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
eyes

Back to top | Close

Close

News

FAC Ambassador Blog – North East Family Network

For the first in our blog series from the Family Arts Ambassador Programme (2019-2022), North East Ambassador and Project Manager Sallyanne Flemons discusses how the Network are using peer recommendation to improve family engagement and how the Ambassador programme will help the North East Family Network.

A Family Day at BALTIC in Gateshead

This October the North East Family Arts Network was very pleased to be chosen to join the Family Arts Campaign’s Network Ambassador Programme. We are one of six networks across England who have increased resources to improve our engagement with families and reach new audiences over three years. This blog explains more about how we intend to do it using a new model.

The Family Arts Network in our region is primarily delivered through Family Explorers North East – a digital project enabling peer recommendation of venues and family-friendly events. Research in 2013 by Newcastle Gateshead Cultural Venues found that peer recommendation is a key factor in giving families the confidence and information they need to try new events, venues and cultural genres. It was this research that led to the creation of Family Explorers North East. A public Facebook Group, website and a regular e-newsletter are the tools providing a platform for these recommendations.

Family Explorers is backed by 14 organisations from across the north east. We call their venues the ‘Brilliant Places’ and we’re proud that (at the time of writing) if you search Google for this term, Family Explorers comes top. These organisations form the North East Family Arts Network and run over 40 venues and one festival, the events of which we promote through the Family Explorers platform.

Our Facebook group families can post directly on the page, ask for advice on days out and leave reviews and recommendations. I also post ideas from the ‘Brilliant Places’. There are now over 10,000 people on the Family Explorers Facebook Group and more than 2,000 receiving the e-newsletter.

WHAT NOW?

The new funding from the Family Arts Campaign Ambassador programme has increased the time we can spend boosting family engagement. While this increase in resources is fabulous news for the project, it’s vital that we spend it as effectively as possible to make a real difference and prove, through reliable data, what we are achieving.

We’ve written our outline strategy and our priorities include:

  • Creating and implementing an income generation strategy that should enable us to increase income year-on-year. This will ultimately boost our resources for improving engagement; including potentially upping our marketing spend to promote the Family Explorers platforms to more families, accelerating its growth.
  • Working with more non-arts partners, helping us to reach those audiences who may not currently be engaging with our offer. We’ll explore working with businesses, local authorities, charities and other relevant voluntary groups.
  • Proactively increasing the number of new families engaging with us and achieving a rise in the number of families attending events at network member venues and festivals. We’re hoping to achieve this by growing the number of Family Explorers but also working closely with venues to promote particular events.
  • Recording the perceptions of families attending sample events and those mentioned on Facebook with an aspiration of 75% reporting positively about the experience.
  • Working in partnership with expert network members to increase engagement with those in areas of high social deprivation, potentially introducing stepping stones to enable these audiences to access the Family Explorers tools.
  • Ensuring as many of our region’s cultural organisations as possible are outwardly showing their commitment to quality by signing up to the Family Arts Standards and The Age Friendly Standards and listing their events on the Fantastic For Families website.

We recognise these aspirations are ambitious and we need to break this down into more detailed plans and actions to make it happen. This new funding is in effect providing a springboard to renewed resilience and growth for our network.

THE CHALLENGES

For us, the number of organisations involved with our network represents both an opportunity and a challenge. Between them, these organisations are already doing a huge amount of work to grow family audiences. We can build on this and draw upon their expertise. What is difficult is measuring the effects of our work as a collective when these organisations are all different in the ways they evaluate their audiences, both qualitatively and quantitatively.

Our way around this will be to use Audience Finder to draw out region-wide data as well as insights from our own Family Explorers Facebook Group and analysis of our e-newsletter audiences. We’ve also already sent out surveys to families and our member organisations to establish our baseline information. We can revisit these surveys at milestone points during the project.

We’re fortunate to be able to access learning and expertise from the Family Arts Campaign and to be sharing knowledge and ideas with the other Family Arts Networks in the country. On our three-year journey, we will all benefit greatly from sharing our discoveries with projects in a very similar boat.

This knowledge of best practice will be invaluable. We are under no illusions about how easy it is to engage those families who may currently feel that the arts are not for them, hence our recognition that we will need to work with others to make this happen. We hope that Family Explorers can be a valuable catalyst for existing projects.

We are also working closely with the Sunderland Family Arts Network to make sure there is no overlap with our data and we’re not double counting. Our projects will complement each other and we’ll share learning and resources where we can.

In the shorter term, we want to hail the new ambitions for the North East Family Arts Network with an event for our region’s cultural organisations in the spring which explains our plans, invites feedback, shares current best practice for engaging families (including from families themselves) and finds out more about what’s currently underway.

It’s early days but we’re optimistic and very excited by the potential of these new resources to improve access to culture and the perceptions of families in a region that currently has one of the lowest levels of arts engagement in the country.

Craft activities at Seven Stories, The National Centre for Children’s Books, in Newcastle upon Tyne

 

Get our monthly newsletter

x plus