Family Arts Conference 2024

We’re excited to share the brilliant speakers and fascinating topics we’ll be exploring at the Family Arts Conference 2024.

Join us for an energising day on 29 February 2024 at Leeds Playhouse, to learn, connect, be inspired and recharge.

The national Conference will provide opportunities to hear about incredible initiatives, best practice and fantastic events that have been happening in the sector and learn about the data, approaches and tools that can benefit your work.

Together we can help families and older people access arts and culture across the UK.

So what can you expect in this year’s programme? Scroll down to discover the keynote presentations, panel discussions, practical workshops, and creative time…

Haven’t booked your tickets yet? Ticket Sales end Wednesday 14 February – Book Now!

Discover the timetable for the day, and click on the sessions in bold to find out more about each of them.

The Conference ends at 5.30pm with the option to join the Family Arts Campaign Team at a nearby bar for networking drinks.

***Please note, you do not need to book your sessions in advance – you can decide on the day***

Arts for All

For this morning keynote, we’ll be starting the day creatively with Felicity Goodman, Freelance Storyteller and Community Artist, followed by tales from speakers sharing what ‘Arts for all’ means for them.

We’ll hear from Savannah Stanislaus, Trustee, Campaign for the Arts and Richard O’Neill, International award winning Author, Storyteller and Creative Lead at Seven Stories, the National centre for children’s books.

You’ll also hear more about Family Arts Campaign’s story from Anna Dever, Executive Director of Family Arts Campaign, sharing our next chapter and how you can make the most of our support.

Growing With Your Audience
– the Importance of Data to Build Participation

Led by:
Lowri Jones, Senior Consultant, Spektrix
Lauren Watson, Client Success Lead, Spektrix

In this session we’ll be taking a look at some of the different approaches arts organisations take to engage with their communities and how data plays an important part in developing those relationships.

Learn how to effectively track and report on the impact you are having with participants new and old and how the use of CRM tools can help to increase efficiency and engagement. You’ll come away with a bunch of actionable takeaways to implement at your organisation, no matter the size of your team or CRM system.

I’m A Teenager… Get Me Into There!

Led by:
Teresa Baggaley, Programme Manager for Training & Development, Curious Minds
Dr Stephanie Hawke, Head of Evaluation & Impact, Curious Minds

How do young people feel when they engage with our offer?
What barriers do they face and does this affect their likelihood to return?

In 2023, Curious Minds launched an online version of its training course I’m A Teenager Get Me Into There, which considers these questions. In this session we’ll explore elements of the course such as where our misperceptions of teenagers come from, and what teenagers say about their experiences of art and culture.

The teenage brain is still developing and we’ll encourage participants to consider what consequences this has for their approach to work with young people.

Celebrating Similarities Through Story

Led by:
Richard O’Neill, International award winning Author, Storyteller and Creative Lead at Seven Stories the National centre for children’s books

Discover how storytelling, when wielded skilfully, becomes a dynamic tool for accelerating rapport in various contexts, be it during crucial meetings, crafting compelling funding bids, or expanding your reach to new audiences.

Participants will delve into the art of creating profound connections and fostering positive collaborations.

    • Learn practical techniques to infuse storytelling into your professional interactions. 
    • Gain insights into the art of crafting narratives that resonate across diverse audiences. 
    • Explore the transformative impact of storytelling in enhancing collaboration and rapport.
    • Celebrate the common threads of our shared human experiences through the art of storytelling. 

A Space for Me – A Creative Space to Reflect and Recharge

Facilitating Artists:
Alison Curry, Dispel Arts
Jane Crawford, Daisy Arts

An opportunity to connect, create and reflect with others, who share your passion and enthusiasm for equitable connected, creative opportunities for all.

A space for acknowledgement and affirmation of your contributions to the creative fabric countrywide.

Throughout the day, together, via collaborative or independent creative endeavors you will have the opportunity to connect and celebrate with connections old and new affirming the notion that no matter what is occurring elsewhere in other projects and communities there is always ‘A Space for You’ and that your creative voice matters.

This session will run throughout the day, so choose which breakout time suits you.

Why Creativity and Culture Matters for Families

Joseph Coelho, Award-winning Poet, Playwright, Author and Waterstones Children’s Laureate

Join Joseph Coelho to discuss why access to creativity and culture is essential for children and families.

Joseph Coelho started performing his poems in schools and running writing workshops for students after attending a performance poetry course run by Apples & Snakes. His first collection, The Werewolf Club Rules was published in 2014 and Joseph has been writing and performing ever since. Recent titles include the Fairytales Gone Bad series, Luna Loves ChristmasOur Tower and Ten Word Tiny Tales.

Art at the Start:
How can we work together to provide and evidence the efficacy of arts-based supports for the early years?

Led by:
Josephine Ross, Reader, Psychology at University of Dundee

Art at the Start is a partnership between a research psychologist and an arts therapist, dedicated to evidencing the impact the arts can have upon infant development and how shared art experiences may help bonding in the early years. In this session we will share what we have been able to offer and learn from cultural, community and NHS partners, working collaboratively to champion early and equal access to the health benefits of the arts.

In this session, you will:

  • Learn about how art experiences can positively impact early years and families
  • Understand the power of partnership working to strengthen approaches
  • Learn about evidencing impact

Breaking Down Barriers to Create Age-Friendly Experiences

Natalie Turner, Deputy Director for Localities, Centre for Ageing Better
Andy Barry, Elders Programme Producer, Royal Exchange Theatre
Colin Blackledge, Elders Company Graduate
Kinisha Morgan-Williams, Elders Company Graduate and Dream Project Participant
Graham Gillis, Elders Company Graduate

Chaired by:
Lily Craig, Special Projects Associate, Leeds Playhouse

In this session, we will explore what it means to be age-friendly and what you can do to make your work more inclusive. Gain insights from the Centre for Ageing Better and hear directly about what age-friendly means in a verbatim spoken-word performance from three of Manchester’s Royal Exchange Theatre Elders Company, who recently won the Best Age-Friendly Outreach Award for The Dream Project.

In this session you will:

  • Learn more about what it means to be age-friendly
  • Understand the needs of older participants and what you can do create more inclusive experiences
  • Inspiration from projects that have broadened approaches to access.

Creating Representative Content for Families

Led by:
Chandni Mistry, Creative Programmes Practitioner, Curve Theatre

How can we make sure the work we create for families and participants can represent those in our communities? In this session, we’ll explore how to entice families, and create enjoyable and enriching experiences.

Questions we will work on:

  • Where to start when creating work for families?
  • What can we ask participants and ourselves as we make our work more representative?
  • How can we use our professional and creative talents to bring the work to life

Poverty Proofing© Arts & Culture for Families

Led by:
Gill Simmons, Artistic Director, Brave Bold Drama
Chloe Maclellan, Poverty Proofing© Team Manager Arts & Culture, Children North East

Chaired by:
Karla Barnacle-Best, Lecturer at the Institute for Creative and Cultural Entrepreneurship, Goldsmiths, University of London

In this session will explore how poverty is defined, some of the causes and consequences of living in poverty. We will share information about Poverty Proofing© and how it can support settings in being more accessible to lower income families.

In this session, you will:

  • Hear more about how you can Poverty Proof your work and the steps you will need to take
  • Understand needs of families from low-income households and how you can support
  • Inspiration for how you can make a difference to families in need

Family Arts: Who’s at Risk of Exclusion?

Tim Wheeler, Senior Project Manager, All In, Arts Council England
Phil Douglas, Chief Executive & Executive Producer, Curious Arts
Savannah Stanislaus, Trustee, Campaign for the Arts

Chaired by:
Elaine Grant, Director, Elaine Grant Creative Consulting

In this panel discussion, we’ll hear from experts who are supporting the cultural sector to broaden our understanding of access and what it means to be inclusive.  

In this session you will: 

    • Find out more about national initiatives that are improving access within the cultural sector 
    • Understand the barriers to access, and how you can support those at risk of exclusion 
    • Gain inspiration from effective case studies who have re-examined their approach to inclusion. 

The Essential ‘A’s of Intergenerational Activities

Led by:
Louise Goulden, Founder & CEO, Together Project

Bringing different age groups together for shared creative activities has so many benefits – but there’s also lots to think about. In this interactive workshop, Louise will share insights, learnings and practical considerations born from her experience of growing a grassroots local project into a national intergenerational charity.

The workshop will include:

  • idea generation
  • how to plan your activity
  • making it a success
  • pitfalls to watch out for
  • inspirational case studies to motivate your work

It’s All About YOU!

Derri Burdon, Chief Executive at Curious Minds, will share why YOUR job might just be the most important one in your organisation and the sector.

Curious Minds  is a charity that works to tackle unequal access to creativity and culture for children and young people who are often excluded by social and economic inequalities. Derri is also Co-Chair of the Cultural Learning Alliance, Chair of Wigan’s Cultural Partnership Board and a secondary school governor.

Inspired by her own family and childhood experiences, Derri is passionate about improving outcomes for all children, especially the most disadvantaged and vulnerable.

Leeds Playhouse, 29 February 2024


The Venue

We are delighted to be hosting our event at Leeds Playhouse, a venue committed to offering a welcoming and accessible experience for its visitors. You can find out more about the accessibility of the building here and photographs of key spaces here. The conference will be making use of the following areas: Courtyard Theatre, Bramall Rock Void, Brooke Room, City Room, Weston Room, Multi-faith reflection room, Level One Balcony & PLAYhouse corner, Level One Terrace Bar, Playhouse Kitchen & Bar.

The Programme

We want to ensure the conference is accessible for everyone and we’ll be releasing a detailed conference programme in due course. To enable you to book with confidence, we’ll be including the following in our conference programme:

  • A quiet space, available to all delegates at any point during the conference.
  • A multi-faith reflection space, available to all delegates (and staff or visitors to the Playhouse) at any point during the conference.
  • A creative networking space, with a range of self-led creative activities on offer, available to all delegates at any point during the conference.
  • A variety of large group presentation style and smaller participatory style breakouts to choose from.
  • Regular breaks throughout the programme schedule which include a catered lunch as well as tea, coffee and refreshments throughout the day.

We are committed to providing bespoke support for accessibility requirements wherever possible, this could be anything from a BSL interpreter or hearing loop provision, a water bowl for your guide dog or sending you a photo of a named member of the team who you can locate on the day, for any support you may need. When booking online there’s the option to tell us about any access needs you may have, but if you would like to discuss your needs with us in person, or have any access questions please email Anna Dever, Executive Director of Family Arts Campaign on

Conference Sponsors:

Spektrix is the UK’s and Ireland’s largest ticketing, marketing and fundraising solution, working with 600+ theatres, performance venues and visitor attractions to build more and better relationships with audiences. As a certified B Corporation, it’s part of their mission to support the whole arts sector; through technology, insights and connections with experts and partners worldwide.

Let Designworks Support Your Vision

“We are Designworks, a full-service design agency providing creative solutions for all your design needs including web development, branding, marketing and design.We pride ourselves on being accessible and approachable, providing clear communication and a smooth work process. Our team of experts cover a broad range of disciplines and, over the years, we have developed strong working partnerships with a range of businesses and organisations, including Family Arts Campaign. We have worked with Family Arts since 2013 and we were delighted to receive this feedback about the recent redesign of their website: ”The team really understood our vision for the website. Highly recommend!” – Family Arts CampaignIf you have a project in mind, we’d love to hear from you”

Leonie Black, Designworks