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16th January 2019 Jemma Green

Sheena Balkwill — a small organisation’s perspective

Sheena Balkwill| Head of Communications | Gasworks

Thank you to the AMA for awarding me a bursary to attend the Future Now Digital Marketing Day. I was delighted to be able to go!

As the sole marketer for a small arts organisation working without a team of comms people around me, I found being around others from the industry, from different arts organisations, and working at different levels very helpful and inspiring. I was lucky enough to meet and talk with some experienced marketing managers who have worked in my sector and they gave practical advice and suggestions, which has increased my confidence to push forward and explore some new ideas.

One of the main things I gained from attending the day was inspiration — hearing about how other arts organisations are using digital. Even though some of the sessions showcased tech that seems way beyond my organisation’s reach (and budget!), it was interesting to hear what others have achieved, and inspired me to try to be more creative and re-address some of our own activities and consider how this creative thinking can be applied on a smaller scale and fewer resources. Being a bit more clever and exciting without breaking the bank is possible, and it is something I am looking forward to getting the whole team behind. 2019 is Gasworks’ 25th year and I am excited about working on the campaign to celebrate the year, there is so much interesting content from the organisations’ history, I am looking forward to try and find different ways to share it and tell the organisation’s story with our online audiences.

Of the talks I attended on the day, I found Chris Unitt’s sessions the most helpful to apply practically at work. Both of his sessions had tips, links, case studies, ideas and directed attendees to helpful websites and articles. I have resolved to give our website a health check and make sure that all the right systems and dashboards are in place so that we can use analytics data more strategically.

I also found the second keynote speaker’s session, (Suhair Khan from Google Arts & Culture), really interesting as seemed to me to be pushing boundaries for technology and art collaborations – for example between google and London Design Festival. I also felt the projects that she showcased were not out of grasp and that there is a possibility to work with google to represent spaces and collections online, as she said they were keen to work with small organisations too. Some of the stats she shared were really interesting.

In summary, I got a lot out of the day and would definitely recommend to others to apply for the bursary next year.

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

  1. Meeting other AMA members and chatting to them about the issues they are grappling with at the moment, and getting advice
  2. Some practical tips from the sessions
  3. Time to think — being outside of my usual  day-to-day activities in the office, and hearing about new opportunities and trends has inspired me to be more creative and pro-active with strategies and campaigns next year