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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Yemi Bolatiwa – collaboratively creating arts packs to reach new families

Based at Z-Arts, Manchester Ambassador Yemi runs one of the largest Family Arts Networks in terms of the number of member organisations.

As a densely-populated city with a large entertainment and tourism economy, Manchester was hit particularly hard by the Covid pandemic. As with other Networks, Manchester member organisations had to cancel in-person activities and quickly create new forms of family engagement that could take place remotely. This led to the development of new relationships with non-arts organisations that serve deprived and underserved families, including the South Central Manchester Foodbank. 

In August, Yemi produced a 12page booklet featuring content from 5 network organisations and venues, including Manchester Libraries, People’s History Museum, Manchester Museum, Manchester Art Gallery, and lead organisation Z-arts. The booklets formed part of 90 family arts activity packs and were distributed to families through the Foodbank.  

Not only did the family arts packs allow Manchester network organisations to engage families with arts activities during Covid, they also reached different kinds of families through the Foodbank partnership than they might have otherwise, including families from Arabic, Urdu, and European language backgrounds.

Given the success of the initiative, the Manchester Family Arts Network have since gone on to create three more booklets and produced over 830 packs for the South Central Manchester Food Bank, local Hulme area and across Greater Manchester since they began. It is hoped that this new form of engagement with more vulnerable families will lead to more face-to-face participation post-Covid.  

Evaluation has been a challenge during the pandemic, when normal ways of gaining feedback and data have been derailed. However, Yemi came up with creative and fun ways of capturing feedback from families digitally. Using the educational quiz platform Kahoot!, Yemi surveyed adoptive families in Manchester about their interests, perceptions, engagement levelsand barriers around arts and culture. The survey found that responding families were most interested in gallery and museum visits, followed by live music events, and creative workshops with other families. Nearly all families agreed or strongly agreed that arts and culture was important to their familyespecially as an opportunity to spend time together, experience something new, and socialise. Most respondents attended family arts events once a month, and the main barriers to engaging more frequently included financial considerations, transport and location, accessibility needs, and being too busy. These findings are helping inform the Manchester Network’s approach to engaging and communicating with adoptive and other types of families in the future.  

Despite the challenges of Covid-19, Yemi and the Manchester Family Arts Network found new ways to reach the most vulnerable families in a time of acute need. At a time in which audience data was challenging to collect, Yemi also gained new insights into family audiences and established new relationships with community organisations that will endure beyond the pandemic.

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