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AMA Conference 2015: Staying Curious.

Written by Emma Clements 28 / 07 / 2015

Every summer for almost 20 years Impact has despatched a party of eager delegates to a different British city for the annual Arts Marketing Association ConferenceTheir mission: to share ideas, insights and the occasional bottle of Pinot Grigio with fellow arts marketers from across the land.

AMA conference bannerThis year, Impact’s conference veterans, Simon and Chris, were joined by enthusiastic networking newbies, Rachael, Beth and Helen on the 14.06 to Birmingham for the two-day event:  Staying Curious.

The conference programme focused on evolving public needs, desires and values; and promised to explore ways in which cultural organisations can use these insights to adapt their approach and grow their audiences.

As ever, the Keynotes provided inspiration that will stay with us long after the final plenary. The four speakers presenting Diversity Now challenged our perception of the principles of diversity, accessibility and inclusion, encouraging us to embody those principles and to make them integral to organisational strategy, not to consider them as an afterthought.

In the final Keynote, Oh, the Places You’ll Go we were reminded that in an online space already saturated with marketing messages, the importance of producing engaging content is paramount. Speaker DK sent us out into the world inspired and encouraged to be more audacious, playful, curious and experimental in our work online and as an organisation.

Our friends at The Audience Agency led a special breakfast briefing on Audience Finder, the biggest gathering of audience data ever in the sector, which culminated in the newsworthy announcement that this fantastic resource is now available free to all arts and cultural organisations.

We were also privileged to join some fantastic breakout sessions. Highlights included Kerstin Glasow’s talk on crowdfunding with ArtHappens (pitch, don’t present!); Tim Baker’s explanation of data and its importance in informing marketing strategy; Ron Evans’ playful proposition that game-based reward schemes can increase audience curiosity and encourage deeper engagement; and Sarah Ogle’s seminar on how to create an award-winning campaign.

Impact team at AMA conference 15

Aside from all the thinking and learning, the conference also provided ample opportunity for networking and socialising with peers and colleagues. We loved meeting and making friends with delegates from amazing organisations across the UK, dancing into the small hours, and putting the arts world to rights.

Thanks for a great conference – we’ll see you next year in Edinburgh!

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