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Rhoda Lane — my first event as an AMA member

Rhoda Lane| Communications Coordinator | Peak Cymru (Freelance Associate) 

Digital Marketing Day 2018 — Future Now was the first big event I attended as an Arts Marketing Association member. Hosted at the British Museum, I knew it was going to be a good one, and I was really pleased to have been awarded a bursary to attend. I thought that I would have to fight the temptation to wander off and explore the collections, but as it turned out, the back-to-back sessions absorbed all my attention and energy. It also helped that delegates were trapped in two lecture halls below ground level away from the exhibits to keep us focussed!

The opening keynote lecture The Future is Now by Anne Lise Kjaer was inspiring. It helped me to re-frame my thinking and understand that however small a part you play through day-to-day comms work, you are very subtly responding to and shaping culture and the values of society. It’s so easy to become focused on the finer details and concerns of our jobs and forget what is motivating us, but these tasks are important puzzle pieces that form part of a global picture. Arts marketers are engaging audiences, highlighting projects that empower people and gradually improve our planet and society.

I loved the balance of big picture, inspirational talks with practical recommendations. Links, tools, and strategies shared by Chris Unitt alongside project examples from the Royal Opera House by Lucy Sinclair offered different approaches to campaign planning and analysis. Both talks reinforced the importance of using data to inform strategy, where to focus your energy to achieve results.

Another key takeaway from the day for me was about the storytelling quality of communications using digital tools. Shreepali Patel showed how technology can be used to deliver narratives in a powerful way – immersing the senses, heightening emotions and enabling audiences to really feel what the protagonist feels. Stories that we may have become desensitized to can be told via VR to reawaken the imagination and conscience.

On a technical level, it was great that we were able to submit questions to Anne Lise Kjaer in Glasgow using Slido as the talk was live-streamed. It makes such a difference being able to do this in real-time and feel connected across the two conference sites. It’s the best example of how digital tools are bringing us together and facilitating collaboration.

Overall, it was amazing to see so many organisations from across the UK represented at the London event. I really enjoyed having the opportunity to chat and learn from my peers. As I’m working freelance, it helps that the AMA organises conferences like this, so that I can meet others and feel part of a collective. Thanks so much to the whole AMA team for putting this gig together. I’m already looking forward to the next one!

My 3 top benefits of attending Digital Marketing Day 2018 were:

  1. Insights from a major organisation like Royal Opera House, giving an honest assessment of how their operations work, not sugar-coating the difficult choices or contentious issues that need to be tackled. Useful to see examples of strategizing, how data defines their decision-making.
  2. Meeting other peers from across the UK, getting the chance to talk about our organisations and share tips, and having a sense that we are in it together. Great to know that there are so many others who are hungry to learn and make their practice better.
  3. Opportunity to listen to the keynote speakers Anne Lise Kjaer and Suhair Khan who are working on high-profile projects and who believe in the impact of the arts to influence global societal change.