Local Arts Festivals Tom Underwood, 25 January 2014 Called by: Tom Underwood Present: Noreen Meehan, Orode Faka, Abby Galvin, Dan Baker, Natalie Green, Soniya Kapur, Chris Wooton, Sarah Clews, Rowan Williams-Fletcher, Seeta Indriani, Sally Christopher Four areas were discussed. Programming ideas Can we create a shared database/local network for festivals to talk together and share ideas? Also, a place for artists wanting to break into local festivals. Model from Australia - practical involvement, meeting together and not just emailing Examples of festival groups - ISAN network, Without Walls, World Festival Network (Holly Paignton). We decided to create a ‘low touch’ network of local festivals to share programming ideas through linkedin. Anyone who wants to join to contact Tom Underwood ([email protected]). Sustainability Should festivals go for charitable status? Should festivals have a part time paid member of staff? Money raising ideas - crowdfund, sponsorship from local businesses, link funding applications to council in with their priorities. Engaging Community How do we build community in areas full of commuters? How do we bring audiences into spaces? How do we create ownership from the community? How do we get people to come along?! Events should be a mixture of free and paid/ticketed - poss a sliding scale could be used. Events should be participatory and not just watching a performance. Every other year sometimes works better than an annual festival. Engage with schools. If kids take part in a competition they bring their families along to the festival. Link competitions into the National Curriculum/school targets etc. Maybe don't try to engage with year groups doing exams. Look for schools that have an art mark status through the arts mark website. Find the people already involved in community work; faith groups, youth departments, residents associations, councilors, schools, doctors surgeries focus groups. More ideas on engaging communities on the Deptford Fun Palace facebook page. Hand out brochures at train stations during commuter times at the end of the day when people are happier! T-shirts and a cheerful demeanour help! Also, stalls outside supermarkets and on the high street. Don't parachute into places but expect things to take TIME and make CONNECTIONS. Engage with already established venues; local businesses, places of worship, schools, library, community centres, social clubs etc. Find nearby partners with arts groups. Engage with local press and radio. Time Out, Guardian guide and others. Invite radio along to do something at the events. Food and beer bring crowds in! Random Acts of Culture - advertise the festival and also bring unexpected beauty into the everyday. For example, opera singer in the pub, cellist in the children's playground etc. Update wikipedia to mention your festival in the towns profile. Host open workshops where residents are asked what do you want and what are your aspirations for the festival. Have a monthly drop in. Use social media and ‘Storify’ to almagamate tweets. Evaluation Have a photography competition where people take photos of the festival which then shows evidence of engagement. Use creative and imaginative installations, eg paper chain to show positives and negatives. Look at Big Dance website for evaluation ideas.