What is the Campaign about?

Welsh language information

The Family Arts Campaign is a large scale, national collaborative programme led by the visual and performing arts sectors to increase levels of arts engagement by families. The Campaign focuses on three main areas of work:

  • Increasing the amount and range of high-quality content available
  • Increasing the quality of experience
  • Improving marketing

 

Who is the Campaign for?

This Campaign is primarily aimed at increasing and broadening audiences and participants for the visual and performing arts sectors generally, though our work is focused on those organisations who are members of our partner organisations, as well as ACE’s National Portfolio Organisations (NPOs).

Other organisations not part of one of the identified groups above, including museums, libraries, and educational establishements, are also welcome and encouraged to access all aspects of the Campaign.

Who is running the Campaign?

The Family Arts Campaign is an initiative of ten organisations & trade bodies:

Association of British Orchestras Independent Theatre Council Society of London Theatre UK THEATRE_CORE_rgb_100

 

 

 

 

Between 2012 – 2015 the consortium was awarded an initial grant of National Lottery funds by Arts Council England to develop a campaign focusing on the development of family arts engagement. The Campaign is currently funded by ACE until March 2017.

 

The Family Arts Campaign in Wales is being run for the Arts Council of Wales by Fieldwork in partnership with the UK Family Arts Campaign team, until April 2017. fieldworking.co.uk

 

The campaign is overseen by a Project Board:

Michael Eakin (Chair) Chief Executive, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic
Charlotte Jones Chief Executive, Independent Theatre Council
Cath Hume Executive Director, Arts Marketing Association
Robert O’Dowd Chief Executive, Rose Theatre Kingston
Julian Bird Chief Executive, Society of London Theatre
Shipra Ogra Producer, London Bubble
Mark Pemberton Director, Association of British Orchestras
Katy Spicer Chief Executive & Artistic Director, efdss
Anne Torreggiani Executive Director, The Audience Agency
Karla Barnacle-Best CEO, Discover Children’s Story Centre
Lisa Mead Artistic Director, Apples and Snakes
Gordon Dalton National Coordinator, Contemporary Visual Arts Network
Gavin Barlow Chief Executive/Artistic Director, The Albany
Cassie Chadderton Head of UK Theatre & Membership Development, UK Theatre

Central co-ordination is led by a small team:

Jenny Daly Head of Campaign
Clair Donnelly  Project Manager

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News

Generation Tour encourages families to visit contemporary art galleries

Four contemporary art galleries in the north bring in new family visitors with innovative approach

Evaluation shows new approach, funded by Arts Council England’s Strategic Touring Fund, brings in 123,000 visitors but lessons are also learnt

Four contemporary art galleries in the North of England have successfully brought in thousands of ‘under represented’ new visitors by commissioning special exhibitions aimed at a family audience and using an innovative communication approach, their new evaluation shows.

The Gymnasium Gallery in Berwick, Central Art Gallery in Ashton-under-Lyne, Towneley Hall in Burnley and the DLI Museum and Art Gallery in Durham worked together to create the Generation Tour which visited the galleries between September 2014 and September 2016.

The Tour used a research-based approach to audience development and commissioned artists to develop four brand new hands-on contemporary art exhibitions designed to appeal to families.

Lucy Jenkins, Art Curator for Durham County Council, said “This has been a very successful project with rich learning along the way that we can build on. We hope others in the culture sector can also gain something from our discoveries.”

“We embarked on this project because family audiences were under represented in our venues. This was a missed opportunity, not only in terms of visitor numbers but because contemporary art can enrich the lives of families and encourage a lifelong appreciation and interest.”

“We were delighted that the Generation Tour was so successful. More than 123,000 came to see the exhibitions. Nearly 1,500 filled out questionnaires that showed 83% were visiting as families and the average approval score was 8.7 out of 10.”

“We were especially pleased to see that 14% of those visiting had never set foot in an art exhibition before – getting visitors to try a completely new cultural genre is not an easy thing to do.”

To achieve these results, family focus groups were used and previous research applied to find out what the barriers were to families visiting and what they wanted from a visit. The clearest message was that contemporary art galleries were perceived as ‘hands off’ places where curious, noisy children would not be welcome. Many found the terminology used in marketing off-putting too – even the use of the word ‘art’ was a turn off for many.

The Generation Tour responded to this with exhibitions that were very much hands on, colourful marketing literature that was instantly recognisable as ‘for families’ and training for staff to ensure a warm welcome for this audience.
For all their mainstream appeal, the exhibitions didn’t compromise on artistic quality. Generation AIR by Spacecadets created ambient, breathing inflatables inspired by the human body; Generation NOISE by Owl Project offered huge wooden interactive sound machines; The Tree, The Caterpillar and The Butterfly by Aether and Hemera invited families to bring a nature garden to life using Xbox Kinect technology and Musical Chairs by Hellicar and Lewis offered the chance to compose a changing soundscape by joining hands with other humans. They successfully brought in many families but not everything went to plan.

“We learnt there was a tricky balance between showing families that contemporary art galleries could be hands on but also getting the message across that it was not exactly the same environment as a playground.” said Lucy Jenkins. ” When you’re encouraging people to interact with artworks you need to make sure they are really robust otherwise things can stop working and it causes stress for front of house staff”.

“With this learning we’re confident we can deepen the engagement for families further still and continue to play our part in turning around the perception that contemporary art galleries are not for families.”

> View the infographic here.

> Read the full length evaluation here.

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