For the 2023 AMA conference, Indigo sponsored an Indigo Share bursary for someone with a passion for audience insight who hadn't been to an AMA conference before. We were very pleased to offer the bursary to Sherin Sara Alex, who is currently Marketing and Communications Manager at South Asian Arts UK. She shares her reflections on her first conference in this guest blog piece.
Thanks to the generous bursary received from Indigo Ltd, I got the amazing opportunity to attend the two-day 'Audiences at the Heart' AMA conference 2023 in Leeds earlier this month.
As I reflect on my experience at the AMA Conference 2023, the words "Be Bold, Be Brave" resonate deeply within me. The event was a powerful reminder of the essential role bold and brave leadership plays in the cultural sector.
Throughout the conference, several key takeaways left a lasting impact on me:
1. Emphasising Equity and Community: The conference highlighted the importance of leaders who understand that the cultural sector is about more than just art and heritage. It's about the people - our audiences and communities. Prioritising equity without apology was a recurring theme, urging leaders to create spaces that are inclusive, diverse, and reflective of the society we live in.
2. Inspiring Examples of Transformation: The opening keynote showcased incredible stories of Leeds-based 5 woman leaders who dared to challenge norms and rewrite the narrative around arts, culture, and heritage. Their inspiring journeys reminded me that transformative change is possible, even in seemingly stagnant environments. Their passion and resilience serve as a beacon of hope for us all.
3. Embracing Digital Transformation: The session on Google Analytics 4 was an eye-opener for me. In today's digital age, understanding marketing campaign performance and website analytics is crucial for success. Learning to embrace GA4 will undoubtedly help arts organisations tailor their efforts more effectively and better engage with their audiences.
4. Nurturing Audience Loyalty Post-Pandemic: The case study presented by Octagon Theatre Bolton showcased how to navigate the challenges of post-pandemic audience engagement. By listening to their audiences and being open to change, they successfully rebuilt audience loyalty. This session reminded me that genuine connection and adaptability are key to regaining trust and support from our communities.
5. The TikTok Revolution: The session on TikTok marketing was an unexpected highlight for me. I was pleasantly surprised to see how arts and cultural organisations could harness the power of this platform to connect with audiences authentically. The focus on fun, flexible approaches aligned with brand values showed me that being relatable and human can have a profound impact on engagement.
As I left the AMA Conference 2023, I was filled with a sense of purpose and excitement. The conference ignited a fire within me to be a bold and brave leader in my own right. I am inspired to challenge the status quo, embrace digital tools, prioritise equity and community, and explore innovative ways to connect with audiences.
I am grateful for the valuable insights and actionable ideas gained from this diverse range of sessions. Whether one is a seasoned professional or new to the field, this conference truly offers something for everyone. As I move forward, I am determined to be a force for positive change in the cultural sector and make a meaningful difference in the lives of our audiences and communities. Be bold, be brave - the journey starts now!
- Sherin Sara Alex
- Audiences, Marketing and Communications Manager at South Asian Arts