Home / Work / Public Engagement / Audience development / Family Explorers North East (Oct 2014+)

Family Explorers North East (Oct 2014+)

Family Explorers North East is a public initiative helping families in the region to enjoy a wider range of cultural experiences together.  It was launched at Seven Stories, National Centre for Children’s Books in October 2014.

All NGCV members are involved in this initiative, along with other venues in the North East, building on the audience development research projects with families which NGCV has been involved with for the last 5 years and other cultural venues in the North East over the last 2 years (click here for details of research).

Families can sign up to Family Explorers North East at http://familyexplorers.co.uk or join the Facebook Group

Families are invited to sign up to the project for free and receive hand-picked recommendations from cultural venues and sites across the North East every week, making choosing days out quicker and easier for busy families. 

Family Explorers North East also encourages families to share reviews of their visits so other participants can see honest and unbiased recommendations from families just like them. Research found this help them feel more confident about trying somewhere new.

As well as peer reviews, Family Explorers also receive exclusive discounts, money saving tips and free tools to make exploring the North East easy, affordable and fun.

Sallyanne Flemons from Family Explorers said, “Family Explorers North East is a unique project that has the views and needs of families at its heart. We are so lucky in our region to have such a rich variety of culture waiting to be explored.

All the Family Explorers venues have signed up to the National Family Arts Standards, supported by the Family Arts Campaign, which means they are dedicated to offering a warm welcome to families and offering relevant and fun things to do throughout the year.

Family Explorers began life in 2012 as a research project with a small number of selected families. The partner venues wanted to find out how families could be encouraged to try new cultural genres. For example, could theatre-goers be persuaded to try dance? Would museum fans feel confident about seeing a live music show?

Kate Edwards, Chief Executive at Seven Stories, National Centre for Children’s Books and Chair of the Family Explorers North East Network said, “We wanted more families to enjoy what we do and to talk about it with other families.  We also wanted to hear what they liked, and what they didn’t, so we can do the best we can to give children and grown ups a great day out.”

Research found that people felt overwhelmed by the choices around places to visit and the information they trusted most was from other families recommending where to go. Family Explorers was designed to solve this by simplifying information and gathering honest family reviews that would be trusted and sharing them.

Following a pilot project with a handful of families, it was rolled out to over 200 families in 2013. The year-long research project was analysed independently by Morris Hargreaves McIntrye and Flo Culture, who found there that the project ‘…succeeded in promoting ‘cultural confidence’ amongst the families’.

The Family Explorers North East Network consists of the participating cultural organisations, Juice Festival (the children and young people’s festival in Tyne and Wear) and NewcastleGateshead Initiative, the Northern Cultural Ambassadors Network, Bridge North East, Local Authorities and Arts Council England.  This is also a Local Arts Network as part of the Family Arts Campaign and seeks to promote family friendly activities and accessibility to activities and events for all types of families.

Further information

For more information about Family Explorers North East, click here

To find out more about the research, which underpins this public initiative, click here

To find out how this project links with other audience development research, click here

Participating cultural organisations and venues:

  • Arbeia Roman Fort and Museum, South Shields             
  • ARC Stockton
  • BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art, Gateshead
  • Beamish Museum (County Durham)
  • Belsay Hall, Castle and Gardens
  • Berwick Museum and Art Gallery
  • Chesters Roman Fort & Museum, Northumberland
  • Corbridge Roman Town          
  • Dance City, Newcastle
  • Discovery Museum, Newcastle        
  • English Heritage
  • Great North Museum, Newcastle
  • Hatton Gallery, Newcastle                   
  • Hexham Old Gaol, Hexham
  • Housesteads Roman Fort, Northumberland
  • Juice Festival, NewcastleGateshead
  • Laing Art Gallery, Newcastle                
  • Life Science Centre, Newcastle
  • Lindisfarne Priory
  • Live Theatre, Newcastle
  • Morpeth Chantry Bagpipe Museum
  • National Glass Centre
  • Newcastle Theatre Royal                   
  • Northern Stage, Newcastle
  • Old Low Light, North Shields
  • Preston Park Museum & Grounds, Stockton      
  • Prudhoe Castle
  • Sage Gateshead
  • Segedunum Roman Fort, Wallsend
  • Seven Stories, Newcastle
  • Shipley Art Gallery, Gateshead
  • South Shields Museum and Art Gallery
  • Stephenson Railway Museum, North Shields     
  • Tyne & Wear Archives, Newcastle
  • Tynemouth Priory
  • Tyneside Cinema, Newcastle
  • Warkworth Castle                            
  • Woodhorn Museum and Northumberland Archives, Ashington
  • Woodhorn Trust, Northumberland