In December, I went to a conference in London called ‘Ensuring Cultural Education in England: An Inclusive Curriculum, a Pathway for Talent and Access to the Arts for All’. There were only two young people in the room: me and another member of the ART31 Youth Board.
I decided to ask why there were so few young people at a conference discussing curriculum changes that would affect them the most. “This conference isn’t really set up for young people,” was the reply. To this I thought, why aren’t there conferences like this for young people, where they can get involved in the arts and discuss what is happening – a lot like the ART31 Youth Board? Here are some similar ideas about what arts organisations could do to interest and engage more young people.
Make events accessible
I think the most important way of engaging young people in the arts is by making events physically and mentally accessible. One of the best things ART31 does is provide money for travel to and from meetings, making it accessible to young people from all across Kent. This is a very important aspect in getting young people engaged, as it means they and their parents do not need to worry about the money it would cost to get to and from the meetings or classes. The ART31 Youth Board is very lucky to be able to provide this as many clubs I go to do not have this luxury.
Share events through schools
Personally, I believe the best way to get the message to young people about arts events and the arts in general is through schools. At my school, we have an amazing music department which runs a huge number of different bands to get all the musically talented people in the school involved. They also put on an incredible show every year and run workshops related to the show to help the people involved learn from professionals.
Schools are also a great way to get information about your events or clubs to young people. This can be done by contacting the school and asking them to send an email out, which I think is very effective, and going in and speaking in assemblies about what you are doing. This is a sure-fire way to let young people know what you are doing, and a very effective way of free marketing which is guaranteed to be seen and heard by your target market.
Talk to young people first
Marketing to young people on social media can be quite tricky to pull off, as the internet is such a huge space and it’s hard to know if your post will be seen. Sponsored posts (on Facebook, for example) work really well if they are eye catching and attractive, as they are guaranteed to come up on news feeds.
This needs to be done carefully though. If you are planning to post a sponsored advert on Facebook, or any other social media platform, it is a good idea to talk to young people about what you are putting up first. Some of the adverts I have seen have obviously had no input from young people and have been really off-putting as they have tried to be cool and trendy but not managed it. It is so important to get young people involved in every aspect.
First published at www.artsprofessional.co.uk on 06/03/2017.
Tia is a member of the ART31 Youth Board.