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Creating participatory
events for new audiences
Aims
Audience
Stories/tone
Formats
Scheduling
Budgets
People
Logistics
Publicity
Evaluation
Go for it!
11
steps
NB – despi...
• What are you trying to achieve by putting on this
event?
• What will have changed once it is finished?
• For example…
 ...
Audience
• Identify your new audience. Start by thinking about your
current audience: demographics are useful as a startin...
Stories/tone
• What stories of your sites do you want to tell?
• How can you make this most relevant and appealing to your...
Formats
• What formats will appeal to your target audience and
enable you to reach the numbers you want?
• What formats wi...
Scheduling
• What are the best days and times for your audience to
access?
 Will they be available? (Is it term time or s...
Budget
• Know how much is available – then you can ‘cut your
cloth’ accordingly
• Your budget may well be tight, but get c...
People
• Who can help you develop and deliver these events?
• Draw on the expertise of creative practitioners and
freelanc...
Logistics
• How will you deliver these events? How many staff /
volunteers do you need to do so?
• Which spaces are most a...
Publicity
• Like the proverbial tree in the wood, there’s little point putting
on events if audiences don’t know about the...
• How will you know whether you achieved the aims, and
attracted the audience, that you set to do at the start?
 Audience...
Go for it!
• Run your event – and enjoy it! It’s time to test and
learn…
• Use the opportunity to observe and talk to visi...
Case Study:
Strictly Georgian
Kensington Palace
December 2014
• Designed to attract a new audience of local young
professionals, and with the additional aim of piloting a big
seasonal ...
• See what happened in the video at
www.hrp.org.uk/learning/adults/events-and-
projects
• Audience feedback on their favou...
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Creating participatory events for new audiences

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Rachel Crossley manages the Adult Learning Team at Historic Royal Palaces. In this presentation, aimed at staff and volunteers tasked with devising events programmes for museums, galleries and heritage sites, she shares her 11 step process for creating popular participatory events that successfully attract new audiences.

Originally delivered at a planning workshop for North Norfolk Stories, this approach will be useful for anyone developing new event programming, whether or not it's part of Culture24's Museums at Night festival.

Published in: Marketing
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Creating participatory events for new audiences

  1. 1. Creating participatory events for new audiences
  2. 2. Aims Audience Stories/tone Formats Scheduling Budgets People Logistics Publicity Evaluation Go for it! 11 steps NB – despite appearances, these steps are not linear! Many will need to happen in parallel.
  3. 3. • What are you trying to achieve by putting on this event? • What will have changed once it is finished? • For example…  To attract a new audience  To grow a reputation  To test new ways of doing things • Your aims are your bedrocks! Keep returning to them throughout the planning process to check you are still on track • Use them in decision making – which path will best fulfil the aims? Aims
  4. 4. Audience • Identify your new audience. Start by thinking about your current audience: demographics are useful as a starting point (e.g. gender, age, ethnicity, socio-economics, disability, postcodes). Are there audiences in your locality who are missing? • Identify the target audience you want to attract now  E.g. under 5s, families, young people, young professionals, older people, BAME audiences • Find out what new audiences want!  Talk to them directly, to gatekeepers (e.g. community group leaders, teachers, local council community teams) and to other local venues • Think about how many people you aim to attract
  5. 5. Stories/tone • What stories of your sites do you want to tell? • How can you make this most relevant and appealing to your target audience?  Consider elements that all people experience across history and geography – e.g. food, fashion, play, love, death  Consider the well-known cultural references you can tap into e.g. Victorian galleries and Sherlock Holmes  This isn’t dumbing down! But expanding your site’s stories to speak to a broad audience • What tone will this audience find most appealing?  Make it entertaining! You are competing for people’s time and money  Let audiences ‘learn through stealth’
  6. 6. Formats • What formats will appeal to your target audience and enable you to reach the numbers you want? • What formats will communicate your stories most effectively? • How will you enable audiences to participate, get hands- on, and interact?  For example…  Workshops, creative activities, demos, pop up talks, performances, Q&As, storytelling, dress up  Drop in, carousel of activities, tasters
  7. 7. Scheduling • What are the best days and times for your audience to access?  Will they be available? (Is it term time or schools holidays? What about evening and weekends for workers? )  Will they be able to access your site? (Is there public transport available? Will it be off-peak - e.g. for seniors to qualify for free travel?) • How long should it last?
  8. 8. Budget • Know how much is available – then you can ‘cut your cloth’ accordingly • Your budget may well be tight, but get creative and it can s-t-r-e-t-c-h • But don’t underspend either! Plan what money you have and what you want to get for it, recognising where you need to be frugal and where you can afford to pay out
  9. 9. People • Who can help you develop and deliver these events? • Draw on the expertise of creative practitioners and freelancers. They can further assist you to identify ‘Stories/Tone’ and ‘Formats’ for your target audience • Look to the talent of your local community e.g. choirs, art clubs, drama groups, who might do a showcase. This is a great way to have a community input, maintain broad appeal and gain local word of mouth
  10. 10. Logistics • How will you deliver these events? How many staff / volunteers do you need to do so? • Which spaces are most appropriate?  Are there conservation regulations to consider?  Will everyone be able to see and hear?  Does it have sufficient plug points/ undercover areas/ places to sit/ etc etc?  Where are the nearest toilets / catering / retail points? • Risk assess and ensure the safety of people, buildings and objects • Consider access for all, including physical access for people with mobility issues and prams
  11. 11. Publicity • Like the proverbial tree in the wood, there’s little point putting on events if audiences don’t know about them! • Use your marketing channels (e.g. leaflet, website, social media, e-newsletter)… • …But look beyond too – new audiences aren’t likely to visit your website yet (they’re new!)  E.g. posters; local press, listings and bloggers  Are there partners (other venues, businesses) locally with whom you can cross promote? • How will audiences know this is a great and appealing event?  Exciting copy, highlighting the key messages  Fun-looking images, reflecting the new audience you want to attract (otherwise how will they know it’s for them?)
  12. 12. • How will you know whether you achieved the aims, and attracted the audience, that you set to do at the start?  Audience feedback – ask them what they thought  Monitoring data – e.g. head count, postcode analysis  Observation  Reflective discussion with internal and external collaborators • Evaluation shouldn’t be an afterthought – plan it in advance! Evaluation
  13. 13. Go for it! • Run your event – and enjoy it! It’s time to test and learn… • Use the opportunity to observe and talk to visitors, particularly new audiences – it will help you design future events • Evaluate: what went well? What would you improve next time? There’s always something… • And don’t forget to celebrate your achievements!
  14. 14. Case Study: Strictly Georgian Kensington Palace December 2014
  15. 15. • Designed to attract a new audience of local young professionals, and with the additional aim of piloting a big seasonal event at the palace • Focused on the theme of entertainments at Kensington Palace in Georgian times, with dance classes, talks, live performances, dress up, carol singing and festive refreshments • Developed and delivered with internal and external experts and costumed interpreters • Hosted on a Tuesday evening, 6.30-8.30pm, with a ‘carousel’ to enable multiple activities at once • Promoted through HRP marketing channels as well as local press and listings. • Evaluated through feedback forms, monitoring data, observation and reflection.
  16. 16. • See what happened in the video at www.hrp.org.uk/learning/adults/events-and- projects • Audience feedback on their favourite aspect of the evening:  The fun and jollity and dancing (attempts!)  The dancing lesson and the comedy aspect of the other two talks  The wine, costumes, play acting, music  The cook's talk - very informative, amusing, audible and comfortable  The actors, educational and entertaining.  Loved every minute of it!

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