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
Hannah GagenAdvocacy Manager, Society of London Theatre / 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
Rose CopseyCommunications Manager, Contemporary Visual Arts Network
Frederick HopkinsHead of Business Development and Membership, One Dance UK


Central co-ordination is led by a small team:

Anna DeverHead of Campaign
Clair DonnellyProject Manager
Rukhsana JahangirFamily Arts Network Coordinator

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Just 10% of grandparents take their grandchildren to an arts event

If you work at an arts or culture organisation working to welcome family audiences, you may be surprised to find out that you won’t necessarily be a go-to option for grandparents and their grandchildren.

In fact, our new study with YouGov has suggested that grandparents to under-13s are getting less and less quality time with their grandchildren at all, whatever the activity.

We found that only one in three grandparents of 0-12 year olds spent “quality time” with their grandchildren at least once a month, outside of child-care and babysitting responsibilities (31% of those surveyed).

What are grandparents’ favourite activities to do with their grandchildren?

So what are they doing when they do get quality time together? When grandparents were asked to select up to the three things they most enjoy doing with their grandchildren, the research indicated that the most popular pursuit, wherever they lived, was spending time together outdoors, in a playground, the countryside or at the beach for example (56% selecting this option).

When it comes to arts and culture, just 10% of grandparents across the UK said they would take their grandchildren to a museum or arts event. Research also indicated that there may be a disparity between regions, where those in the North were more likely to take their grandchildren on a visit to an arts and culture venue. For example, 10% of grandparents in the North said they attended a show or performance with their grandchildren, compared to 6% in the South.


How can the arts and cultural sector provide quality experiences for grandparents and grandchildren?

We know that participating in arts and culture as a family, and in particular, across generations, can bring a real range of benefits including improved well-being. Families who learn, create and have fun together create stronger bonds – this can be between children and their parents, grandparents and relatives, or carers.

Is there more we can do across the cultural sector to help grandparents find ways to spend quality time with their grandchildren? If outdoor activities are a real draw, perhaps we can find more ways to bring creative and cultural events to outdoor settings? We know that outdoor arts are popular with all ages, and so could be a way to engaging with different generations of the family unit.

If you’re looking for inspiration for taking your art outdoors, Forestry England has some great ideas, and Outdoor Arts UK have a whole directory of organisations you could work with, Or, perhaps there’s more we can do to help incentivise grandparents to engage more in arts and culture?  The Woodville in Gravesend has introduced a Grand Ticket for certain shows, offering discounted rates to patrons over 60 who are accompanied by at least one child.

Many organisations are providing an excellent offer for older generations. You can find a range of age-friendly case studies in our resources library. Start small by exploring opportunities to incorporate younger family members into certain activities within your existing programmes for older age groups.

Intergenerational Music Making are training the sector to provide opportunities for intergenerational creativity, as well as leading their own programmes to connect generations in local communities, with many positive outcomes for well-being, mental health, loneliness and community integration.

At the last Family Arts Conference, consultant geriatrician Dr Zoe Wyrko spoke about her role on the Channel 4 programme Old People’s Home for Four Year Olds, and the many benefits she observed in both generations participating in intergenerational activities. There is a lot that we as a sector can learn about from these types of programmes.


What’s next?

This research demonstrates that we need to have more discussion with families. We need to understand more about the barriers to intergenerational engagement in arts and culture in order to ensure we are offering these audiences relevant and meaningful experiences.

The low levels of intergenerational engagement suggested in our survey demonstrates the continued need for more dedicated work in local communities, to make arts and culture both accessible and attractive as an option for spending quality time together.

We see this as a chance to encourage more grandparents and grandchildren to try out low-cost and in many cases, free culture events and activities in their local area. We will be doing so through our national event listings campaign www.fantasticforfamilies.com.

We’ll also be working with organisations across the UK to ensure we provide training opportunities to engage with older and intergenerational audiences.

Our Age-Friendly Standards are helping organisations to meet the complex access needs of older visitors and provide a welcoming and positive environment for older family members. These Standards are a self-assessed accreditation that enable organisations to benchmark their progress across a number of areas including programme, communications and relationship building.


What are you doing for intergenerational audiences?

If you have a case study to share, we’d love to hear from you. Please contact Clair@thealbany.org.uk. Or join the discussion @familyarts1 #familyarts #agefriendly.


Notes on the survey:

All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc.  Total sample size was 2013 adults of which, 447 had grandchildren 12 years old or under. Fieldwork was undertaken between 1st – 3rd November 2019.  The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB adults (aged 18+).


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