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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Dundee Contemporary Arts: Why art is amazing for young children

Dundee Contemporary Arts has made this year’s shortlist for our Audience Impact Award. Here they tell us why art is so fantastic for young children’s development.

Dundee Contemporary Arts is a family friendly arts centre in the heart of Dundee. We have two galleries, two cinemas, a print studio, café/bar and a create space where you can do DIY making activities based on our current exhibitions. We also run regular free drop-in Family Art Labs led by professional artist educators and low-price ticketed Bring A Baby film screenings. Every year we programme Discovery Film Festival, an international film festival for young audiences with lots of exciting activities for all. We were shortlisted for a Fantastic for Families Impact Award for our work with very young children in the project ‘Art at the Start’. This is a collaboration between DCA and the University of Dundee Psychology Department to promote and research the benefits of art making for parents together with 0-3 year old children.

Why make art with very young children?

Making art together is amazing for young children’s development. It helps them to feel connected to their grown-ups and to share new experiences together. It also lets them see how they can make a mark in the world which builds their sense of self and expands their range of sensory experiences which is great for their brain development. And it’s fun!

What we do

We have developed monthly ‘Messy Play‘ sessions for parents and their 0-3 year olds. In these sessions we visit the gallery for inspiration and then do sensory and art activities in response. You can expect to get stuck into some colourful paintings on a big plastic mat on the floor, and exploring the different sensations in a sensory tray of coloured rice or shaving foam, followed by a baby bath! These sessions are open to the public and you can find details on the DCA website.

What parents said was important to them:

“My baby painting for the first time!”

“…letting the baby experience really messy play”

“…free play that is child-led but the theme to tie everything together”

We are also running blocks of art therapy sessions where we offer extra support to parents and young children to improve wellbeing. These groups are run by an art therapist with a maximum 8 parents and little ones coming together with a focus on relaxed and playful interactions through art making. Sessions can have positive impacts for post-natal depression, anxiety or feeling isolated. Referrals come via Health Visitors, family nurses and local charities; If you think you would benefit from these groups you could let your health professional know.

What parents said:

“I always feel happier once I’ve been to this group”

“A safe space to play and bond. Gives ideas to try at home too”

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