Since joining the Family Arts Campaign Ambassador programme in 2019, the North East Family Arts Network(NEFAN) has been making tangible progress diversifying the family audiences accessing culture in the region.
The Network grew from the Family Explorers North East project which started out eight years ago as an NGCV research initiative and is led by Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums.
This year, NEFAN has partnered up with Children North East to spread the word about ‘Poverty Proofing’ the culture sector, a process that consults least engaged families about barriers that could prevent them accessing our offer. NEFAN is part of a Paul Hamlyn bid to fund this process for itself.
Poverty proofing was a key topic when NEFAN ran a conversation-starting Zoom conference for its members back in April. Bringing Down the Barriers: Access and Inclusion for Every Family explored culture sector best practice around diversifying audiences, offering knowledge-sharing opportunities and expert speakers.
For many of us, door-dropped creative packs have been another popular way to reach out to least engaged families during the Covid-19 crisis and information about Family Explorers North East has been added to several of these in partnership with members.
Families who join the Family Explorers Facebook community will hear what events their peers are recommending and can ask other members questions so this offers a way to sustain engagement with these audiences longer term and grow their cultural confidence over time.
Family Explorers has also been a useful tool for gauging views during this unprecedented period and Facebook polls have helped NEFAN members glean what digital content families most want as well as testing views on how they are feeling about going back to re-opened venues.
Despite the Covid crisis, Family Explorers subscribers are still growing and there are now over 11,500 people signed up. New member organisations have also been welcomed on board including Theatre Hullabaloo, Museums Northumberland, Bowes Museum and Newcastle Cathedral. Over the next few months, NEFAN will be firming up plans to facilitate new ways to help as many new families as possible engage with the excellent culture our region has to offer.
If you would like to discuss ways to diversify audiences with the North East Family Arts Network, please get in touch with project manager, Sallyanne Flemons at email@example.com.