Arts programme reaches out & celebrates the Lake District’s people, culture and landscape
Lakes Culture’s first ‘Lakes Ignite’ arts event earlier this year has proved to be a great success. The event programme held this spring, sought to engage with some very specific marketing segments by celebrating the Lake District; its people, culture and landscape.
Throughout the event an evaluation exercise was undertaken to ascertain how effective the programme was in engaging with a range of audiences and to find out how people perceived the area as a cultural destination. From the data gathered we can clearly see the contribution that Lakes Ignite made in drawing culturally motivated visitors from key priority areas; including London and the South East and major cities across the north of England.
Indeed 64% of those visiting from the key target areas indicating that they were directly influenced to visit the area by the Lakes Ignite programme. One participant commenting on Point to Point wrote: “What’s lovely about the audio package, is that if I was planning a weekend for people coming from London, it would be a beautiful activity to do with friends.”
The audiences engaging with the programme came from a broad selection of age ranges drawing in a high proportion of people from the project’s four key target groups. Over half of the adults visiting were aged between 45 and 64 years, characteristic of two of the four target markets identified for the festival (Prosperous planners and Cultural Boomers).Though not as prominent, there were a large number of adults in the age ranges 25-44, characteristic of the remaining two target groups (Indie Gen-Xers and Exploring families).
Interestingly the findings also showed that the programme was successful in attracting a number of people who ordinarily would not engage with contemporary arts, including many fell walkers, for whom the works provided new insights and different perspectives on familiar landscapes.
As well as looking at specific audiences the evaluation set out to explore any impacts the festival had on audience perceptions of the Lake District as a leading cultural destination and to identify any changes in their likelihood to re-visit the area and/or recommend it to others.
From many audience comments, we can see the festival was an added attraction, giving a new dimension to their visit, providing them with fresh perspectives on the landscape. Many said the works added prominence, profile and vibrancy to the image of the area; whilst adding elements of surprise, dynamism and excitement, giving the Lake District a contemporary, innovative and cutting edge dimension.
Once participant commenting on PaperBridge said: “It gives a more modern and cutting edge image to our area, which is so bound in history, heritage and tradition. History, heritage and tradition is important but so is progression. The paper bridge was a perfect balance of both.”
The positive reactions from audiences are reflected in the high numbers (67%) indicated that their experience of Lakes Ignite had increased their likelihood to revisit the Lake District, attend other arts and cultural events in the area and recommend the destination to others (69%).
“The commissioned work is perfect to keep visitors and residents interested. I love the idea of using the Lakes as a back drop for the art. Looking forward to more” commented one visitor to the Harmonica Botanica installation at the National Trust’s Wray Castle.
Usha Mistry, Lakes Culture’s Project manager, said: ‘’ Lakes Ignite 2015 showcased wonderfully the diversity and talent to be found in the Lake District’s arts and cultural scene, plus the imaginative way the landscape is still inspiring great art – with a contemporary twist. The result of the evaluation exercise show we are on the right track and there is an appetite for what we’re doing. We now have the opportunity to build on this success with Lakes Ignite 2016 and to ensure that the area remains in the public eye as the UK’s leading rural cultural destination.’’
Lakes Ignite 2016 will take place for two weeks (including the three weekends at the beginning, middle and end of those weeks) in May 2016 – actual dates to be confirmed. Successful commissions will ideally last for the duration of Lakes Ignite or take place for a minimum of seven days during this period and must include at least one weekend.
With this in mind the Lake Culture project team are keen particularly interested in hearing from artists who are seeking to create projects which are innovative or artistically challenging and have the potential to be of regional or national significance.
You can download the full Artistic Brief and submission details from: http://lakesculture.co.uk/lakes-ignite-2016-new-artistic-work-or-events/
The submission deadline for outline proposals is: 9am Monday 14 September 2015.
Note to Editors:
Low res image enclosed: Point To Point – The Audio walk & route information for this piece are downloadable until October from http://pointtopointwalk.co.uk/
• Lakes Culture aims to bring together the area’s tourism and cultural sectors to better promote the wealth of cultural activities on offer reaffirming the area as the UK’s leading rural cultural destination.
• The Lake District is one of only ten locations in the country to benefit from Cultural Destinations initiative a focused programme set up by Arts Council England and VisitEngland. The aim of Cultural destinations is to enable arts and culture organisations working in partnership with destination organisations to increase their reach, engagement and resilience through working with the tourism sector. Closer working between the two sectors will contribute to the economic growth of the cultural and tourism visitor economies.
• Organisations involved in the project include Kendal Brewery Arts Centre (Lead Organisation), Lakeland Arts, The Wordsworth Trust, Theatre by the Lake, The Forestry Commission – Grizedale, Cumbria Tourism, The National Trust, Lake District National Park and South Lakeland District Council.
• The Lakes Culture project will also form a supporting strand of the World Heritage Status bid to be submitted by the Lake District National Park.