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Partnership opportunity: work with a voluntary arts group!

We’re delighted to announce our latest partnership for Museums at Night 2015: we’re working together with Voluntary Arts, organisers of the annual Voluntary Arts Week!

In previous years, we’ve connected artists and authors with museums, and we’ve been delighted to see some terrific event partnerships springing up between local voluntary arts groups and cultural and heritage organisations.

A group of musicians in a historic house

A jazz band prepare to play in a historic house. Picture courtesy Voluntary Arts

However, we really wanted to widen the opportunity to all arts and heritage organisations who’d like the chance to link up with a local creative or performing group to collaborate on interesting joint events as part of the festival. Voluntary Arts Week is all about giving these groups the opportunity to showcase their practice to new audiences, so this is an ideal partnership.

I was interviewed by Cassandra from Voluntary Arts Scotland about our hopes for this partnership: read on to find out the cinematic guilty pleasure which I’d love to recreate in a gallery! http://voluntaryartsweek.org/creative-collaborations/

Why not take advantage of this opportunity to discover which voluntary arts organisations exist in your local area, reach out to them, and find a way of collaborating on a Museums at Night event?

Kelly Donaldson from Voluntary Arts Scotland explains more:

Voluntary arts groups, like museums, come in many shapes, sizes and genres. From amateur dramatics companies to knitting circles, choirs to embroidery groups. The one thing they all have in common, is passion. Nobody pays them to do it, they meet, share and create purely ‘for the love of it’ (which, in case you didn’t know, is the original definition of ‘amateur’).

By connecting with a local voluntary arts group, and working with them on a Museums at Night event, museums and galleries can come to life in a whole new way. Imagine a dance group drawing a crowd outside your venue, a choir singing in your foyer, a drama club creating a short scene inspired by your exhibits, or a painting group displaying their creations in your café.

A Sikh children's choir in a gallery

Gurdwara youth choir performing at GoMA, Glasgow’s Gallery of Modern Art

Imagine that and a myriad of other ways your spaces could be enriched by a voluntary arts group, because the possibilities are indeed endless.

Not only could it attract new audiences to your venue, but the groups themselves (and their families and friends) are potential new visitors. Events such as a flashmob bursting unexpectedly into song inside a museum are also a great way to engage your local media.

The May Museums at Night festival happens during Voluntary Arts Week, an annual celebration of cultural participation run by Voluntary Arts. Throughout the week, local cultural groups will be showcasing their wares and encouraging new people to discover the joy of taking part.

Museums at Night is the perfect vehicle to help make that happen – whilst boosting your venue’s profile at the same time. Any events taking place that week will also benefit from double publicity, through the Voluntary Arts Week website and a range of social media.

To find out how your venue could hook up with a local voluntary arts group, contact your closest Voluntary Arts representative and get ready to make magic.

Who is your Voluntary Arts representative? 

England

Laraine Winning – Development Officer Coordinator (England)
Email:  Laraine@vaengland.org.uk 

Ireland (North and Republic)

Emma Whitehead – Development Officer (Northern Ireland & Republic of Ireland)
Email: emma@vaireland.org / Phone: 07818 032 718

Scotland

Cassandra Barron – Development Officer (Scotland)
Email: cass@vascotland.org.uk  /  Phone: 0131 561 7333

Wales

Gwenan Davies – Information Officer (Wales)
Email: gwenan@vaw.org.uk / Phone: 07825 109594

What would a voluntary arts Museums at Night event be like?

It may mean giving a community choir space to perform, or inviting a group of guerrilla knitters to “yarnbomb” your gardens, or collaborating with artists or creative writers to offer a hands-on workshop inspired by your venue or collections … or something else we haven’t thought of before!

This could also lead to longer-term collaborations and partnership working within communities, helping your organisation to broaden your offer, discover new ideas and ways of presenting your spaces and collections, and connect with new audiences through creative art forms.

Free information packs

We also collaborated on these handy information packs full of case studies about successful creative collaborations to inspire you!

Museums at Night venues: For more information and guidance on how to involve voluntary arts groups in your Museums at Night event, including tips on how to find groups near you and inspiring case studies, download the Museums at Night information pack here.

Scottish Festival of Museums venues: For Scotland-specific information and guidance about working with voluntary arts groups, download the Festival of Museums information pack here.

Voluntary Arts groups: Curious about collaborating with cultural and heritage organisations? Download our top tips on working with cultural venues here.

Interview with Rosie

I spoke to Cassandra from Voluntary Arts Scotland about our hopes for this partnership: read on to find out the cinematic guilty pleasure which I’d love to recreate in a gallery! http://voluntaryartsweek.org/creative-collaborations/

Team Museums at Night on the road again: join our free briefing sessions!

Interested in taking part in the Museums at Night festival and/or entering the Connect! competition to develop a participatory event with a contemporary artist?

We’re delighted to announce our second series of free, friendly Museums at Night / Connect! regional workshops in early February 2015, following our successful roadshows in London, the Midlands and Yorkshire in 2013.

In February we’ll be travelling to three different regions: the South West (Bristol), East of England (Cambridge) and North West (Manchester).

A group of Men In Black dancers parade through a town centre

The circus is coming! This isn’t Team Museums at Night – it’s artist Jessica Voorsanger leading a sci-fi parade through Scunthorpe for the 2014 festival. Find out how she did it at our workshops!

Who are these workshops for?

These afternoon workshops are completely free to attend, and are open to anybody interested in taking part in Museums at Night in 2015 and beyond. Museums at Night is Culture24’s annual after-hours festival showcasing the arts and heritage sector, which each year offers a great audience development opportunity.

Whether you’re a staff member or volunteer, MDO or Town Centre Manager; based in a museum, gallery, library, archive or heritage site; and whether your organisation has never taken part in the festival before or has frequently run events, but would like more inspiration or the chance to form a local cluster; you’ll find something of interest.

What is the Connect! competition?

Formerly known as Connect10, Connect! is the competition giving venues the chance to win a participatory artist-led Museums at Night event and a £3,000 bursary. Some aspects of the competition are changing in 2015, so please come along to find out more.

What can you expect?

You’ll find out about the benefits and challenges involved in hosting an after-hours event, what it takes to be a Connect! winner, and what it’s like to host a top artist from the people who have done it before.

Take advantage of this unique opportunity to hear first-hand from a Connect10 artist, who will share their experience of developing a successful participatory event, and tips for venues interested in working with artists.

You’ll learn how to organise a local cluster of venues to take part in the festival, plus there will be plenty of opportunities to meet and chat with colleagues from your region.

Event timings:

Doors open at 1pm for tea and coffee, each event kicks off at 1:30 and will finish at 4:30pm. We can’t offer lunch, but hot drinks will be available.

Event and booking details:

East of England: Monday 2nd February, Scott Polar Museum, Cambridge

Speakers include:

  • A cluster coordinatorLaura Crossley, Heritage and Audience Development consultant who has successfully bid for funding and set up several Museums at Night clusters in North Norfolk
  • A Connect10 venue: Suzannah Bedford, who led the Renewal Trust’s campaign to bring top photographer Rankin to St Ann’s Allotments in Nottingham for Museums at Night
  • A Connect10 artist: Kelvyn Smith of Mr Smith’s Letterpress Workshop, who devised a unique letterpress printing experience at Walthamstow’s William Morris Gallery, taking inspiration from Morris’ writings and the venue’s collections

North West: Thursday 5 February, Manchester Central Library

Speakers include:

  • A cluster coordinator: Christina Grogan, who has grown Liverpool’s Light Night into an unmissable city culture crawl
  • A Museums at Night venue: Damon Waldock, who has successfully developed Yorkshire Sculpture Park‘s Museums at Night events over several years
  • A Connect10 artist: Janette Parris, who brought in fellow artists and performers to copy and re-present Cardiff Story Museum, and even wrote songs inspired by their collection objects

South West: Wednesday 11 February, M Shed, Bristol

Speakers include:

  • A cluster coordinator: Elaine Lees from Creativity Works, who successfully brought venues together from towns and villages across Pennine Lancashire in the Festival of Wonders cluster
  • A Connect10 venue: Lucie Connors, who led Cardiff Story Museum‘s campaign to bring contemporary artist Janette Parris to re-make and perform in their exhibitions for Museums at Night
  • A Connect10 artist: Jessica Voorsanger, who led a parade through Scunthorpe culminating in sci-fi themed art interventions that transformed the 20-21 Visual Arts Centre

Don’t miss out – book your free place today!

These briefings are supported by Arts Council England lottery funding.

Print

Intro to Culture24 and Museums at Night!

I’ve been lucky enough to travel to various heritage sector events over the last 6 weeks, talking about Culture24 and Museums at Night. I wanted to share the resources and a helpful introductory presentation here, so you can see the sort of information I give out and download the handouts for yourself.

Museums Norfolk Development Day: Using events to engage visitors and generate income 

I introduced Culture24’s various services and some of our current initiatives with this one-page Culture24 contact handout.

I explained how museums can get started using Culture24’s DDE database to showcase events and exhibitions, with this one-page introduction to Culture24’s DDE.

Finally, I discussed how even the smallest heritage venues could successfully take part in Museums at Night and attract publicity in a mini-marketing masterclass.

 

SHOWCASE: South East Museum Development conference

A woman smiling on a stand with handouts

Rosie at Brooklands Museum, image courtesy Scott Ramsey Photography

I took part in this fascinating day at historic Brooklands Museum, talking about how museums could take advantage of Culture24’s services, and run successful events for Museums at Night. I was really pleased to meet so many people in person who read my newsletters, and who I’d only had email contact with before!

Museomix

I also took part in the brilliant three-day Museomix hackathon at Derby Silk Mill and Derby Museum & Art Gallery – here are the terrific remixed collection objects the 7 teams developed over the weekend: http://www.museomix.org/en/localisation/derby-2014/#prototypes

As Community Manager I welcomed people who were new to the heritage hackathon experience. I created new content, sourcing stories and interviewing museum staff to provide features for the MuseomixUK Tumblr; helped the teams to post images and thoughts to their own Tumblrs; highlighted interesting digital content from others; and helped with idea generation and prototype development – I’d recommend the experience to anyone!

3 days to go: 9 top event marketing tips

Here are some top tips for all venues trying to promote Museums at Night events: these are all simple mistakes we have seen in the last few days, which you should avoid!

1) Does your own website have a listing for your Museums at Night event?

If any details of your event have changed, have you updated them on your site? It sounds obvious but at the very least you need to list the date, event times and ticket price, along with contact details for potential visitors to make a booking or find out more.

2) Is your Museums at Night event listing registered in Culture24’s database?

Simply use the search widget here to double check that we’ve got your listing: www.museumsatnight.org.uk.

The Museums at Night event search widget

3) Most importantly, if we don’t have your event listing, please register it ASAP, or you’ll miss out on all of our regional marketing; and neither the public nor the media will know that there’s an event taking place in their area. Here’s how to register your Museums at Night event.

4) Is your listing correct?

If details of your event listing have changed, please log in here and update your event record: http://update.culture24.org.uk/dashboard – the changes will be visible the next time we publish the site, which usually happens twice a day.

If your event is fully booked, please update the listing to show this so you don’t have to turn people away on the night.

5) Chase your local media

If you’ve already sent press releases, that’s great – but now’s the time to follow up with a phone call. Your local newspapers and radio stations are looking for content – so could you offer them an interview and photos about the Museums at Night excitement you’re planning?

Will they be sending a reporter or photographer along on the night? Phone them now to find out!

6) Use your social media channels

Reach out to your followers on Twitter, Facebook, your blog, Instagram and any other social media channels you use. Share your excitement as you get ready – we’re already seeing some great behind-the-scenes photos and teasers, like this:

Winding house character

However, in your messages, be sure to include a link to your event listing online, or to the site where people can find out more and book tickets. Rather than just broadcasting, if you want your followers to take action, make it easy for them by giving them a link to click rather than forcing them to Google for more details.

Don’t forget, the Twitter hashtag for Museums at Night 2013 is #MatN2014 – if you use it, we’ll retweet you.

7) Send an email about your event

Send a quick newsflash reminder to your mailing list about your Museums at Night event – this is their last chance to book tickets! Bonus points if you have a good image to include.

8) Guerrilla marketing on the night

Hopefully you’ve already distributed posters, flyers and leaflets around your area – if not, there are customisable poster and flyer templates here and printable posters here.

Landscape Text1 500

However, you’ll want to attract new audiences on the night too – but if you don’t have enough staff to stand outside welcoming potential visitors, how can you grab their attention?

Good signage can make a big difference: if your venue’s on a side street that doesn’t get much passing traffic, use pop-up A-frame signs to catch people’s eye.

Don’t have signs? Simply chalk on the pavements! During Museums at Night over the last couple of years, several venues chalked a trail of arrows to direct passers-by to their front doors, and were delighted to report that this drew in curious new visitors.

9) Keep us updated!

If your tickets are selling slowly or quickly, if you may have to cancel or if your event’s now fully booked, please update us! Call 01273 623336, email rosie@culture24.org.uk or tweet@MuseumsAtNight.

And for bonus points:

If you’re not running an event at your venue, you can still support the festival!

a) Why not share a link with your social media followers to a Museums at Night event in your area they night like to go to? The hashtag is #MatN2014.

b) If you’re free during the evening on Thursday 15, Friday 16 or Saturday 17, why not pop along to a Museums at Night event with your friends or family?

c) Tune in to the BBC coverage of Museums at Night – there’s an hour-long show on BBC2 at 7pm on Saturday, and even more coverage online at www.bbc.co.uk/arts.

Best of luck – this will be a fabulous few days!

Museums at Night 2014 printable posters

Thanks to everyone for admiring the beautiful front cover design on our Museums at Night brochures this year!

A Museums at Night poster with a girl shining a torch in a museum

We’re happy to share the design with you as a printable poster – you can download the picture in landscape or portrait format and print it out to display.

Landscape Museums at Night 2014 poster (JPG, 4MB)

Portrait Museums at Night 2014 poster (JPG, 4MB)

I shared these links in yesterday’s email newsletter and have since had feedback from several people, particularly from local authority museums, who’ve had difficulty in downloading the files.

If you’re blocked from downloading the posters via these links, please drop me a line (rosie@culture24.org.uk) and I’ll send you a Dropbox link to the files.

Oh yes, and if you’re not receiving our regular email newsletters, full of marketing and promotional opportunities  you may like to take advantage of, you can sign up for them here: http://eepurl.com/ssLn

Visitor surveys for Museums at Night 2014 evaluation

With just over two weeks to go until the Museums at Night festival, we’re keen to capture visitor feedback at events.

a group of people around tables at an outdoor museum

Visitors prepare to enjoy a hog roast in the grounds of Kingsbridge Cookworthy Museum (image courtesy of the museum)

We’ve selected a range of venues to put out our usual paper visitor survey forms during their Museums at Night event, for visitors to fill out in person.

We’re also trialling the use of flyers at some venues, which ask visitors to fill in the survey online – and we’re asking some venues to use both paper forms and flyers.

The same prizes, included a limited-edition signed print from Modern Toss, can be won by visitors who fill in the surveys online and on paper – we’re interested to see whether the way we ask them for feedback makes a difference to the number of responses we get!

We have already contacted everyone at our target survey venues, but if you’re reading this and you would like to survey the visitors at your Museums at Night events, you’re very welcome to download and use our visitor survey forms:

Download the Museums at Night visitor survey form in English (2 page Word doc)

Download the Museums at Night visitor survey form in Welsh (2 page Word doc)

If you use these forms, please post the completed forms back to the Culture24 office by Friday 30 May and we will process the data for you. The address to use is:

Rosie Clarke
Culture24
Office 4, 28 Kensington Street
Brighton
BN1 4AJ

How to tell us when your event’s sold out

Museums at Night is nearly here, so is your event listing promoting your event as well as it could?

a sumptuous dining table in a stately home

Guess who’s coming to dinner at Osterley House? (c) National Trust

Making changes

We’ve already sent out a lot of press releases about the Museums at Night events registered in our database. If the details of your event have changed, please log in to your record and amend the listing.

Slow ticket sales

If you’re having difficulty selling tickets and your team are getting concerned that your event may not be a success, please let us know as soon as possible so that we can go all out to flag it up in our public-facing communications. If you let us know straight away, we may be able to help you! Contact Rosie on rosie@culture24.org.uk or call 01273 623336.

A historic house long gallery with a table set for dinner

Atmospheric photos, like this from Osterley House’s Art of Dining event, are great for PR (c) National Trust

Cancellations

If for some reason you need to cancel your event, please tell us so we don’t keep promoting the event and send frustrated visitors your way, only to be disappointed! Simply email rosie@culture24.org.uk ASAP.

Sold out?

We’re always pleased to hear that your events are sold out – but we want the public to know as well, to avoid disappointed people arriving at your venue and being turned away.

Log in to your event record and open the Event Status dropdown menu – then change the status from Confirmed to Fully Booked, scroll down to the bottom of the form and and save your changes.

A form with a red arrow pointing to the words Fully Booked

All the best!

There’s not long to go, now – excitement is mounting and the Museums at Night team are already getting booked up for radio interviews! There are almost 600 Museums at Night events taking place across the UK – find out what’s happening in your area at www.museumsatnight.org.uk.