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My essential reads: value(s) in cultural participation

Are you thinking about participation and the different values we all bring to our experience of culture? Here are six recommended reads that will help you explore the different meanings people give to ‘participation’ and how this affects the approaches we might take.


Published: 2020 | Resource type: Essential reads

Involving participants in fundraising

In this case study, Fabio Santos describes his involvement in the planning of The Complete Freedom of Truth (TCFT), an international youth arts project led by Opera Circus. This large-scale international participatory project is designed to use the arts to provide skills training, cultural and social awareness for young people enabling them to stage small, ... Read more


Published: 2015 | Resource type: Case studies

Researching audiences at outdoor events and festivals

The toolkit and guidelines for audiences at outdoor events and festival aim to provide a framework to measuring and evidencing the impact of an outdoor event. The guidelines provide practical advice for audience research at un-ticketed cultural festivals and other events in the following sections: research principles, data collection methods, evidencing success, estimating audience size, questionnaires and surveys, working ... Read more


Published: 2012 | Resource type: Guide/tools

Arts Engagement with older people and families

Twelve case studies of arts engagement projects working with older people and families in London. The case studies share the learning from Audiences London’s Family Advocates Programme, BAC’s work with non-professional older artists, a skills exchange with Building Exploratory, an architecture centre and Cubitt, a gallery and studios regarding work with older audiences, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra & Tate ... Read more


Published: 2011 | Resource type: Case studies

Our Creative Talent – the voluntary and amateur arts in England

An in-depth study of voluntary and amateur arts groups and informal adult learning in the arts in England. Commissioned by DCMS and Arts Council England to improve the knowledge base on the voluntary and amateur arts sector in England, it is the first of its kind on a national scale and represents the first step ... Read more


Published: 2007 | Resource type: Research

Getting in on the act: how to create opportunities for active participation

People are engaging in the arts in increasingly active and expressive ways. Arts organisations are examining this seismic shift toward a participatory arts culture and figuring out how to adapt in new and creative ways. This report looks to deepen understanding of these changes and spotlights exciting examples of participatory arts practices. The researchers investigated active arts participation ... Read more


Published: 2011 | Resource type: Research

Museum volunteering evaluation programme

In Touch was an innovative Cultural Heritage volunteering programme delivered by Manchester Museum and Imperial War Museum North (IWM North) in partnership with Trafford College and Salford City College and funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF). The model focused on personal and skills development for a specific group of socially-excluded people who are significantly ... Read more


Published: 2011 | Resource type: Research

The theory and rationale behind adult participatory arts practice

An analysis of some London arts companies that have participation and engagement at the heart of their arts creation and delivery models. The review involved organisations that work in some of the most challenging circumstances possible in London – in prisons, in hostels for homeless people, in healthcare settings, in daycare centres for people affected ... Read more


Published: 2010 | Resource type: article

Culture, participation and the web

This report looks at the convergence of three trends: technological change the way that people engage with culture the policy aim of increasing democratic participation in culture, with particular regard to audiences described as ‘hard to reach’. The report discusses DCMS’s project Culture Online and highlights some practical lessons learnt from its delivery. In this context it ... Read more


Published: 2007 | Resource type: article

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Engaging schools – the style of our lives project

This report outlines the process and outcomes of The Style of Our Lives, a LIFT project with the aim of celebrating the ‘theatre of the streets’ as represented by individual style and dress,  that took place in Stoke Newington in 2000.  Find out whether the aims and objectives of the programme were met, how the ... Read more


Published: 2001 | Resource type: Research

How Birmingham Contemporary Music Group delivers a family friendly offer

BCMG created a family friendly policy that in turn enabled the organisation to strategically enhance its family and youth oriented programming. Out-of-school creative participatory workshops for young people conclude with sharing opportunities for parents and friends. Families are offered front row seats at concerts, and have a specially designed concert programme with specially briefed stewards, ... Read more


Published: 2009 | Resource type: Case studies

How to work with arts ambassadors

What makes a good arts ambassador?  How useful can they be as a marketing tool for your organisation? How do you get started on recruiting ambassadors that will bring real benefits?  With top tips and words of caution, this step by step approach to promotion and development through ambassadors will offer the tools you need ... Read more


Published: 2003 | Resource type: Guide/tools

Community engagement case study: Wirral Community Shakespeare

Wirral Community Shakespeare was conceived as an eight month long reading project culminating in a run of free public performances of William Shakespeare’s The Winter’s Tale in Birkenhead Park. This case study takes the reader through the project process – which included artistic workshops with professional and experienced amateur actors, musicians and technicians – as well ... Read more


Published: 2008 | Resource type: Case studies

Creative youth consultation and participation toolkit

This practical toolkit represents a snapshot of the research and profile raising work undertaken by the English National Youth Arts Network. It demonstrates how the arts can be used as a tool to consult with young people; showcasing practical examples and case studies from the cultural sector. It also signposts other useful resources for youth ... Read more


Published: 2013 | Resource type: Guide/tools

Family friendly toolkit

Still widely used, this family friendly toolkit is designed to support arts organisations who want to make a commitment to families – making it easier for families to take part in the arts, as audiences and participants. Aimed at arts professionals and drawing on extensive research and interviews, it contains experiences and practical examples of good practice from many cultural organisations to ... Read more


Published: 2013 | Resource type: Guide/tools

Delivering artistic excellence to capitvate and engage.

A strategic review highlighted the real possibility of major cuts in public funding for the arts leading up to and post the Olympic Games of 2012.  This realisation led to new targets around increasing attendances for existing product, as well as the need to identify new business opportunities.  Learn how The Cornerhouse managed to maintain ... Read more


Published: 2009 | Resource type: Guide/tools

An evaluation of the MLA NW pilot audience development training programme

This document evaluates the pilot audience development training programme delivered by AAM to a selection of museums, libraries and archives in the North West. The aim of the programme being to improve understanding of what is involved in strategic audience development, how to place it more centrally in the organisation and ensuring it’s effectiveness. The ... Read more


Published: 2005 | Resource type: Case studies

Co-creating campaigns with customers

New ways of working with visitors and audiences can help develop new, more engaging marketing ideas and solutions. Using the examples of arts ambassadors, idea generation groups and co-creation, this resource explores how arts marketers can think about their cultural marketing campaigns in a fresh way by bringing the audience on to the team.


Published: 2009 | Resource type: Guide/tools

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Get to grips with what the Heritage Lottery Fund means by ‘audience development’ and how to use it in funding applications

These guidelines from the Heritage Lottery Fund explain what audience development is, why it is important to them, and why arts and cultural organisations and the people marketing and fundraising for them should take full account of the HLF’s priorities on audience development. The Guidelines then cover topics such as who takes part and who ... Read more


Published: 2010 | Resource type: Guide/tools

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How has the public’s relationship with the arts changed over recent years – how do we now consume the arts?

This synopsis of research by Dr Gretchen Larsen, lecturer in marketing at Bradford University School of Management, tested a framework depicting the relationship between the consumer’s self-concept, the symbolic properties of music and the consumption context. It looks at how people’s relationship with the arts has changed over time, from passive consumers to whom arts marketers presented information, to ... Read more


Published: 2008 | Resource type: article