“The Other 93%”

If you follow us on Twitter, you will have seen that on Tuesday of this week we hosted an event on diversity for programmers across our venue network. With three of us tweeting on the day, plus our attendees, our feed was rather busy! We’ve pulled together an overview of the day below.

To add a bit of back story, we titled the event “The Other 93%” based on the statistic that 7% of the population are highly engaged with theatre and the arts… but what about reaching the rest? We decided it’s not just about programming a piece of African work in October because it’s Black History Month, for example, but encouraging people to come to see this work year-round.

The location for the day was Somerset House, and in the sunshine – with a wonderful view – we started with a panel discussion with contributions from Jan Ryan, Director of UK Arts International, Anne Torregiani, Executive Director, The Audience Agency, and Barbara Lisicki, Director and Lead Trainer at Equals Training and Consultancy.

It seemed we made quite a bit of noise:

We turned to the floor for questions and discussion points, and it seemed a target demographic was the younger audience.

For everyone, the environment seemed to be key:

The day was interspersed with networking opportunities for all (and many cups of tea and coffee!), but following lunch our delegates had the opportunity to attend two of three breakout sessions.

  • Arts Council Englandarts council; the creative case for diversity in the arts and equality action planning
    Hassan Mahamdallie, Senior Strategy Officer, Diversity, Arts Council England
    Paul Bonham, Relationship Manager, Diversity in Arts Practice, Arts Council England
  • Access and inclusion – Artists, participants and public
    Ali Briggs – Agent for Change, New Wolsey Theatre, Ipswich
    Sarah Holmes, Chief Exec, New Wolsey Theatre, Ipswich
    Heather Stradling, Director, Zinc Arts: National Centre of Access & Inclusion
  • Audiences – Is it still ‘not for the likes of me’?
    Adrienne Pye, Regional Director South East, The Audience Agency

We weren’t able to live-tweet these, despite there being three of us – the three separate conversation strands would have been incredibly confusing, but are gathering notes from all of them that will be added to our resources section. (There are already documents from Arts Council England’s Creative Case for Diversity available there.)

The day ended with a summary and a ‘What’s next for house’ (there are some exciting things, but we can’t shout about them yet!) and a thank you to all who attended.

Our next venue network day is planned for the end of September, and we hope to take things a step further. In fact, I’m ready to get cracking now!