Find out more about the Family Arts Campaign below and if you’re an AMA member you can read even more about their work in the Autumn issue of JAM (Journal of Arts Marketing).
The Family Arts Campaign are delighted to join forces with the AMA this year, welcoming the AMA to a consortium of ten arts organisations and trade bodies with three common aims:
- To increase the amount and range of high-quality artistic work for families
- To raise the quality of experience for families attending or participating in arts events
- To improve marketing to reach more families
Established in 2012 with the support of Arts Council England, the Family Arts Campaign continues to make the case for family audiences, whilst helping to dispel unhelpful perceptions of what working with families actually involves.
We’re still on a journey but we’re seeing some really significant progress. Our Evaluation of the initial three years of the Campaign told us that, of participating organisations surveyed: 61% reported an increase in artistic work targeted at families; 33% reported an increase in earned income from family audiences and 59% reported an increase in average attendance/participation overall. What does this show? That getting your family offer right impacts across the board, with a knock-on effect for your organisation’s broader objectives.
It always helps to start with the question ‘what do we mean by family?’ It’s not just about children, or parents and children. ‘Family’ encompasses every possible configuration of different generations experiencing culture together — teens, early years, carers, parents, grandparents. It’s about recognising that arts and culture have a key role to play in bringing generations together and strengthening the communities they are part of. Making your offer appealing and accessible to different generations, without making assumptions that may alienate some families, is crucial.
Providing well for groups of all ages opens up opportunities for arts organisations. Our Family Arts Standards codify ideal practice and are designed to help all kinds of arts organisations to assess their offer critically. We help organisations to look at the simple things such as the presentation of their venue (if they are venue-based), clear information on content and facilities, clarity on pricing, a warm staff welcome, opportunities for families’ views to be heard…. The Standards provide a really useful checklist to help pinpoint areas for improvement that benefit all of their users. Our evidence shows that this quality assurance mark is valued by families, with a strong correlation between organisations promoting the Standards and an increase in family visitors.
One of the most exciting aspects of engaging with the Family Arts Campaign is the opportunity for collaboration. As a sector-wide campaign, we work with representative bodies of many art forms, as well as marketing-specific bodies such as the AMA. We also support a large number of local Networks of arts organisations throughout the UK. Our approach helps to break down unnecessary divisions between art forms and regions, and proves that sharing strategies to engage families can really pay off. On organisational levels, the Campaign works holistically across marketing, programming, education and outreach and front-of-house. We’ll be bringing all of these arts professionals together on 15th March 2017 at our biennial Family Arts Conference to learn and share good practice and innovative work.
As we move into the future of the Family Arts Campaign, some key areas for progress are emerging. These include issues such as inclusion of older family members within the family experience, the need for encouraging a diverse and representative ‘family voice’, sustaining year-round family engagement, as well as making exciting artistic work for families more accessible to those seeking to programme it.
We’re thrilled to have the opportunity to work closely with the AMA’s network and bring you on the journey with us.
To get in touch email Jenny.
 Family Audiences: What Have We Learned? — Family Arts Campaign evaluation report, Catherine Rose’s Office, 2015
The Family Arts Campaign works via a consortium of representative bodies consisting of: Association of British Orchestras, One Dance UK, Independent Theatre Council, Society of London Theatre, UK Theatre, Contemporary Visual Arts Network, The Audience Agency, Family and Childcare Trust, Voluntary Arts, The Albany and the AMA.
Image: Dance Umbrella – DU16 Secret Slowness of Movement. Photo Paul Blakemore