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7th August 2018 Jemma Green

My AMA conference 2018 Experience — Lucie Davies

Lucie Davies, Head of Marketing and Communications, Heart of Glass

There’s a feeling of smugness that comes from gaining a bursary to the AMA Conference and knowing it’s all happening in your home town. No overpriced hotels or delayed trains to contend with — just your own conscience reminding you to make the most of your golden ticket. It’s a feeling that gave way to pride when I remembered that hundreds of arts marketers from across the UK were going to be descending on my home town of Liverpool on a sunny couple of days in July. My heart did a little dance to know that each of them would be getting to experience a little of the amazing cultural stuff our fair city has to offer.

This was especially evident when my first interaction (with the young woman who sat next to me in the 1st keynote) revealed she had never been to Liverpool before or indeed (her words) “up north”. I beamed with pride. This was going to be a good couple of days.

From alternative tour guides to digital disrupters, the speaker list was chockful of people with incredible insight, experience and knowledge. The challenge from all, in one way or another, was to get serious about play.

Find a way to incorporate it into your research, your thinking and your down time every day. Look at your colleagues as playmates. ‘Play ball’ with them. Find out what makes them tick. And don’t forget to offer support when workloads is not feeling so playful.

Among my favourite moments, and there were many, was hearing from theatre director Emma Rice. As a long time fan girl of her and her previous company – the innovative and joyful Kneehigh, it was so inspiring to hear her ideas for uniting teams. Meanwhile, Deborah Williams, CEO of The Creative Diversity Network captivated with her take on patriarchy.

On day two, I managed to sneak in to hear Tumblr’s tour-de-force Head of Global Partnerships Tatiana Simonian. Her session was both inspiring and practical – filled with tips for managing (staff and partners) mindfully.

As is so often the case with such events my key takeaway was make sure you takeaway this stuff Lucie! After all it’s easy to be playful and inspired at a conference full of creatives, but not so much when your bogged down in budgets and partnership deal-making.

Lucky for me one of my colleagues at Heart of Glass is, among other things, a proud den builder (self titled). Her role in schools involves carving out corners for school children to relax, have conversations, do creative experiments and, above all, play (in my experience as a parent to a primary age child, all too often missing from school). With such knowledge about play on my office door step, the question I found going round my head during the conference, was: where is our office den, our space to play, and what kind of marketing magic could come out of it?  Later that day I wrote with urgency to my colleague. ‘Cathy,’ I said. ‘Let’s build it!’

My AMA conference 2018 Top Three

— Inspiration — too many moments to mention, really enjoyed the mix of real life arts marketing professionals and creative industry bigwigs.

— Reconnecting — after 2 years away from the arts, I loved bumping into old friends and colleagues from the cultural sector. Always a joy to bypass pleasantries and get straight down to shooting the breeze and swapping notes about what I’d been missing!

— Emma Rice — as a long time fan girl of the theatre director and her previous company, the innovative and joyful Kneehigh, it was an absolute pleasure to hear from her. A total inspiration #iloveball