Arts Audiences is an Arts Council and Temple Bar Cultural Trust- sponsored initiative aimed at supporting & delivering audience development projects in cooperation with various arts & cultural organisations.
One of their programmes is the New Media Mentoring Scheme, which has just published a series of reports from the mentor/mentee relationships, which included:
- John Tierney of Google Ireland mentored Conor Malone, General Manager of Balor Arts Centre (using Google AdWords)
- A team from Google Ireland mentored Tara Connaghan Artistic Director of Éigse Carlow Arts Festival (using Google Ads and Google Analytics)
- A team from Google Ireland mentored Michelle Dillon, Marketing Officer of The Dock (balancing time and resources spent on website and on social media platforms)
- A team from Google Ireland mentored Derek Kelly, Box Office Manager of The Gate Theatre (increasing traffic to website)
- Aoife Flynn of asquared mentored Rayne Booth of Temple Bar Gallery & Studios (developing a website brief)
- Lucy Campbell and Muire Laffan of RTÉ Publishing mentored Emmet Sheerin and Anne O’Gorman from NYCI (developing web strategy)
- Aoife Flynn mentored Marcella Bannon of Droichead Arts Centre (developing digital marketing strategy)
I was particularly interested to read the reports of Michelle, Rayne and Emmet, all (relatively) recent graduates of our MA programme. It sounds like some very valuable reflections and progress was made as a result of the collaborations; for example:
Michelle (The Dock, Co Leitrim):
… after analysing the stats it became clear that our website was not working as well as it should, and rather than concentrating on our social media involvement, it was clearly the website which we needed to review, particularly in light of our aim to encourage people to use our online booking system. […] [In terms of social media] – This was one of the more surprising aspects to our mentoring. Is it worth dedicating the amount of time you spend for the results you get? Despite having consistently more followers on twitter than facebook (we created a twitter account first and put slightly more time into keeping it updated) by checking through the stats we found that facebook actually channelled more people to our website. The google team suggested that while the energy of the twitter account was good perhaps there was too much information on twitter and it was drowning out some of the more important information. We have now actually maintained our time spent on facebook and halved our time spent on twitter while still attract followers.
Rayne (Temple Bar Gallery & Studios):
The mentoring process was extremely helpful in providing me with the tools and language to be able to provide a web designer with a clear brief, and in doing this, save time and money for TBG&S. I now understand what information a designer needs in order to fulfill a brief. The process also helped us to establish exactly what we needed and wanted from the website, and to focus on what formats would work best for us. I now feel that I have a document that I can send to several designers and be confident that they will be able to understand our needs.
Emmet (National Youth Council of Ireland):
On closer examination of our situation, we began to realise that creating an online community, consisting of a discussion forum and blog, might not be the best use of our resources at this current time. While the technical aspects of creating these applications is realisable (our content management system Drupal is capable of this), the main challenge lies in attracting and maintaining a critical level of engagement. […] We made the significant decision to change the focus of the mentoring, and that we would now focus on ways of attracting greater levels of visitors to the website. Achieving this would mean that we would be in a stronger position to develop the online community at a later stage.
It’s great to have the reports easily available on the Arts Audiences site, with much useful information for any individual or organisation facing the same new media challenges. Unfortunately there isn’t any current information about upcoming schemes offered by the Arts Audiences project, but hopefully there will be the funding and staff in place to continue!