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
Sebastian CaterHead of UK Theatre and Workforce Development, 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
Paula OrrellDirector, Contemporary Visual Arts Network
Frederick HopkinsHead of Business Development and Membership, One Dance UK
Sarah Mears and Liz McMillanProgramme Manager, Libraries Connected / Libraries and Culture Services Manager, Slough Borough Council 


Central co-ordination is led by a small team:

Anna DeverHead of Campaign
Rukhsana JahangirCampaign Manager
Sophie EvansDigital Marketing Manager
Anna O’ConnorDigital Marketing Support Officer

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‘Test Drive The Arts’ for Families

Step 1: Where are you now?

Families tend to know what they want and repeat visit places that offer it.

Your first step should be to establish what kind of track record you have in terms of attracting families. Do you know what percentage of your overall audience are families? How do you account for this figure? Do you know what they come to you for and what they value about it? Or is it that you don’t currently know enough? If this is the case talk to some of the families you do attract at this point to find out their views; this will save you a lot of time and energy and will make sure your plans are heading in the right direction.

Family demands are often clear and need addressing by venues in order to increase family audiences. The good news is that satisfying these demands is often relatively quick and inexpensive.

Know what families are saying about you and where possible respond to what they want. Based on what families have told you so far, are there things that you could do in your venue to improve your offer to families? Often things like improving signage and staff awareness of family facilities and activities make a real difference. Venues that make families feel unwelcome however good their programming will always find it hard to attract new families who will automatically be more wary visiting an unfamiliar space. Sometimes a half-day training course between different colleagues can really kick-start a new enthusiasm and understanding for what new audiences are likely to need.

There are many different types of family out there and many different motivations for watching or participating in something. Do you know enough about who currently comes to your venue and why?

Identify who you’re already reaching and why they have chosen you. What do you know about the families that come to you? How often do they come? What is the average size of a group; is it that you offer opportunities for quality time between small groups or do you have the offer and the space to house large groups of families and friends ? What kinds of families are you successful in attracting? Once you know this, it may be quite straightforward to build a picture of what you’re doing well. You should then use this insight to communicate the benefits you offer families and start to target similar audiences.

Families often look for recommendations before testing out a new experience in the arts.

Work with other organisations to see if you could benefit from encouraging sharing and cross-over between your audiences. This could take the form of shared marketing, programming or working together to make larger events. Make sure you find out first the extent to which your own audiences are shared or discreet to ensure you will actually be able to attract new audiences by working in this way.

< BackgroundWhat Are You Trying To Achieve? >





© The Audience Agency 2013 for the Family Arts Campaign

The Audience AgencyACE h50

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