In November 2018, Pearle* members Association of British Orchestras (ABO) and Society of London Theatre (SOLT) received a Special Mention in the Collaboration category for Family Arts Campaign.

The Family Arts Campaign (FAC) began in 2012 when ABO, SOLT and other membership bodies came together to form a national consortium of partners to address the problem of low family engagement in arts and culture in the UK.

A truly collaborative project, FAC is the largest, fully cross-art form initiative to support cultural engagement amongst families, and the consortium represents all types of organisations across the performing and visual arts sectors.

In order to support the sector to reach more families, FAC developed the Family Arts Standards which are a set of guidelines to codify best practice when engaging families. These Standards were developed in collaboration with the Family Childcare Trust and representatives from the sector and act as an accreditation for organisations who strive to better engage family audiences. They address effective family programming, communication and provide advice on best ways to cater for family needs.

We aim to share best practice and enable organisations and practitioners to make connections.  This year’s national Family Arts Conference brought together 300 delegates at Liverpool’s Everyman Theatre, and the Fantastic for Families Awards celebrated success by recognising 10 outstanding organisations in the field of family arts. We also support a number of regional Family Arts Networks across the country, who are working to programme, promote and deliver a joined-up cultural offering for families across their local area.

Next, FAC aims to further develop its intergenerational offer to support those working with older family members. A new set of Age-Friendly Standards provide guidance on age-specific barriers to engagement and tackle the recognised drop-off in cultural engagement amongst older people. Displaying the Age-Friendly Standards logo affirms that an organisation has considered the often more complex needs of older visitors, either in their own building, or venues in which they present their work.

There are now 750 organisations pledging to meet the Family Arts Standards, 265 the Age-Friendly Standards, and a growing community of arts professionals committed to providing an excellent welcome to family audiences. The Campaign relies on cooperation from and collaboration with the cultural sector in order to shape the intended outcomes for activity strands and inspire content for resources and event programming. We will continue to work via our consortium and a range of strategic partners to engage the widest cross-section of the cultural sector with our work and make families a sustained shared priority.


Clair Donnelly

Family Arts Campaign Project Manager

Image credit – Discover Children’s Story Centre