Communications Manager Information Pack

Welcome

Hello and welcome to The Spark Arts for Children.

Thank you for your interest in becoming our new Communications Manager.

Leicester is an inspiring, young and creative city, and is culturally, socially and economically ambitious. The Spark plays an important role in developing, restoring and maintaining Leicester's and Leicestershire's cultural identity, encouraging children's creative potential and supporting the cultural values of communities through strong partnerships, creative practices and innovation.

One of our key strengths is our approach to artist relationships, working in partnership and power-sharing. Conceived in 2018, Vital Spark is a movement addressing the lack of diversity in performances for young audiences. Through development opportunities, and commissioning and producing new work, we support artists who are currently underrepresented in the sector. In turn, these artists support us in our ambition to be a more inclusive organisation.

Our vision - extraordinary experiences for children, sparking creativity and change - is at the heart of our values and mission. We pride ourselves on delivering a collaborative and innovative children's arts festival, organising world-class cultural work in local communities all year round, and working with others to help them grow and present the most exciting ideas, productions and cultural programmes in Leicester and beyond.

Our work is characterised by story-based approaches to how we evaluate, understand and articulate our mission, communicate and promote our work and talk about our impact.

It's an exciting time to join The Spark team, and we look forward to hearing from you.

About us

The Spark is a busy children's arts organisation based at the LCB Depot, a workspace for creative and cultural industries in the heart of Leicester's cultural quarter.

Delivering a small festival project in 2003, a group of local theatres worked in partnership with the local authority to bring national and international performing arts for children and family audiences to local theatres and community venues. By 2004, The Spark was founded, in line with the city's neighbourhood and play strategies and the national strategy for creative education.

We are now an arts organisation that supports children's creative potential with a year-round cultural programme of theatre, music, dance and combined arts. Our audiences are at the heart of what we do, and our work with artists, schools, families and festival audiences is collaborative, creative and playful.

In 2025 we will celebrate our 21st year, a key moment in our organisation's history and our future vision for change.

Our mission

Working to inspire children to thrive, we explore the difference culture makes through involvement in the arts, creative interactions and cultural connections, and enabling children's voices to be heard, their creativity to be supported and their cultural values to be understood.

We do this by commissioning and co-creating high-quality, diverse and innovative arts programmes in cultural venues and community spaces outside, indoors and online. Each year we produce an imaginative and playful children's arts festival – a week-long festival of creative discovery about the world in which we live – that excites audiences and inspires participants. And we support and promote the arts and artists in libraries, and creativity and culture in schools, so that children's creative potential is supported every day. We work nationally to make a difference locally.

Our goal is to change as our local communities change, and to continue to be relevant to children. That is why we invest in playing our part in growing a cultural and creative industry that reflects the passion, creativity and diversity of our society.

Our values

Our values underpin everything we do. Our published values are as follows.

  • A fair and safe environment where everyone is valued
  • The space for big ideas to grow
  • We are curious and love learning
  • Empowering children and young people to be amazing

Audience development goals and aims

We have three audience development goals and four audience development aims to help us build audience awareness, collect and use feedback, develop understanding and ensure our work is relevant, inclusive, accessible and engaging.

Our Audience Development Goals are:

  • Goal 1: Sustaining current audiences, increasing new audiences and improving socio- economic and socio-demographic engagement.
  • Goal 2: Supporting children's creativity and cultural lives, ensuring fair access to arts and culture for underserved families and inclusion and relevance for children.
  • Goal 3: Strengthening digital capacity and skills across marketing and communications, content creation, distribution and digital engagement.

Our Audience Development Aims are:

  • Aim 1: Artists - Supporting currently underrepresented artists to develop new ideas, productions and co-productions.
  • Aim 2: Schools - Improving relationships with schools and tackling inequality of opportunity to increase participation in arts and culture for all children.
  • Aim 3: Families - Growing existing and developing new relationships with families in Leicester, Leicestershire and the East Midlands through high quality cultural programming.
  • Aim 4: Festival - Progressing an internationally connected, nationally recognised and locally impactful children's arts festival programme.

Who we are looking for

Job title: Communications Manager

Reporting to: Artistic Director Responsible for: Marketing Officer

The role

We are looking for a talented and highly motivated communications professional with significant experience of developing, implementing and evaluating effective and inclusive communications and audience development strategies. We are interested in individuals who have worked with arts, cultural or creative organisations and networks, and who are passionate about engaging diverse audiences of artists, children, schools and families in high quality arts and culture.

  • You will work as part of a team to understand audience perceptions of our organisation and work, and their needs, interests and wants, using data and insight to effectively target marketing and communications strategies.
  • You will deepen relationships with existing audiences and introduce new audiences to Spark Festival and our cultural programmes, projects and other opportunities both live and digital, with engaging words, striking visuals and responsive digital content.
  • You will deliver marketing and communications activity with creativity, collaboration and care, helping to promote our programmes, projects and partnerships and tell powerful stories of experience and impact.
  • You will support the development of both internal and external communications, across our governance, leadership, workforce and volunteers as well as our audience groups, partners, investors and stakeholders.

Responsibilities

The Communications Manager is responsible for strategies relating to communications, audience development and digital marketing, the practical implementation of plans and the evaluation of performance. The role includes planning and reviewing strategies, channels and messaging to build engagement with our audiences across PR and media, digital marketing (website and social media), print and community engagement, to raise the profile of our work with audiences, partners and stakeholders.

Main objectives

  • To work closely with the leadership team to shape strategy, leading on the practical delivery of the Audience Development Plan by taking an evidence-based approach.
  • To work collaboratively with staff and partners to promote our services, festival, cultural programmes and projects in ways that reflect our brand, values, mission and partnerships.
  • To plan, implement and evaluate communications campaigns for our cultural programmes and projects, including Spark Festival and Vital Spark, sharing information in accessible, engaging and effective ways.
  • To communicate effectively, influencing and building credibility and understanding and creating positive working relationships with people at all levels, from our target audiences and cultural partners to suppliers and sponsors.

Communications and Community Engagement

  • Working closely with the Artistic Director and Associate Directors to develop communication and audience development strategies and the effective use of channels, digital content and messaging to engage current and reach new audiences.
  • Working closely with the Marketing Officer to implement and review communications, channels, digital content and messaging that is in line with our business objectives and audience development goals.
  • Continuously improving the accessibility and inclusivity of our brand and messaging to reflect and achieve our aims for artists, schools, families and festival audiences and wider stakeholders in culture, education, community and health.
  • Using and demonstrating the importance of good data; collecting, analysing, interpreting and presenting information and insight to support good decision making, planning, performance reporting and promoting.
  • Producing and managing content that represents the perceptions and experiences of the artists, children, schools and families we work with and for, particularly supporting children's voice.

Communications and Digital Marketing

  • Developing and implementing effective communications and digital marketing strategies and campaigns for the festival, cultural programmes and projects and aligned opportunities.
  • Creating and implementing joint marketing initiatives with partners, including Spark Festival, Vital Spark, The City Classroom cultural education partnership and the Among Ideal Friends Consortium.
  • Working closely with Associate Directors, Creative Producers and Project Managers to manage copy writing and design processes, overseeing editing, production and distribution of marketing materials including print and advertising.
  • Supporting the Marketing Officer to plan and implement digital marketing and promotion activity using social media, the company website and online listings.
  • Working closely with the Marketing Officer to maintain and develop the company website and social media presence to meet the needs of the business and our audiences.

Media & PR

  • Developing and implementing effective communications and digital marketing strategies
  • Developing effective media relations and implementing successful media and PR campaigns to meet business, festival and cultural programme objectives relating to audience engagement.
  • Preparing and delivering effective media releases and briefings to secure feature interviews and coverage.
  • Contracting and managing relationships with suppliers and partners relevant to press and PR, wider communications and community engagement.

General responsibilities

  • Developing a database of suppliers, commissioning suppliers and managing contracts in line with business and operational objectives and good practice processes.
  • Working closely with the General Manager, managing the communications database, including mailing list maintenance and segmentation and GDPR / PECR compliance.
  • Overseeing the production and distribution of email newsletter campaigns.
  • Working closely with the Development Manager and festival team to support fundraising and sponsorship work and ticket sales for shows.
  • Demonstrating a commitment to equality, diversity, inclusion and access across communications, digital marketing and community engagement work.

Person specification

What we are looking for in a Communications Manager

Essential

  • Experience of working in a marketing and communications management role and developing and implementing communications and digital marketing strategies including community engagement.
  • Experience of managing websites and social media channels, and of creating and implementing messaging and digital content strategies.
  • Experience of using digital analytics tools and data, and analysing, interpreting and presenting data and information as a process of continuous improvement and to report performance.
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills and attention to detail, with the ability to write and edit engaging and accessible content across digital and offline channels in line with communications and audience development objectives.
  • Ability to think creatively to spot and develop opportunities for media coverage and skills to build and establish strong working relationships with external marketing and communications teams.
  • Ability to lead successful digital marketing, communications and community campaigns to meet communications and audience development objectives and sales targets.
  • Excellent interpersonal and influencing skills and the ability to build credibility and strong relationships with stakeholders at multiple levels and for various purposes.
  • Self-motivation with the ability to work independently and meet deadlines, an excellent multi- tasker with good ability to prioritise.
  • Experience of managing and maintaining CRM data including mailing lists and customer relationship information.
  • Knowledge and experience of GDPR and PECR compliance and best practice plus the management and implementation of image, film and audio release permissions.
  • Evidence of training or continued professional development in communications and audience development and/or a relevant professional qualification.

Desirable

  • Experience of managing a small team, including internships or placements, and/or project and budget management.
  • Experience of working in the cultural sector or creative industries.
  • Experience of updating website content on a CMS system.
  • Experience of working with artists and a passion for theatre, music, dance and combined arts for children and families.

Equality, diversity, inclusion and access

We value people's experiences and believe that working with people from different backgrounds and with different experiences strengthens and develops the work that we do.

We welcome and encourage applications from people who are underrepresented in the creative and cultural industries.

We particularly encourage people to apply from Asian, Black or ethnically diverse backgrounds, who are LGBTQIA+, who define as disabled or neurodiverse and/or from low socio-economic backgrounds.

Terms of appointment

Contract type: This post is a part-time permanent role at 30 hours per week. A flexible work pattern is negotiable.

Location: You will be based at the LCB Depot in Leicester.

Salary: The salary for this position is £28,000 p.a. pro rata.

Holiday entitlement: 20 days plus bank holidays, increasing to 25 days plus bank holidays over six years (pro rata).

Pension: The Spark Arts for Children operates a contributory pension scheme provided by NEST.

This post is subject to a satisfactory enhanced DBS disclosure.

How to apply

You can apply by filling in an application form and emailing it with your CV to jobs@thesparkarts.co.uk.

You can download the application form from thesparkarts.co.uk/jobs and we are happy to receive applications in alternative formats (for example, video or audio files) which answer the questions on the application form. All applications will be acknowledged by email.

You will also need to fill in an Equal Opportunities Form which we will email to you when we acknowledge your application. This form is for monitoring purposes only and is not treated as part of your application.

Timeline

The closing date for applications is 12 noon on Tuesday 3 May 2022.

Interviews will take place on Thursday 19 May.