February 2015 Update

I completed the extensive evaluation report of Year 1 of iOrchestra, the Philharmonia Orchestra’s touring project in the South West Peninsular, at the end of November, and I travelled down to Plymouth to present it to the project’s Consortium meeting. With such a multi-stranded project and new technologies and approaches to audience development, there was a lot to learn and a lot to absorb – and I’m pleased to report that Year 2 of the project is shaping up to be even stronger, having adopted many of the recommendations that came out of the review exercise. You can read the summary of the report for yourself via the brilliant CultureHive website from the Arts Marketing Association. Or soon as a case study for the same site.


The galleries from the Plus Tate network who are taking part in the Circuit youth audiences project have remained busy during the autumn and winter. It’s exciting to me to see how each has developed much more embedded ways of working across staff teams and young people groups to try out, assess, reflect and learn from ways of marketing to other young people – and then improving their practice in iterative ways. February 9th is our second national sharing day, giving us all chance to reflect and share the experiences of the last year.


I led a workshop with the young people of Tate Collective London at the start of the month, to visualise and ‘get to know’ different types of young people they want to attract to the London galleries. The Tate Collective gang worked so hard and came up with really interesting insights into the motivations and barriers experienced by young people. They said they learned a lot – but I learned fresh things from them too.


In January I authored a new guide to audience development on tour for the Members Handbook of the Touring Exhibitions Group. It will be online to download soon … if you’re a member!


And I’m plunging deep into everything Gypsy culture right now, working with writer Dan Allum and his Romany Theatre Company to prepare a long view marketing strategy building towards a mid-scale tour of a new production in 2016, among many other projects he’s working on. One thrill of my work is the way windows into new worlds keep opening.


Meanwhile, there’s a new CIC company about to launch, offering advice and support for arts and sports charities for which I’ll offer audience development training. Plus HLF seems to have made a new round of funding announcements, resulting in many invitations to tender for work … so I’d better get cracking.