Greater Manchester can you hear us? #ADA

Greater Manchester can you hear us? #ADA


Ciaron Wilkinson and Nolly Aicha Bouameur, Manchester International Festival discuss reaching new audiences, particularly from areas of the city that don’t traditionally engage with the cultural offer.  Part of their joint fellowship at the Audience Diversity Academy.


Manchester is currently building The Factory, a world-class cultural space in the heart of the city – and a year-round home for Manchester International Festival. Not only will this be the largest cultural venue outside of London, we’ll work with people and artists from across the globe to make and stage all kinds of performance and work. It will be a place to create, invent and play.

Manchester as a city is going through a huge amount of social and economic change but we see it as our organisation's priority to provide access to culture for everyone. We want people to feel at home at The Factory, whether they're coming to contemporary performance or to meet friends without having to buy an expensive cup of coffee.  It will be of Manchester, in Manchester and we’re currently in the process of engaging people all over the city to bring them on our journey.

Who are we?

We are representing Manchester International Festival (MIF) as two colleagues that sit in different departments but have a strong desire to work collaboratively. Nolly is within the marketing team and Ciaron is part of creative engagement. We both share a passion for reaching new audiences, particularly from areas of the city that don’t traditionally engage with the cultural offer.


MIF has a strong brand identity and tone of voice. We have really strong brand recognition with some of our audiences. However we know and want to do more to enable us to take the people of Greater Manchester on this journey with us.

The question we have asked ourselves as ADA 5.0 fellows is:

How can we make a positive change in the way we communicate with our audiences?


In our first month as fellows we attended ‘Shaping Change Through Experiments’ one of the directives was ‘name the issue’.  So we did:

  • ‘We don’t describe our work in a way that appeals to the people we want to engage with’

One of the contributing factors to this problem is MIF’s tone of voice which doesn’t necessarily resonate with some of the people we want to take on our journey. We currently run a project in North Manchester based around the idea of coming together to talk and so we decided to ask the participants themselves how they would communicate the event. We are planning to take snippets from the conversation and make these into a leaflet which we will put directly through people’s doors in the local area.

Nolly Aicha Bouameur is a proud Brummie and has worked in arts organisations across the UK in marketing roles. She joined Manchester International Festival (MIF) in October 2018 and played a key role in the MIF19 Festival campaign. With Nolly’s passion for innovative campaigns and data crunching, MIF19 won Best Tourism and Leisure campaign at the Northern Marketing awards. 

Ciaron Wilkinson leads on outreach at Manchester International Festival, one of the worlds leading arts festivals, having spent the last 10 years in the arts and leisure sectors. He is passionate about the impact of culture on social change and putting communities at the forefront of decision making. He also sits on the board of HideOut, a new 6-million-pound youth centre in Gorton, East Manchester. 

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Audience Development & Strategy
Resource type: Articles | Published: 2021