Family Arts Campaign: Arts for young people and their families

15 December 2014

Accessing the arts as part of a family unit can bring with it its own particular benefits: strengthening the experience and encouraging long-term engagement, says Clair Donnelly from the Family Arts Campaign.

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(Image: Family Arts Campaign courtesy)

The benefits of participation in the arts and the important role they play in a young person’s creative and personal development have been widely acknowledged but accessing the arts as part of a family unit can bring with it its own particular benefits; strengthening the experience and encouraging long-term engagement.

Theatre maker Harper Ray has stressed the importance of a shared artistic experience. There’s also a big opportunity for arts organisations to cater to this market, offering relevant content that genuinely appeals across the generations.

Welcoming and engaging with families, though, can be a challenge, especially when schedules are full and budgets are tight. That’s why the Family Arts Campaign and the Family & Childcare Trust have developed a set of Family Arts Standards, addressing a need for clear guidance on how best to welcome families to arts organisations.

The standards are a checklist of simple things all organisations offering arts activities (including non-venue based organisations) can easily be doing to ensure they are as welcoming as possible for families.

The Lyric Hammersmith are one of over 200 organisations that have so far confirmed that they meet the Standards. Using them as a benchmark from which to continue improving their services to families, they expanded their programme to include a new Family Fun Day event. This range of activities with a focus on families acted as a taster to attract new audiences, providing a gateway to the Lyric’s already established family programme, but also served to enrich an existing family offer through providing additional and contrasting opportunities for engagement.

The Standards encompass basic considerations such as welcome, facilities, programming, and pricing - all areas which the Lyric considered carefully when planning their Family Fun Day and were able to communicate through the event, which was completely free to families, had its own dedicated space, and covered a variety of activities for different age ranges. The Lyric are just one example of the Family Arts Campaign’s case studies, put together to illustrate how organisations delivering arts activities to families have used the Family Arts Standards to assess their offer.

Do you want to acknowledge the importance of families to your organisation? Just check that you meet the Family Arts Standards. Full information can be found at familyarts.co.uk

Attend the Family Arts Conference

Date: Friday 13 March 2015
Venue: Cadogan Hall & Royal Court Theatre, London

A major event to introduce important new research, share learning and launch the next exciting stage of the Family Arts Campaign.

Early Bird offer ends 31st Jan: £95+VAT. This is available to organisations signed up to the Family Arts Standards. Find out how to sign up here.

Book your place for the conference