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:

Matthew Swann(Interim chair) Chief Executive, City of London Sinfonia
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
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 team:

Anna DeverHead of Campaign
Rukhsana JahangirCampaign Manager
Sophie EvansDigital Marketing Manager
Daniela GerstmannDigital Marketing Officer

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‘Test Drive The Arts’ for Families


In 1998 Anne Roberts wrote Test Drive the Arts: a practical guide to setting up schemes that bring people into the arts, or a particular art-form, or venue for the first time. The term Test Drive was used by Arts About Manchester (now The Audience Agency), to describe initiatives in the arts that encouraged new audiences to try out the art on offer in a way that was low risk. This approach is much like how car retailers operate, by encouraging people to ‘Test Drive’ their products free of charge. Test Drive as a concept is not new; many organisations have been using this approach to target new audiences for years and there are many examples that you can learn from. Test Drive is more than just free tickets however, it refers to an overall approach describing:

“An arts organisation’s planned and incentivised encouragement of people to experience something in the arts for the first time, leading to lasting relationships” p3, Test Drive the Arts, Anne Roberts, 1998

Test Drive is not necessarily about working with audiences that you find very hard to appeal to; although they may be included in your targeting. It is about broadening your audience base to anyone that you currently don’t attract. It is about finding out and knowing what families want, and responding to this. It is about increasingly teaming up with other organisations to make best use of resources and to ensure families in 2013 and beyond are offered the best possible arts experiences we are in a position to offer.

This resource

This resource is designed to be a quick prompt to help you:

  • Identify where you are now and where you would like to be in terms of reaching new family audiences.
  • Have a really effective conversation either internally or with partners about what taking a Test Drive approach could achieve.
  • Start to plan a new Test Drive campaign.
Where Are You Now? >





© The Audience Agency 2013 for the Family Arts Campaign

The Audience AgencyACE h50

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