What is the Campaign about?

Welsh language information

The Family Arts Campaign is a national Sector Support Organisation funded by Arts Council England and the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation to raise family engagement with arts and culture.

Since our beginnings in 2012, we have focused on three main areas of work:

  • Increasing the amount and range of artistic work available to families
  • Increasing the quality of experience for families
  • Improving marketing to reach more families

We are here to support National Portfolio Organisations, museums, libraries, community groups, individuals, and anyone else looking to better connect families with arts and culture.

You can take part by signing up to the free Family Arts Standards and Age-Friendly Standards quality-marks, by attending training and events, or accessing our online resources library. You can also promote all of your family and age-friendly events for free as part of our Fantastic for Families  campaign.


Who is running the Campaign?

We are a cross-sector and cross-artform initiative steered by a consortium of ten organisations and trade bodies. Our lead partner organisation is The Albany.

Logos of consortium partners: AMA, CVAN, ITS, One Dance UK, Society of London Theatre, UK Theatre, The Albany, Kids in Museums, ABO, The Audience Agency


The campaign is overseen by a Project Board:

Helen FeatherstoneDeputy Director, Yorkshire Sculpture Park
Sebastian CaterHead of UK Theatre and Workforce Development, UK Theatre
Charlotte JonesChief Executive, Independent Theatre Council
Cath HumeExecutive Director, Arts Marketing Association
Robert O’DowdChief Executive, Rose Theatre Kingston
Gavin BarlowChief Executive/Artistic Director, The Albany
Matthew Swann (Interim Chair)Chief Executive, City of London Sinfonia
Mark PembertonDirector, Association of British Orchestras
Anne TorreggianiExecutive Director, The Audience Agency
Karla Barnacle-Best CEO, Discover Children’s Story Centre
Alison Bowyer and Laura BedfordExecutive Director and Head of Programmes, Kids in Museums
Paula OrrellDirector, Contemporary Visual Arts Network
Frederick HopkinsHead of Business Development and Membership, One Dance UK
Sarah Mears and Liz McMillanProgramme Manager, Libraries Connected / Libraries and Culture Services Manager, Slough Borough Council 


Central co-ordination team:

Anna DeverHead of Campaign
Rukhsana JahangirCampaign Manager
Sophie EvansDigital Marketing Manager
Anna O’ConnorDigital Marketing Support Officer

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Finding Family Audiences: guest blog from The Audience Agency

audience_finder_logo NEW

Audience Finder is The Audience Agency’s free data analysis programme, funded by Arts Council England. It provides tools for collecting and analysing data which builds a clear picture of audiences locally and nationally. This enables cultural organisations to find new audience opportunities by sharing, comparing and applying insight.

Read on to find out what we know about families thanks to Audience Finder, and how you can better get to know your family audiences by using it.

Guest Blog 1 of 4 from The Audience Agency

The Audience Agency (TAA) analysed the nature of audiences and their attendance characteristics in relation to 32,000 Children & Family events, which attracted more than 2.5 million attenders. Observations also draw upon the body of qualitative research TAA has built up over time, looking into engagement with family work, including some research commissioned by Arts Connect (from Arts Council Wales funding), which has provided some real insight into actual and perceived barriers to attendance, particularly for non-attending families and especially those from more deprived areas.

As we all know, family audiences are different. Audience Finder tells us that their attendance tends to be more local than other audiences, and that they often attend in sprawling multi-family groups – they are rarely Mum, Dad & 2.4 children. Generally speaking, the data tells us that, when offered a choice, they prefer doing things in the day than in the evening and that Outdoor Arts, along with other interactive activities anywhere, are the arts of choice. It tells us that people who rarely if ever engage with arts or museums will bring their children and family to arts activities in some – but not all – venues. Even though, on the plus side, this reveals a big market for arts and culture for families, Audience Finder also suggests that there is much greater demand than supply.

Sage Gateshead

Sage Gateshead

So, families have different requirements from other audiences. Whilst many of these are specific to a venue or experience, there are some useful general principles to stick to that will ensure that families feel recognised, understood and catered for. Families, more than any other group, worry about whether or not they will be welcome with (younger) children. They also need to be sure that kids will be catered for across the whole experience, from seats they can see from, to food they will actually eat. Families tend to be overwhelmingly busy – short on resources in one sense or another, and don’t have the luxury of playing things by ear.

Our research shows that establishing and meeting the right expectations is essential to attracting both first time and repeat family audiences. Parents and carers are well-networked and bad word spreads fast. Addressing their planning needs with clear signposting is key to success and that includes well-trained staff and a consistent family focus throughout the experience, from marketing to meal deals. The Family Arts Standards are a great way to benchmark your activity across all areas of the family experience. Feedback from family groups, in their own words, also helps to identify where and how your programme, facilities, staff, communications and more are or aren’t working.

Bluecoat - Baby Book Club cr. Brian Roberts

Bluecoat – Baby Book Club cr. Brian Roberts

Considering that word of mouth is such an important motivator or inhibitor to arts attendance – families rely overwhelmingly on the recommendations of other families – listening to how they discuss their requirements and experiences in a conversational context is key. This is why we really recommend collecting qualitative responses alongside quantitative data in any survey.

Gathering qualitative data – focus groups, depth interviews, voxpops etc, as well as family-focused surveys – enables you to dig deeper and begin to understand what makes different family audiences tick. We discovered, for instance that a key issue for one venue was intermittent programming. Because they observed quantitively that families did not visit weekly, they changed their family programming from a regular slot to an ad hoc programme. But when we spoke to these families, we realised that people didn’t have time to be routinely checking changing timetables and just wanted to be able to turn up on a Saturday knowing there would be something on for the kids.

Qualitative data in the mix adds detail and description, resulting in a more nuanced and specific picture of the family experience. Giving families the chance to respond to more open, less prescriptive questions lets you discover what is actually most important to them.

Your Family-Focused survey with the Free Audience Finder survey tool

So, how can you ensure you’re doing right by your own family audience? All arts and cultural organisers are entitled to use the Audience Finder survey for free, and the survey can be personalised to include a range of our specially selected Family Participation questions.

Family Questions

The Audience Finder survey tool is a really easy way to collect and store your survey data, and by gathering your family audiences’ data via Audience Finder, you’re also contributing towards the bigger-picture of family arts attenders across the UK.

Along with standard survey data identifying group profiles, ages, motivations etc, further specific questions help to put that into a family picture. This is partly where the qualitative value comes in as the frame fills out from basic ratings and demographics to personal, more detailed responses that help you to understand not just how family audiences behave, but how they think and why.

Results from your responses can be compared to existing comparators on family audiences. We’ll also profile your audiences using Audience Spectrum, to show you which types of families are attending your events. You can then compare this with Audience Spectrum data for your area to find out who your potential new audiences could be.

You can request your free Audience Finder survey here – make sure to select ‘Family Ratings’ within the Themes field.

Request your free survey

See what else Audience Finder can do at www.audiencefinder.org. Got a question about Audience Finder? Contact the Support team on 020 7260 2505, Mon-Fri 10am-6pm or audiencefinder@theaudienceagency.org


> Blog 2 of 4: Find out more about how to profile your audiences in Audience Finder

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