ArtReach makes great art possible and accessible, connecting art with grass roots and diverse communities to forge creative engagement

Digital Consultancy Opportunities Available at ArtReach

March 4th, 2021|Comments Off on Digital Consultancy Opportunities Available at ArtReach

Tender 1: Digital presence and development consultancy brief (Communications and Marketing)

Tender 2: Digital programme and digital engagement consultancy brief (Programme and Audience Engagement)


Context to these opportunities

The pandemic’s impact on the arts sector has been substantial and profound. ArtReach – like many organisations – are taking the opportunity to review its strategy, approach and resources to engage audiences in new and innovative ways. We want to review the current position of our digital presence and reach, and of the cultural programmes we offer, so we can continue to achieve impact and deliver our mission to make great art possible and accessible.

ArtReach is looking to commission a consultant(s) to conduct a 360 degree review of the organisation’s online programme content and digital audience development approach. The consultant(s) will support ArtReach to develop an ambitious yet realistic digital engagement strategy and action plan for the next three years.

The strategy should cover two distinct aspects of ArtReach’s work – hence our approach to issue two Tender opportunities. The first aspect the organisation is keen to explore is ArtReach’s digital presence on its company and festival websites, social media platforms as well as other key digital communications e.g. newsletters. The second aspect to explore is an assessment of the organisation’s programme of festivals, and how to achieve impact through utilising digital to engage audiences and create incredible cultural experiences.

ArtReach welcomes proposals from an agency or an individual to deliver this work and responses can cover one or both tender opportunities. You will have experience of developing digital engagement strategies for arts/cultural organisations, have extensive knowledge and experience of working in the cultural sector and with working in or with small teams to best utilise limited capacity and budgets.

What we need

ArtReach wants to work with a consultant(s) to provide a deep analysis of ArtReach’s current online presence and its subsidiary brands e.g. Liberty UK, Journeys Festival International, Liberty EU, etc. This review will contribute to a long-term vision and determine a set of processes for how ArtReach can ensure a consistent approach across its varied programme, and increase the quality of engagement and create new initiatives that engage audiences with our work.

The consultant(s), with the support of the ArtReach Senior Management Team and the wider team, will produce a manageable 2-3 year plan with a clear route map and a series of recommended actions to be taken in order to develop the organisation’s digital presence, its staff (e.g. through identifying skills development and training needs) and programme content development and delivery.

ArtReach is looking for recommendations and an action plan to implement over the short, medium and long term to ensure this work will have impact and can be sustained. The goals and milestones identified as part of these processes will be adapted into future audience development plans.

Key deliverables

The two tender opportunities available have distinct activities and requirements to help ArtReach take action and achieve most impact from this work. Below, the key activities we would expect from this work have been itemised by how we see them contributing towards the actions we need to take in the short, medium or long-term.


Tender 1: Digital presence and development (Communications and marketing)

Key activities that relate to actions that we hope to implement by June 2021

  • Deep dive analysis into current digital presence including but not limited to; multiple website and social media platforms – leading to recommendations for improved user XP and growth in social media engagement.
  • Analyse and make recommendations for improved website logic and user experience.
  • Recommendations to ensure ArtReach is following best practice and gaining meaningful insights from its Google analytics data.
  • Explorations and advice for best practice in digital advertising including Google ads and alternative digital routes.
  • Advice on the systems and best routes to integrate booking tickets and digital presentation of content instead of multiple presence on multiple platforms.

Key activities that relate to actions that we hope to implement by October 2021

  • Recommendations for CPD for staff (additional to internal survey and recommendations).
  • External comms (Newsletter) improvements, with particular insights offered to move towards more preference-based news and automated processes.
  • Advice on adoption of new social media platforms such as Twitch, TikTok and caffeine.
  • Advice on best practice for utilising existing content and recommendations on how to embrace sharing of archive projects.
  • Following consultant investigation, recommendations for use of online community engagement tools, such as Facebook community and similar tools.

Key activities that relate to actions that we hope to implement by October 2022

  • Advice on successful amalgamation of digital presence and creation of 3-step, 18-month plan for achievement (ArtReach Task Group led by external consultant).
  • Establish a three-pronged approach to digital content including casual, training / forum based and formal presentation.
  • Development of ArtReach led digital training opportunities (webinar style CPD/consultancy options).


Tender 2: Digital programme and digital engagement (Programme/Audience)

Key activities that relate to actions that we hope to implement by June 2021

  • Analysis of and advice on best practise for making programme content accessible.
  • Recommendations for best digital engagement routes for target audiences.
  • Recommendations for platforms and storage systems for archive content.
  • Recommendations for programme based audience surveys (Leading into recommendations for project and programme inclusions).

Key activities that relate to actions that we hope to implement by October 2021

  • Advice on best practice around addressing ‘digital poverty’ and how we can help our audience on low incomes to access ArtReach digital programmes.
  • Digital programme analysis and future best practice recommendations.
  • Practical in- depth recommendations on channels, content and tone.

Key activities that relate to actions that we hope to implement by October 2022

  • Building internal digital production skills, exploring current trends, near future developments in digital arts and best practice in digital commissions e.g production team workshop with digital artist or company.
  • The co-creation of a more detailed 3 year digital audience engagement plan including SMART Targets.



We wish to appoint the person(s) or organisation(s) to commence delivery of this work on 01 April 2021. This work should be completed by 30 June 2021.

  • Initial phase (April): Research and analysis.
  • Secondary phase (May): Recommendations and CPD suggestions.
  • Final phase (June): Create a delivery timeline for integration and delivery plan for next 6 months to 3 years.

Project Management

The project will be delivered in coordination with the ArtReach Marketing and Communications Manager, Gary Cicinskas and General Manager, Lynn Simmonds.


We anticipate spending in the region of £3,500 – £5,000 +VAT on each contract.

Expenses for travel and subsistence should be included in the costs from the applicant.

Please note that appointment is subject to funding.

How to apply

ArtReach welcomes applications from agencies/individuals that wish to deliver one or both of the available tender opportunities. If you are interested in applying, we recommend you read the background information on ArtReach’s current digital profile to refer to in your proposals available below.
Digital Consultancy Background Pack

To apply, please prepare a response that includes:

  • Confirmation of which brief(s) you are responding to.
  • A CV or Portfolio showing your previous relevant experience, qualifications, skills and two references.
  • A 2-4 page document highlighting why your experience means you are suitable for carrying out this work and how you would carry out this work (indicating key contact points, an indicative timeline and methodology).
  • In addition, you may also include screenshots of your work or testimonials from previous projects if you feel they will be relevant to your application.

Responses should be emailed to by Monday 22nd March 2021, 12pm noon.

If you are shortlisted, you will be asked to attend an online interview where you can expand upon your proposal and give a presentation to the ArtReach communications team and General Manager.

Interviews: Week commencing 29th March.

If you have any queries once you’ve read this information and the background information pack, please email the Marketing and Communications Manager, Gary Cicinskas, at Phone calls only if essential please.



Looking for new Associates (freelance)

October 20th, 2020|Comments Off on Looking for new Associates (freelance)

Due to growing demand, ArtReach is seeking experienced fundraisers and project/programme evaluators to support our consultancy services offered to a wide cross section of organisations from the community and cultural sector.

In particular, we would love to hear from people with experience in writing fundraising applications to community funders, Trusts and Foundations and National Lottery funders, and who would be interested in supporting ArtReach at busy times on a freelance basis.

Although ArtReach is a cultural agency, we are currently facing demand our services from the wider community sector and therefore would welcome Associates with experience of working with a range of organisations, charities and groups, not necessarily within arts or culture.

If you are interested, please send your CV and freelance day rate, along with details of some successful projects you have delivered (please list the funder, client, amount, date, and one paragraph project description), and contact details to Jo Dacombe, Arts & Heritage Consultant,

Please note that ArtReach staff are currently working remotely and Associates will need to have this capability. ArtReach work nationally and Associates can be based in any part of the UK.

Any questions? Contact Jo Dacombe on


Beyond the Equal Opportunities Statement

October 6th, 2020|Comments Off on Beyond the Equal Opportunities Statement

Vicki Arogundade is a member of the ArtReach board of directors and contributes her second blog examining the increased focus on organisations to be truly representative of their audiences and wider society, while considering ArtReach’s history with diversity and inclusion.

This summer organisations across the world have been asking themselves some big questions, to try and figure out if their organisation is truly diverse. 

  • What does it mean to have a diverse organisation?
  • Is it enough to have a representative proportion of individuals with protected characteristics on their staff team? 
  • Does the organisation’s equal opportunities policy need to be recirculated and re-signed? 
  • Have they done enough? 

These are important questions to ask. Nearly every business holds an equal opportunities policy, anti-discrimination procedure and joined in with expressing solidarity for the BLM movement – yet few can be sure that internal stakeholders would agree they work in a positively diverse environment. Fewer still can demonstrate representation embedded into the infrastructure of the organisation and diversity represented at all levels of the organisation. Most can tick a couple of these boxes, few could tick all of them.

Even today, after reams of policies and statements, it is still hard to find organisations that give equal weight and respect to diverse voices. Yet despite the odds, this is an area in which ArtReach has excelled for years. 

The organisation goes to great lengths to elevate the quietest voices, co-producing cultural programmes with diverse communities rather than making commissioning decisions in isolation and making assumptions of what these audiences would like to see and hear.  This is underpinned by an organisation that reflects diversity at all levels – from junior staff through to the most senior, from festival performers through to audience members. 

This investment in diversity has earnt the organisation a strong rating from Arts Council England in August 2020 in recognition of its contribution to the Creative Case for Diversity. 

“World class”

Audience Member 

The ArtReach approach to working in collaboration with diverse communities (such as refugee and asylum seekers) has enabled the organisation to build higher quality festival programmes and create welcoming environments that actually excite audiences. These programmes have consistently attracted large diverse audiences, as well as the support of inaccessible cohorts who are traditionally the hardest to engage in the arts. It speaks volumes that the organisation chose to develop this way of working and embed diversity into its core many years before it became a funding requirement and prior to this summer’s equality protests. It’s an example that goes some way to demonstrating that diversity really is good for business. 

“That we are all the same and we need to remember that!”

Audience Member

Does Diversity Matter? 

ArtReach has a solid track record of consistently engaging a high percentage of diverse audiences at live events by working alongside communities and co-producing programmes that resonate for these audiences.

“I have had a fantastic time and have been extremely moved by the speakers.”

Audience Member 

Working in collaboration with diverse communities avoids common faux pas that have tripped up other well-meaning cultural festivals, Black history month celebrations and Windrush events. 

Nuances are missed, cultures get confused and the celebratory events programmed in the absence of members from these communities is glaringly obvious to the members within it. The end results are superficial events that run the risk of insulting the communities they intended to serve. 

ArtReach has demonstrated a sensitive approach to cultural content creation and commissioning, which has resulted in the production of higher quality creative outputs, added depth and richer subject matter. When coupled with a talented and dedicated staff team, this has cumulated to create programmes that enthuse local communities, grow the organisation’s profile through word of mouth and build its reputation as a leading national and international cultural festival organiser. 

Lovely atmosphere, proud to see every age group, ethnicity etc. all coming together”

Audience Member 


The Role of the Arts: Escapism or Evolution?

September 7th, 2020|Comments Off on The Role of the Arts: Escapism or Evolution?

Vicki Arogundade is a member of the ArtReach board of directors and contributes her first blog examining the key role of festivals, like ArtReach’s festivals, for social change and unity. 

As a young girl, my mother took me to every carnival, light show and community celebration in the vicinity. Although I generally enjoyed these types of shows, there were occasionally times I adamantly refused to attend. These were the days before person-centered parenting had a trending hashtag on Twitter, so my opinion was overruled and I found myself in the crowds regardless. Turns out this was an instance in which mother knew best, as seconds after the show had started my grumpy mood was transformed by the electric buzz in the air and in no time I was mesmerized by the show. 

It didn’t take long for me to get the bug and I continued to attend creative productions in my locality as well as coordinating my holiday schedule to follow the international festival circuit around the UK.  I never fail to be impressed by seeing these events animate outdoor spaces and offer a rare opportunity for the whole community to socialize together. It was like a huge street party in which everyone’s invited – regardless of affluence, age, ethnicity or disability. 

“A truly fantastic, thought-provoking and inspiring exhibition, filled with sublime and beautiful artworks that make one’s heart sing” 

Audience Member, Journeys Festival International

Years later, my career as a marketing specialist within arts and disability charities led me to cross paths with ArtReach and eventually join the Board of Trustees. It was from this position I was able to see how the role of local arts festivals had evolved into something bigger. Now, it offers more than a brief interlude from the daily routine, more than just escapism. It has become a tool to enable us to better understanding ourselves, comprehend our place in the world, as well as a method of reflecting on injustice, inequalities and challenging the biases we didn’t know we had.

There have been numerous courageous practitioners and organisations that have played a part in pioneering the use of the arts for social change, in different cities and across the world countries (personal favourites include the Theatre of the Oppressed, Welfare State, Jessica Rost and Fela Kuti). I was lucky enough to have ArtReach in my vicinity, actively programming events throughout my region.

It was here that I saw high-quality creative pieces being used to tackle politically-sensitive topics and ponder what it means to be human, at a time when few (individuals or organisations) dared to broach potentially contentious subjects for fear of negative repercussions or reputational damage. 

Now the precedence has been set, it is now clear to see how well-placed creative mediums are positioned to harness the transformative power of the arts, not just entertain, but to educate and elevate.

 “… have been very impressed and moved by the subject matter and quality of the artwork” 

Festival Participant 

For 22 years, ArtReach was brave enough to put its head above the parapet and programme thought-provoking live events, designed to remind us of our shared humanity. The festivals bring together people of different cultures, encourage us to re-examine our stereotypes and challenge the validity of our underlying assumptions.

  • delicate white figurines arranged side by side against black backdrop

International Arts Festival Announces New Commissions as Part of Digital Festival

July 30th, 2020|Comments Off on International Arts Festival Announces New Commissions as Part of Digital Festival

Journeys Festival International (Produced by ArtReach) has announced 4 new commissions and a film programme as part of its 2020 digital Festival, taking place online from 28th September – 18th October 2020. The annual Festival, which explores the refugee experience through great art, usually takes place in the cities of Leicester, Manchester and Portsmouth but for 2020 has created a digital special, which will reach new audiences in the UK and across Europe.

The commissions range from international interdisciplinary projects exploring an intergalactic journey through the UK’s immigration system and also how to engage politically when you don’t have access to sound. The new works will all explore the experiences and cultures of artists who have sought sanctuary in the UK.

For the first time, the Festival also features themes for each week and the artistic responses and content responding to each theme. Week one of the Festival will be ‘Exploring the World We Live In’ and features, This is Not For Me Now, an exhibition of performative photographs responding to the pandemic by Iman Tajik. Iman is an Iranian artist and photographer based in Glasgow. Tajik’s work is anchored in a strong social interest and demonstrates an effort to make work that is a critical tool connected to international movements for social change. 

In week two, the Festival will explore ‘The Way We See the World’ and hosts a new commission from Maral Mamaghanizadeh, titled, If You Want to be Alive. This incredible documentary explores Maral’s work as an artist and Deaf female refugee, using her bone china ear jewellery. Maral’s incredibly delicate jewellery looks at the different levels of hearing impairments experienced by the hard of hearing community and when pressed to the ear actually replicates those sound restrictions for a fully hearing audience member. 

The final week of the Festival is themed ‘Hope and Celebration’ and features an exciting sci-fi tale and 3D experience by two Manchester based artists, Another Story Collective. Exploring the imaginary planet, Mancunia, DOWN UP SIDE is a science fiction tale of the journey of Bedos Mavambu (aka Kwabo Nkisi) from the Republic Democratic of Congo to the planet Mancunia. The tale is told through spoken word poetry, soundscapes and 3D illustrations. This visually stunning journey will be available at from 12th to 18th October.

Alongside a full Festival programme of interactive activities for families and artists, a series of conversations with  Somali-British activist and writer, Magid Magid, exhibitions and performances, audiences are invited to join a series of film broadcasts too. The films cover a range of subject matter from a Pirate Radio station in Paris, a short film about a mystery postal delivery and a collection of performed poetry pieces by artist Inua Ellams.

The Festival also hosts cook-along sessions in Global Kitchen, teaching audiences new dishes from around the world, podcasts, animations, interactive art installations and live comedy. It’s fair to say that in 2020, Journeys Festival International really does have something for all audiences to enjoy from the comfort of their own digital screens.

Keep your eyes on their website,, for the full programme announcements in August and save the dates 28th September – 18th October to show your support for an array of artists and Festival content from across the globe. 

Black Lives Matter

June 16th, 2020|Comments Off on Black Lives Matter

A message from the ArtReach Board of Trustees 

At ArtReach we stand with those around the world who are speaking out against injustice and racism, and at this particular time in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement. For us this needs to go beyond a statement, or a social media campaign – we try to take action.

We will continue to listen, and to be a platform for the voices of the artists from all communities. We will continue to learn through promoting education, discussion, providing opportunities that help bring about change, and by continuously reflecting how we, as an organisation, can do that more in the future. We will continue to review diverse representation on our board, and within our staff team, to ensure different voices are represented, and we are committed to making power and decision-making diverse.