Access All Areas June 2019 - Page 11

JUNE | THE COLUMNISTS Access’ regular columnists talk disabilities, image and incentives ... Make an event a movement Jonathan Emmins, founder, Amplify Inventive incentives Josephine Burns, chair, Without Walls Shedding inhibitions Simeon Aldred, group creative director, Vibration Group We’re lucky to work for some of the most progressive and forward- thinking brands all over the world. When the agency started 10 years ago we were applying this approach predominantly youth focused B2C brands including Nike, Converse, Red Bull and PlayStation. And back then, we actually had the reputation as a bit of an East End rave agency. Fast forward to 2019 and we’re using the same culture first approach, we are just as likely to be working on Advertising Week for Google as AirMax day for Nike. And sadly now, a little older, we’re desperately clinging on to that reputation as a bit of an East End rave agency… A B2B audience’s ability to influence change and their commercial value is often significantly higher than B2C, yet often misses out on the respect and glory. For creatives, marketers and event organisers the true to test of whether we’re doing our job is how far we can shift the dial; launching something where there was nothing, leading a real behaviour change... and shifting units. And today anyone can be an influencer. When we’re working with Google one of the first questions they ask is: ‘Which audience or audiences can most influence that change’ Read in full at Here’s a recent headline from a Lyn Gardner article in the Stage: UK talent isn’t less inventive than European – just worse off. There’s a whole box of frogs in this (I’ll come back to the one about money another day) but the big-daddy frog contention is that the UK invests significantly less money in crucial bits of art-making – debate, reflection, incubating concepts, testing risky ideas. While often true, it may not just be about money. The UK model has a more programme-based approach, focused on ‘putting on the show,’ getting it in front of the audience, often driven by grant- making structures. When Without Walls became an Arts Council National Portfolio Organisation last year, we established an R&D programme, Blueprint, to respond to demand. In the last two years, we’ve invested £300,000 in 33 projects, triple the budget we’d eked out between 2012- 2015, the last time we’d been able to invest at all! And still, this nowhere near meets demand. Some Blueprint projects will be commissioned, by us and/or by others, but the intention is to let artists explore ideas without producing a fully-realised show. That’s how invention happens – when the pressure is off comes moments of inspiration. Accessibility at our venues has always been a massive challenge. Vibration Group and our venue brands Venue Lab and Broadwick Venues are famous for opening new places in found industrial environments that have complex architecture, not designed to be DDA compliant at all, never mind operating in the realms of best practice. These environments therefore come with some massive challenges for our guests with specific needs. The only solution for us is to have a proactive team that manage all aspects of access at our culture venues. The basics are easy: ramps, low bars, accessible toilets and changing facilities, but can you give these guests the feeling of being in the midst of the crowd in a 5,000 capacity electronic show? The answer is yes. Don’t remove them from the action on a viewing platform, give these guests options. ‘People not Production’ is the answer in my view. Have an access team that your guests can check in and out with across the night to ensure they have escorts to the places they want to go and when. If they want to go anywhere other guests can go, make it happen. Employing a team that understands guest experience is a must. 11