Reaching diverse communities

Audience Development

Audience Development to reach diverse audiences, so that audiences are representative of local populations

Derby Festé had the ambition to make its audience more inclusive and diverse, and so opted to hold a fringe event which would bring people to experience the diverse array of talent on offer and to showcase local performers alongside Festé artists. Without Walls supported the development of the event, providing funding for Derby Festé to organise community workshops and engagement initiatives, and contributing towards the costs of staging the event. The event featured local acts from diverse backgrounds, providing them with the opportunity to perform on a high-profile stage under the Derby Festé banner. Performers included Chango Fuego, melodic African rhythms from Arimba Arts, tabla player Pritam Singh, and world-renowned Ukrainian dance and music ensemble, Hoverla. Members of the Roma community were also given the opportunity to perform and share their cultural heritage, performing upbeat and heartfelt songs from their rich musical tradition, both at the fringe event and over the main Festé weekend. Fringe Festé was felt to be an effective platform through which to encourage integration and community cohesion in Derby; staging the event in Normanton, a suburb of Derby, and giving local people control of programming the event, created a sense of ownership as well as raising the profile of the festival in the area. The smaller event also succeeded in attracting a diverse audience, with members of the Roma community and young people in attendance, many of whom went to attend the main festival.

In 2017, Derby Festé delivered a large-scale participation dance project, working with Indian choreographer Parul Shah, five local dancers and outreach partners Artcore and Surtal Asian Arts. The traditional Indian Garba dance steps were taught in five community hubs and five primary schools as well as being made available on YouTube and promoted via social media. The activities cumulated in two performances on the Saturday evening of the Festival as part of Derby’s UK-India Year celebrations. Following on the previous year’s successful dance project, in 2018 Derby Festé delivered a large-scale participation circus and carnival project, to celebrate Circus 250. Derby Feste continued working with outreach partners Artcore as well as three community hubs, one music engagement hub and four schools in low engagement areas to teach participants the choreography for the parade. The choreography was also made available on YouTube and promoted via social media. The activities cumulated in a circus and carnival parade on the Saturday of the Festival.

“It was a great privilege and honour to host the Derby Fringe Festé at our Ukrainian Cultural Centre. The Ukrainian community, and moreover the Hoverla Ukrainian Dance Ensemble, have long established ties with Derby Festé (originally through Derby City Council) and have been performing for many years at the annual event. To hold the Fringe Festé event at our centre, with so many high standard acts performing throughout the evening, was a great coup for our community and Hoverla was also very proud to be part of the preforming cast.” – Joe Kupranec – Leader of ‘Hoverla’ Ukrainian Dance Ensemble and Branch Vice Chair of the Association of Ukrainians in Derby

Birmingham Hippodrome is located in the Southside area of Birmingham, near the Chinese Quarter, and is responsible for a number of the outdoor events in the city’s cultural calendar including Summer in Southside and Birmingham Weekender. Despite this proximity, the organisation has found it difficult to attract members of the Chinese community to its events. Keen to understand more, Birmingham Hippodrome, with support from Without Walls, undertook an engagement project with the Chinese community. The Hippodrome commissioned British-Chinese artist Aowen Jin to produce an inspiring, outdoor, light-based installation. As part of the commission, Without Walls supported the artist to conduct a research study to understand the Chinese community’s current levels of engagement with the arts, barriers to attendance, and potential ways to overcome these barriers.

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In line with their work focused around Social Media, in 2018 Bell Square continued their blogger programme with both established and volunteer bloggers. One of these bloggers was engaged to create Polish content.
Leicester City Council planned to work in partnership with local arts charity The Spark Arts for Children, which would coordinate a variety of activities alongside interactive installations as part of the programme. Communities were be targeted for the Diwali celebrations through partnership work with Leicester Mela and the Caribbean Carnival.

Leicester Diwali festival worked with Leicester Mela from 2016 – 2018, to increase engagement with South Asian communities. Rangoli workshops were taken into schools, where children had the opportunity to create an original piece using traditional methods and materials. In 2018, activities also included a Design a Rangoli competition and the opportunity to meet famous Rangoli artists. Competition entries were displayed under the Museum of the Moon artwork during the Diwali Light Switch on.

In 2017, Freedom Festival delivered Six artist-led spoken word workshop sessions and two music workshops were open to participants of all ages. Working with Humber All Nations Alliance, Open Doors and Refugee Centre Freedom Festival supported an artist in residence who worked with refugee/migrant communities to create a piece which was presented during the festival. The following year, the festival targeted three different groups in Hull with their audience development activities: Black, Asian and ethnically diverse communities, out of region audiences and families. They supported the delivery of three community workshops to create costumes for the Carnival at HANA, Open Doors, and Hull Afro Caribbean. During the Festival they organised the FEASTival, an opportunity for audiences to come together and share food made of home-grown vegetables.

“We worked well with Back To Ours ‘CPP’ programme in Hull to reach and engage diverse communities. We developed a shared approach to marcomms activity, using existing channels to, where appropriate, promote each other’s programme. We also used Back to Ours’ community engagement officers to distribute promotional collateral at localised events providing briefing sessions to the officers in advance to ensure that they were able to converse directly with people about the Freedom Festival programme. We hope to build upon this partnership for the future.” – Jenny Howard Coombes, Executive Director and joint CEO, Freedom Festival evaluation 2108

Preston City Council’s initial aim was to address low levels of engagement with the arts among Preston’s population and to change their attitudes to make them more open to paying to attend the festival. In 2016, Preston City Council staged a procession of light, to increase engagement with families, young adults, and local Black, Asian and ethnically diverse communities. This was perceived as a spectacular highlight of the festival. Pre-event workshops engaged target audiences with making lanterns which featured in the procession. In 2018, Preston City Council recruited a part-time Support Outreach worker to oversee their community procession on the Festival Sunday. Further, they engaged More Music Morecambe to establish a Community Choir, reflecting the diversity of the whole county. To achieve these goals, workshops were held across Lancashire. 14 workshops and two open rehearsals took place for the choir, engaging 230 participants in total. For the parade, 25 sessions were held with over 520 participants.

Right Up Our Street in Doncaster set up a group with five members from the Doncaster Conversation Club, who were either Migrants or Refugees with English as a second language, to get advice on how to make the festival more welcoming. Following the summer festival, RUOS appointed the Chair of Faith and Culture group Doncaster as outreach officer to engage with the local Muslim community. Although the planned ‘go see’ visits could not be continued in 2018 due to time constraints, RUOS continued working with their Community Associates.

Peterborough, home to Vivacity, has a very diverse and young population, with 25% having been born outside of the UK, and 33% under the age of 25. The festival aimed to engage these diverse and young audiences. Across the duration of the project, Vivacity ran community site dressing workshops, making festival flags with local communities. In the first year, these workshops were held in local family centres and community groups, and in 2018 they worked with refugee and migrant women. In addition to these workshops, Vivacity delivered artist preview opportunities and workshops during the festivals. In 2016, Vivacity also worked with spoken word and visual arts groups to attract diverse audiences to their festival and offered a Shed-building and designing workshop for young people to dress the site. During the festival different artists hosted a graffiti tent, spray painting and t-shirt designing workshops.
In 2018, During the 900 Year Cathedral celebrations Vivacity hosted a variety of community events with groups from different backgrounds and a business dinner under the Museum of the Moon.

Audience Development Report ATN 2016-2018 (The Audience Agency)

Without Walls ATN 2013-2015