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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Holli Graham – Family arts packs shared via community food banks

As a particularly rural Family Arts Network, Cumbria has faced some unique challenges and opportunities during the Covid-19 pandemic. The region is highly dependent on income from domestic and international tourism during the summer, which was severely impacted in 2020.

Organisations are also very spread out geographically, which can make it more difficult for Network colleagues to meet in-person. During Covid-19 however, Holli noted that her Network colleagues, like many others, had become much more reliant on communicating digitally and via phone. So Holli started a Whatsapp group for Network communication, a handy way for colleagues to stay connected.

Many arts organisations in Cumbria have very few staff or are entirely volunteer-run. Although this can present its own challenges, it has also meant that some volunteer-run Network members have been less impacted by revenue losses from Covid than larger, staff-run organisations.

Like the Manchester and Bristol Family Arts Networks, Holli has used the Covid-19 crisis as an opportunity to reach out to new kinds of organisations, families, and parts of Cumbria that would have been more difficult to engage previously. Holli saw a growing appreciation amongst local people and organisations about the importance of the arts during lockdown.

The Cumbria network has also focused on building new relationships with non-arts organisations such as schools, libraries, and like in Manchester, a local foodbank to reach families. Holli and her network partnered with North Lakes Foodbank over the summer to produce and distribute family arts packs for families in the deprived area of North Lakes, which has traditionally been underserved and excluded from many Cumbria-wide initiatives. They have been able to reach 50 vulnerable and less-engaged families through this project.

The success of the art packs at the Foodbank has been used as a model to successfully launch a similar initiative with Key Stage 2 pupilsdistributing school art packs and accompanying digital PDF resources to Cumbrian primary schools to engage local children and their families

Holli looks forward to increased engagement with new types of families and organisations translating into greater engagement with local arts programmes after the pandemic.  

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