Yesterday, I went along to the very first Northumberland Marketing and Comms meet up on Zoom. Hosted by Horts (The Culture Vulture) and Kathryn Row (November Club) the agenda was short, supportive and fun!
As I've been on maternity leave for 9 months, I was really interested to hear how marketing has been going for my colleagues and their opinions on how audiences are feeling about culture and engagement in it moving into the winter months.
Daniel Russel who manages Marketing for The Alnwick Garden shared there had been a positive "higher than expected" attendance to their outdoor venue over the summer.
I am a regular at The Alnwick Garden as it's geographically very close to us. I felt very safe attending an outdoor theatre performance and taking my children to meet friends there over summer.
As we look towards Christmas theatre shows and winter experiences, I wonder how you are all feeling in our "new normal"?
I ran a poll on my instagram stories this week to ask the question about how people were feeling about being out and about/ planning experiences with two options;
Yes back to normal for me (38%)
Not so normal/ not quite there (64%)
For me, I feel the "new normal" in the arts, heritage and cultural sector is something I will navigate cautiously but optimistically moving forward. The reason for this is primarily my personal experiences with Covid-19 and how it's affected our lives.
We've all had vastly differently experiences this last 18 months.
The reality for some of us might mean more mental load to plan our attendance and perhaps we have to give our audiences and participants that thinking space as we navigate venues and experience planning?
I've seen some brilliant reviews of Woodhorn Museum by bloggers recently and it's given me so much insight into how it actually feels to attend. Check out this mini review post on the exhibition Northumberland Folk by Jonny Hannah. (Don't forget Northumberland Folk runs until 31st Oct so still time to catch it).
I am hugely grateful for the ease at which I've been able to consume culture at home from attending Make and Mend Festival online recently or connecting with colleagues at the other side of the country.
It might be that a more 'hybrid' way of connecting and experiencing the arts is one of the better things to come out of the pandemic? We'd love to hear your thoughts.
If you are a marketing or pr professional supporting cultural venues or projects in Northumberland and you'd like to attend the next meeting do drop Horts or Kathryn a line.