BLOG 3rd October 2017

Hello, is it Audiences NI you are looking for?

Today is a new chapter for Audiences NI as we launch a new brand but also a new name – Welcome to thrive.

I can hear eyebrows being raised quizzically as you may wonder why a name change – yes a refresh of your logo and of course a new website (we’ve done that too) but why after 14 years change the name of NI’s audience development agency?

Defining our purpose

While these processes can often be difficult as you sweat over the shade of magenta or the right font – in many ways for us here at thrive HQ, it became quite a simple decision to change our name. It all started with looking at our purpose – why exactly do we exist and beyond that what exactly is our offer to the sector which will deliver value for our public funding?

We realised that for us the reason we come to work every day is because we believe that culture can transform lives and that everyone should have the opportunity to experience that – after that people can choose to avail of that opportunity or not.

If that’s what gets us out of bed in the morning what is our offer to you – the cultural sector and the myriad of organisations and individuals, funders and stakeholders that work in the cultural ecosystem here?

Simply put, we help cultural organisations to unlock their audience potential and support them to accelerate change so they can thrive.

Well it’s simple to say but you know as well as we do, it can be difficult to get at that audience information and turn it into useable insight. It can be challenging to get buy-in for talking about audiences at all levels in your organisations. It can be risky to suggest and implement change that has audience insight at its heart and it can be frustrating to aim for sustainability when survival is the priority. If it were easy then we wouldn’t need to be here.

Once we arrived on the idea of supporting organisations to thrive we became really energised. Now everything we do from customer mapping reports to creating events carries this idea of helping organisations of all sizes to thrive.

A new resource for the cultural sector

On our new website we have created a huge amount of free resources, reports, templates, tools and case studies plus access to free training – all to help you move towards a place of sustainability and resilience and ultimately to thrive.

Our excitement doesn’t mean we are not aware of the really challenging funding scenario we all face every day and the fact that it doesn’t appear to be improving given the political stalemate here.

But we want to be aspirational and work in partnership with arts, heritage, cultural and creative organisations to achieve that aspiration – so have a look at and give us a call if you want to chat more.

As a team it became really obvious that our previous name just didn’t capture that new offer and energy. It didn’t reflect our aspiration for ourselves and the sector we work in; it didn’t reflect the many types of organisations and audiences we work with from ticketed performing arts to non-ticketed visual arts to participants in workshops and classes; it didn’t reflect that audiences come from within and without NI in increasing numbers - it didn’t reflect our purpose and our proposition.

So welcome to thrive – interdependent with the cultural sector, proud to be part of the cultural sector and supporting change within the cultural sector based on audience information and insight.

Come and say hello.

Fiona Bell

Chief Executive

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