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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Case Study: Making new friends at Ipswich Museums

A baby boy looking in a mirror

One of our youngest visitors playing in the Under 5s Zone at the Family Fun Day

Ipswich Museums and Ipswich Jobcentre have had a mutually supportive relationship since conversations began back in 2015. But both organisations felt that they could be doing more to support families in their local community. Here Eleanor Root, Collections and Learning Curator (Community) at Colchester + Ipswich Museums, talks us through their approach to collaboration and the resulting partnerships with Ipswich Jobcentre, Wellbeing Suffolk and Suffolk Family Carers.

In 2018 team members from Ipswich Museums and those from the Jobcentre met to talk through their own priorities as well as establish where there might be overlap between the organisations. The Jobcentre aims to support their most vulnerable families into sustainable employment, their team working to achieve this through a holistic approach that includes encouraging customers to access cultural and heritage offerings in Ipswich. The Museum team aims to engage with and widen the audiences that visit Ipswich Museums, especially communities from lower socio-economic backgrounds.

Everyone involved wanted to avoid creating a ‘project’ with an end date and pre-decided targets. Instead we decided to let our relationship grow organically, chat regularly and focus our resource where it was most needed. From speaking with the team at the Jobcentre, it became clear that many of their parents and carers find it a challenge to entertain their families over the long summer holidays, especially if budgets are tight. We realised that this was something the Museums team could help with. We already offer many free and low-cost events, but how could we expand or adapt this offer to engage with these families? We wondered what would happen if we ran one of our Museum events at Ipswich Jobcentre Plus.

Izzy and two children looking at a mammoth’s tooth

Izzy introducing visitors to a mammoth’s tooth at the Jobcentre Plus Takeover

On Friday 16th August 2019, we took over our local Jobcentre for a day of animal antics and creature crafts, joined by teams from the Jobcentre, Wellbeing Suffolk and Suffolk Family Carers.

Activities included live animal handling, a pop-up mini museum, artist-led activities, make-your-own well-being wands, badge making, under 5s zone and mindfulness activities. There was a lot to get stuck into and plenty of free snacks for the families that came along on the day.

We were thrilled to welcome nearly 100 people to our family fun day. Changing our location was a risk but one that paid off, with feedback from families being overwhelmingly positive:

“All of the activities were thoroughly enjoyed. It was lovely for my three year old son.”

“A fantastic idea through the holidays.”

“The people that were running the under fives area were amazing to my six month old very good with children and the art lady was so good with my baby. Thank you for all the friendly staff in general”

Partnerships don’t always need to be about public facing events. Jobcentre staff now hold their in-house training days at Museum sites, and we’ve received training back from Jobcentre about their role and how we can best support their customers. Since this event, we went on to host a careers and well-being fair at Ipswich Museum, and we’ve got a lot more planned!

Next, we are looking at how we can support other Jobcentres to work more closely with their local museums. We are already connecting with Jobcentre staff across Suffolk and Suffolk’s Museums Development and Partnership Manager.


About Ipswich Museums

This partnership is a part of Ipswich Museums’ wider organisational approach to find ways for the Museums to offer useful support to and further embed the Museums within Ipswich’s wonderful and diverse communities. Our community outreach work has seen the Museums become home to Suffolk Family Carers’ Warhammer Club, host pizza and art parties for YMCA residents and run under 5s activities at a nearby Children’s Centre. Find out more about Ipswich Museums.

This work has been generously supported by Suffolk Family Focus and Arts Council England.

Elle, Philip, and a snake

Elle, Curator at Ipswich Museums and Philip Carter-Goodyear, Suffolk Family Focus and Social Justice Manager and Disability Employment Adviser Leader, Department of Work and Pensions, Ipswich Jobcentre Plus


Read more Case Studies in our Resources Library


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