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Using stewards at outdoor arts events

The correct stewards are able to make or bust an arts event, particularly when the audiences of yours aren’t standard arts attenders. Jan Lennox from Watermans found Hounslow shares the best tips of her for developing an amiable and inviting space.

Watermans is a significant arts centre in West London as well as the lead partner for People that are Creative and also Places Hounslow, with a 10 year vision to create a confident, colourful and creative borough.

“We set up a partnership between Watermans and also the London Borough of Hounslow to get a pilot of pop up occasions in town centre. The audience feedback was truly positive, and suggested a chance for development.”

As a part of the Creative People of its and Places program, and also with assistance from the regional authority, Watermans now programmes twenty events annually in Bell Square in the city centre of Hounslow, among London’s almost all diverse boroughs.

“Outdoor events frequently use stewarding companies and also the stewards are able to wind up being glorified security and never very useful, that had been really not what we wanted! Trained customer relations staff tend to be more apt to extend the skills of theirs and make connections with folks in the street.”

With this in mind, Jan shares the best tips of her for stewarding free outside arts events in a helpful and friendly way: one. Quality is key

We had been convinced the job needed to be quality that is high – we did not wish to fob above inexperienced audiences with work which was not great, on the foundation when this was a brand new market, then simply if the job is great they are going to come again! So we program a broad range of top quality European and UK work.

  1. Be inviting – to everyone

Building a market in this context requires strategy that is very good and a joined up approach. A major success factor is breaking down barriers to engagement. Basically, event stewards have to make a warm and inviting room, to make as lots of individuals as you possibly can, to make sure that individuals feel in a position to stop and observe the performance, maybe for the very first time ever, or perhaps for the very first time in some time.

  1. Rely on staff…

We use our very own customer relations staff as stewards, not stewarding companies or security folks. Our venue customer relations staff members are qualified to be inviting, and also we wanted that identical ethos, but much more as! They’re working with the general public on the road, not with persons who may have made a decision to reach an arts event in a venue.
4….but identify gaps in training

We additionally recognised that additional training was needed. Each day that there is an event, we begin with a briefing, but in addition to going from the typical safety and health, operational stuff, traffic management, security, we emphasised that the role of theirs is creating a warm environment.

  1. Brief stewards properly

The stewards talk to passersby about incidents that morning – they’ve to do well at a lot of snappy and short explanations. We ensure that it stays simple – there is absolutely nothing that is difficult to recognise or even using’ artspeak’. And, obviously, it is almost all free. We encourage them to grow back for performances and also, most of the time, people do.

In case you eliminate the clear barriers – telling folks with children that are small that it is ideal for kids etc. – then they’ll come. The programme is created to be appropriate for anyone. There is nothing text based because that will require knowledge of a specific language. Hounslow is extremely diverse and has a lot of the latest arrivals.

  1. Put in the time

We’ve roughly twenty events a year, and I reckon we’ve aproximatelly 300 chats each time – so that is 6,000 conversations a year, several brief and some actually long. We chat about shows, but additionally related to people. It is an extremely intensive method of doing audience development, though it really works. There is a quick, tangible effect – speak with individuals then see them in the market afterwards. You are able to see that it is working!

  1. Talk to individuals after the event too

Afterwards, we try and speak to as lots of individuals as you possibly can, to thank them for approaching and also let them know we wish they liked it. Everyone is coming back regularly – we’ve rather a great deal of regulars! We’ve plenty of individual males, only coming along, and that is pretty uncommon in an arts context. Some time before each event, a team of more mature Nepalese individuals come – they’ve zero English at all, therefore we cannot speak with them about it, though they are there each time, prepared and waiting, that is fantastic.

  1. This effort is vital

The stewards’ good is truly critical – it is primarily a role to convert anxious or confused passersby into active and willing audience members. We feel a great deal about obstacles to engagement in the arts, and also price is a huge one – everyone is shocked the events of ours are free – or maybe folks think they do not possess the time, or maybe the arts are not for them.

The steward role is a lot the very first individual, one-on-one breaking down all those barriers. The stewards will always be emphasising the events are absolutely free, that everybody is welcome. That includes the entire community – people that are homeless, older people, non-English speakers, kids. The events are located in a public space and they’ve to get truly for everyone. We treat certainly everyone the exact same.

  1. Build it and they’ll come…

The responses is basically: we love it, give us much more! We believed folks will become more crucial in the next season, but it they actually have not been up to now. People really love it. And also the stewards enjoy the job – they’ve an extremely appreciative audience, that is good. These’re usually groups of individuals who are extremely unlikely to drop by mainstream arts events, moreover the stewards contacting individuals have to be conscious of which. Additionally, they have to emphasise this’s an arts area, so when folks see an event they realize that it is a part of the arts, which they’ve interested in the arts. It indicates individuals begin to think, really I enjoyed that very last time, making them much more apt to participate in an additional arts event in potential.

  1. And finally…

The 3 issues which are important that we would like staff members to recall are the events tend to be totally free, everybody’s pleasant, and to laugh, laugh, laugh – it is as cheesy as you enjoy! The essential thing is designed for the stewards being as friendly as is possible.