With case studies drawn from several action-research projects from the New Audiences programme, funded by Arts Council England, this round-up looks at how people have used mailing lists, special events, ambassador schemes, Test Drive the Arts, promotional samples and more to communicate with new or unengaged audiences. This resource lets you go back and find what has been tried and what worked, so you don’t reinvent the wheel.
What have we learned?
What we have really learned from NAP is that the basics matter. Often the key was simple good practice in project planning and management and in using the available tools strategically and effectively. Often it was the execution of the idea that needed improvement – the quality and appropriateness of the product or promotion could wreck a theoretically perfectly good plan. When it’s said this plainly, it seems rather obvious, but maybe we need to keep reminding ourselves of this. A plain reiteration of this apparently obvious point may still be valuable.
Time available to undertake the work and to build new audiences remained a significant issue throughout NAP’s life for participating organisations. It is safe to say that meaningful communication and audience development cannot usually take place with new groups and communities within a period of nine months or even a year:18 months may be a more realistic minimum.