Leicester Arts Festivals: surveys and the city

(Note this is a longer version of an article originally published on Arts Professional : link)

Leicester Arts Festivals (LAF) is a support network consisting of twenty-four arts festivals and a number of supporting organisations, established in 2014. The festivals range in audience size from the hundreds to the hundreds of thousands, from the recently established to the decades old, and between them covering almost every art form, organisational type and event format imaginable in one of the most demographically plural cities in the UK. Amongst other activities, the network completed a year-long research project, collating baseline data and a comparative analysis of audiences from participating members. From twenty-four festivals, eighteen participated in an organisation survey and six participated in a survey of their audiences. Some interesting highlights and relevant issues for the wider festival and event community to consider are suggested below.

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Economic impact of the arts

This was originally published (for real! on paper and everything!) in issue 223 of Arts Professional, February 2011. (they have it on their website here if you don’t believe me)

What’s the economic impact of the arts?

I bet you’re thinking about economic impact studies. There can’t be many in the public or not-for-profit sector who aren’t. Great artistic track record, renowned for social and community work, but what seems to get support these days? Jobs, tourism, income. Underlying philosophical arguments aside, the arts must have some kind of role to play in the flows of economic wealth, even if this isn’t or shouldn’t be, their strongest suit.

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Peer education

I have some old writing to upload before the new stuff hopefully comes! Here’s the first, it was first published here on the Arts Professional blog, July 2011.

What the hell is Peer Education? Read on.

We care what our peers, ‘people like us’, think. Amusingly, for all our noisy, 21st century, digital celebrations of individuality, our understanding of peer groups and desire for social capital has; if not grown, become more apparent. ‘People like us’ can be categorised not just by age, gender, location, income and ethnicity, but by any number of preferences and behaviours too. We can measure how habits spread through groups. If a smoker quits, by setting an example, they help friends quit too, though some are known to be more irritating about this than others. It’s not a magic wand obviously; social influence is a mysterious thing. Peer education (PE) is a way of developing peer networks for knowledge sharing or behavioural change, in comparison to a formal top-down hierarchy.

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