatic, and a lot easier said than done, but in the session, Erin Koppel  made us rank ourselves based on different statements about our attitudes to change, imagination, failure and exploration. It made me really think about doing things differently and not being afraid if something is not perfect, or in her words, to have the courage to be creative, and ‘fail well’. My key takeaway from this session and conference as a whole was that failure can be celebrated, and as adults especially, creativity should be explored. In the words of Emma Rice, who did a fantastic keynote speech, what’s the worst that can happen if it the answer isn’t death. This is definitely something that I needed to hear!

It was a busy few days, diving straight into social events in the evening, in which I particularly liked the ukulele band at the summer party and the Spektrix Ginterval.

The AMA conference has made me more excited about my career and the changes I can make to my job. I met some amazing people, some who are heading their own marketing teams and others doing some amazing innovative things with audience development and challenging the way that things have been done in the past. Maybe one day in the future I’ll be speaking at a breakout session at a future conference!

Thank you to the AMA for giving me this opportunity to attend through their bursary – I hope it isn’t my last conference!

My AMA conference 2018 Top Three

— The AMA conference made me realise that I am not as bad at networking as I thought. I was nervous going in because I anticipated I would be going to sessions and social events mainly alone, but after meeting some fellow first timers on the first night, that definitely wasn’t the case.

— Meeting other arts marketing professionals and hearing about the amazing things that they do made me realise how exciting working in the arts is and has made me want to learn more. It was brilliant to share other’s triumphs, as well as other delegates getting excited about your achievements.

— The sessions taught me that play, being creative and experimenting are all essential and should be explored more in adult life. It’s okay to make mistakes and use them as something to learn from rather than to beat yourself up about it – something that I definitely needed to hear!