Arts Marketing Association Conference 2019



Image from Twitter user @Visionandvibes Mel Larsen

I attended the Arts Marketing Association conference at SAGE Gateshead on Wednesday 10 July 2019. The conference is always a highlight of my professional year, and gives me an energy boost to start the new season encouraged and motivated. Despite currently being on maternity leave from my role as Marketing Manager at the Citizens Theatre, I prioritised attendance at the conference and loved re-connecting with some of my friends and colleagues working in the sector in Scotland.

As well as plenty of practical take-home tips, and invaluable blethers, these are some of the ‘big ideas’ that are staying with me on my train journey back to Glasgow.


Using BSL for the first time as a teenager allowed Rinkoo Barpaga to find his voice, communicate on his own terms, and flourish.

‘Comfort’ is a privilege not afforded to all members of society. Being empowered and emboldened to step outside of our comfort zone is a privilege. (Tobi Kyeremateng)

Language such as “Hard to Reach” and “Marginalised” sets a tone of ‘other- ing’. Of ‘here’ vs ‘there’ (Dawinder Bansal)

Create environments where colleagues’ questions, suggestions and feedback are heard and acted upon and tell colleagues when this has been done. “You said… We did” (Eleanor Appleby, Tate)


Disengage from social media once in a while and fully engage in the moment. (Melanie Eusebi).

Who are the people already doing work that fits your goals, and how can we work with them and celebrate them? (Tobi Kyeremateng and Sam Hunt).

You don’t need my permission to be part of ‘my’ festival, just join in. Celebrate those already working in your community (Sam Hunt).

Good, healthy internal communications structures have been proven to be financially beneficial to companies. They also stop rumours, instill confidence and raise staff morale and commitment to work. Regular communication with colleagues during good times and bad takes some of the panic out of whole-organisation communications. (Eleanor Appleby)


Art comes from empathy, i.e. the ability to see others’ stories. Empathy keeps us relatable and honest (Dawinder Bansal).

Adopting a growth mindset keeps us open and makes us better managers. We see people’s achievements and not the first impression we had of them. We’re willing to coach others in what works for them, not what works for us. (Melanie Eusbei)

Use beneficiaries’ stories to tell your organisation’s story, advocate for funding / support (Richert Storr). Treat those stories with kindness. We are

Be useful. Be Kind (Alan Slug Low)

Take the time for those hallway chats. Paves the way for reciprocal favours, or idea buy in down the line. Speak to people face to face. Don’t drop something by email that’s not expected.


Those with a growth mindset know that learning a new task involves a ‘dark’ period of ‘conscious incompetence’. Work through the ‘dark’ learning process, knowing that it’s a necessary part of the process. Ask questions, be open to learning, and no that you’ll get better (Melanie Eusbei).

Have the confidence in knowing what is good for your organisation, and champion it. Don’t necessarily listen to those who are shouting the loudest if they want you to do something that doesn’t align with your goals. (Eleanor Appleby).

Change strategy if that’s what’s called for. Richert Storr’s patron videos created for social media found greater value to the organisation as an advocacy tool funding stakeholders. Additionally, initial uncomfortable feelings absorbing others’ personal stories became pride and motivation in the work that New York Public Library does.

Adopt the mindset of a ‘change agent’. (Eleanor Appleby).

I found Northern Stage’s Amy Fawdington and TRG’s Christina Hill’s presentation hugely applicable to my organisation and our current goals and challenges. A very practical session, I’m looking forward to following up on some of their ideas with my team at the Citz.

I was disappointed not to be able to squeeze in the seminar delivered by Victoria Murray from the Traverse and David Collins from Opera North as there were some really positive noises from their session. Their session is available to those with a digital pass to the AMA conference, and I’ll be finding the time to catch up with it later this week.


One thought on “Arts Marketing Association Conference 2019

  1. Glad you enjoyed the day Keren and were inspired by some big ideas. Imagine it would have been a chance too to engage your thoughts and ideas about your own job.

    Mum. X

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