- Date: 25 January 2011
- Artform: None
- Area: Midlands
Arts Council England works in partnership with local authorities to help us achieve our mission of great art for everyone. Through our funding, brokerage and development role, we aim to maximise our investment in the arts by building positive relationships with local councils and working with cultural organisations to increase engagement in the arts.
Lincolnshire developed a county-wide audience development and marketing campaign based on a specially designed This is Art! brand. Launched on Lincolnshire Day on 1 October 2009, the campaign rapidly achieved high brand visibility across the county, raised the profile and levels of engagement in the arts and encouraged venues to work together. Initiatives included:
design and distribution of a wide range of This is Art! branded materials, from bookmarks in every library book issued to pull-up banners for outdoor events
Arts Council England provided funding to Lincolnshire under its organisational development Thrive! programme from 2006-2010. The Lincolnshire One project targeted support for improved working and shared services between the arts community, the county council and the seven district councils.
In 2009 Lincolnshire County Council set a local target to increase adult engagement in the arts. This created the 'perfect storm' to focus and energise the Lincolnshire One venue and marketing partners. Developing the This is Art! brand provided the catalyst for collaboration and formed the basis for a marketing campaign and audience development activity.
This is Art! is defined as an advocacy brand, not a marketing or quality brand. Although guidelines are available on how to use it, anyone can use the brand however they wish as long as they promote participation in the arts in an inclusive way. Promotional materials are well designed and convey strong messages about local participation in arts activity through images and words. They make no reference to Lincolnshire County Council or its district council partners. As a result, use and recognition of the brand as a sign of rich and exciting arts activity spread quickly and widely across the county.
Lincolnshire achieved partner buy-in at both delivery and strategic levels through:
boosting the community grants scheme to fund projects aimed at specific audience segments - this connected the campaign to the voluntary and community sector
Lincolnshire County Council started to collect proxy data in 2009 to measure progress across the county in increasing levels of adult engagement in the arts. Quarterly surveys carried out by library, adult education and heritage services include questions about attendance and participation in creative, artistic, theatrical or musical events or activities. The results are broken down by geographic area and survey site. Overall figures are reported to senior managers and councillors, promoting a positive message about engagement in the arts in Lincolnshire.
The 12 Lincolnshire One venues have developed a pool of marketing expertise and recognise the strengths of collaborative working to reach new audiences.
Local figures indicate that the number of adults engaging in the arts across Lincolnshire increased throughout 2009/10. These figures are significantly higher than the target figure based on national data. However, comparisons need to be treated with caution due to sampling and methodology differences between the local and national surveys.
Future plans are to broaden the This is Art! brand across the wider cultural sector and embed it within a new culture network, to create a sustainable model outside the county council.
For more information, contact Chris Heighton, Arts Development Officer, Lincolnshire County Council, firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.thisisartlincs.org.uk or www.myebook.com/lincolnshireone.
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