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

Back to top | Close



70,000 families join the word’s first Kitchen Rave from Big Fish Little Fish

Father with child on his shoulders, with multi-coloured lights

Big Fish Little Fish are the makers of the original family rave and for seven years have been running award-winning events for families with 0-8 year olds in venues for around 400 – 3,000 people. They have teams all over the UK, Ireland and Australia and have played sold out events at fabric, National Gallery, Glastonbury Festival, V&A Museum, castles, a cathedral and even a rave in the woods! We spoke to Hannah Saunders, the company’s founder, to find out more about their virtual offer to families during Covid-19.


How the world’s first family Kitchen Rave was born                   

In mid-March, as we and our customers began to be concerned about mass gatherings, we started postponing our events. The following week, as schools announced they would close and it became clear that the UK would enter full lockdown, we immediately wondered what we could do for anxious people everywhere as we moved into a strange world of isolation and social distancing.

Mother’s Day, when we were originally planning to run 6 events, was in four days’ time, so we took the snap decision to do our first ever livestream, giving ourselves just 4 days to work out what we were doing. We knew this would give families the opportunity to give shout-outs to mums or to children with cancelled birthday parties. It was just a bit of fun to cheer everyone up and give them a feeling of connection.

We had CDJs (digital music players for DJing) and a laptop at home, so I (Hannah Saunders, Big Fish Little Fish founder) would make my DJing debut and David (my partner) would handle the bubbles, foam and confetti cannons. Neil Briggs, our South-West manager, would help remotely with the tech side of things.

We set up an event page on Facebook on Saturday, and we woke up on the morning of the rave to find 60,000 were interested in joining us! So, at 2pm on Sunday 22nd March, the world’s first Kitchen Rave for families was born. In the end, 70,000 households watched the stream. Thousands commented and posted photos from all over the world, even before the event was shut down by Facebook after 45 minutes (as expected). This was due to the platforms automated copyright detection processes, which sometimes incorrectly classify use of music as an infringement of copyright. There are ongoing conversations between web platforms and the music industry about this but it’s something to be prepared for if you’re working with recordings.


Starting with what works

Since our first attempt, we have run free weekly virtual family raves on Sunday afternoons. This is the same time that we would typically run our local events – much of our experience of what works for families has translated into the online experience. We have thought carefully about times and days when a family is most likely to be available to enjoy our Raves together, plus when they will have their highest energy levels.



How we’re fostering connection

A sense of connection is so important and we encourage this by enabling live commenting on the Facebook stream. To help us manage shout-out requests, these can be submitted in advance for our DJs to read out.

Despite the lack of physical travel, the live stream moves virtually around the country each week, bringing in new DJs and different genres of music. Plus, we try to keep an element of daftness to keep up the fun factor for all ages – with balloons, bubbles, confetti cannon and even foam machines being let off by the DJs in their homes.

Between streams we provide other content to our followers such as links to educational resources, music they may enjoy and things to make them laugh. Virtual ravers have also joined in with themed fancy dress. Our craft manager Captain Cookie has been helping families to take part by how-to videos in advance of simple crafts such as making your own pirate hat. Lots of pirate jokes were shared amongst virtual attendees in the comments section!


Reaching families online

Not everyone uses Facebook, so we also stream on Twitch, YouTube and Mixcloud in order to give people options that may better suit them. We promote Kitchen Raves across as many online forums as possible and have offered a cross-posted stream to existing partners. This has already resulted in streams for Barefoot Festival, Festival 2Funky, Camp Bestival and next week we will be part of Edinburgh Pride online.  We are working with the Museum of London and Horniman Museum in order to do something for them online in the summer too. This has been a great way to expand our reach as well as provide relevant content to our valued partners. We also want to work with more partners and DJs to spread the joy far and wide.

Over 300,000 households have now watched the streams and we’re thrilled to have been featured on Sky News internationally, the BBC and national newspapers. Feedback from attendees has been wonderful – many say it gives them something to look forward to each week and one woman told us she found her husband crying afterwards because it was, ‘the first time [he] had felt joy in so long’. We hope the project will lead to longer term engagement with our new Facebook following, which has increased by around 25%. Our YouTube subscribers are now over 1,000, a tenfold increase, with new families joining every week. We intend to continue the weekly streams until we can run our regular events again, and we hope that families will remain with us for the journey.


Hannah Saunders is the Founder of Big Fish Little Fish productions. Find out more about their Kitchen Raves.

Quick Links


See all news

UK’s best family-friendly events and venues revealed

National awards celebrate the best family-friendly arts and culture events We’re excited to let you know that the winners of […]

Read the full article

Hand holding a red crayon resting on a print of leaves

The Spark’s Creative Learning Toolkit / Sparking Creativity Family Champions

Thank you to The Spark Arts for Children for this brand new case study into engaging families with creativity remotely. […]

Read the full article


See all downloads

Fantastic for Families logo PNG


Family Arts Networks

Local Family Arts Networks Joining Form

Download the joining form for Local Family Arts Networks

Get our monthly newsletter

x plus