What I've Learnt: Family Matters

What I've Learnt: Family Matters

Upswing: Bedtime Stories
Jenny Daly

Image: Upswing - Bedtime Stories

With the Family Arts Campaign now in its fifth year and ahead of the Family Arts Conference in Bristol on 15 March, we speak with Jenny Daly, Family Arts Campaign Manager, to find out a bit more about why she believes ‘Family Matters’.

Date Published: 15 February 2017
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How would you describe the Family Arts Campaign?

The Family Arts Campaign aims to connect more families in the UK with arts and culture and is steered on that path by a 10-strong consortium of arts representative bodies, including UK Theatre.

Our focus is on promoting high-quality family work and encouraging its production and commissioning, raising the quality of experience for families and ensuring their needs are considered, and improving marketing to reach as many families as possible.

Tell us about some of your highlights to date.

We’ve celebrated 4 annual Festivals, conceived to raise awareness of opportunities for families to engage in the arts. Over 3,000 organisations have participated, promoting 17,000 events to 2.2 million family members. Almost 500 organisations hold the Family Arts Standards accreditation. Over 2,000 arts professionals have attended our training and conferences to-date, with over 8,500 downloads of specially-developed online resources. 23 local Family Arts Networks working together to strengthen audiences in their regions.

Our latest independent evaluation told us that, of participating organisations surveyed:

  •  61% reported an increase in artistic work targeted at families
  •  33% reported an increase in earned income from family audiences
  •  59% reported an increase in average attendance/participation overall.

It’s clear that getting your family offer right has a positive ripple effect across your organisation.

What continues to inspire you?

The brilliant work we see from the many organisations we engage with.

We celebrate good practice through our annual awards, which last year saw 14 winning organisations recognised for achievements including outstanding Venues, overall Family Welcome, and Best Family Event. Winners included Upswing, The Lowry, Lyric Hammersmith and National Theatre of Scotland.

What key challenges lie ahead?

Reaching families who are not necessarily engaged or aware of cultural opportunities in their communities is high on our agenda. Who are the families we are looking to engage? What are the assumptions we need to challenge? It is largely understood in 2017 that the 2.4 children family unit is no longer the accepted norm. But what about families with complex needs? How can we make engaging with arts and culture a really positive experience for them, and not a hurdle? It is so important to think about these things.

Partnership working is vital, both within and beyond the arts sector, as well as understanding the barriers faced by families in participating in the arts.

What are you most excited about?

By families, we don’t just mean children and their parents.

We’re excited about the opportunity to develop our work to be inclusive to older generations and explore the limits of how we think about ‘intergenerational appeal.’ We know that arts and culture have a big role to play in connecting multiple generations living side-by-side and contributing positively to our quality of life in an ageing society.

There is still so much more that we can achieve together.

On 15 th March in Bristol, along with over 30 speakers and up to 400 arts professionals from all art forms and disciplines, we’ll be exploring all of these questions and much more at our Family Arts Conference.

Continuing the debate, keeping families on our ever-growing priority list and sparking new conversations is what we’re all about and our third biennial Conference will provide ample opportunity to do so. We’ve also got some exciting new developments which we’ll be sharing.

We really hope to see you there!

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If you’d like to hear more about how your organisation can get involved with the Family Arts Campaign, please get in touch on jenny@thealbany.org.uk

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