2016 Telegraph Hill Festival Wash-Up

Feedback on the 2016 Telegraph Hill Festival, audience analysis and ideas for 2017.

2016 Telegraph Hill Festival Wash-Up

Telegraph Hill Festival 2016 was a success by most measures; audiences were up on 2015, there was a greater diversity of events and participants, and we had an opportunity to test the water with new ideas, formats and approaches.

The real world ‘learning log’ of the 2016 Telegraph Hill Festival highlighted issues and suggested positive ways to engage with and address them – and many of these were confirmed by the anonymous survey sent to everyone who came to the Festival or was involved in helping to make it happen.   You can see the full survey results here.

  • We received a lot of feedback in the run-up to the Festival – some through casual chats, some from a more formal survey
  • The Festival wash-up meeting at the Big Lunch was a chance to share some of what we learned from this but especially, to gauge what appetite there was for suggestions people had put forward. It was a way of opening things up – going out to where people are.   Of the few people who commented, all gave positive feedback.

We are one of your New Young Families and the Festival is one of the reasons we decided to put down roots here. It’s incredibly special. Thank you!


  • I don’t understand / don’t like why we did new things …

From all the feedback so far (both anecdotal and more formally through the recent anonymous survey) that sentiment is in the minority.   Less than 2% of survey respondents (that is 2 people out of 149), echoed that sentiment.   The overall sentiment was of a very professionally produced Festival.

A third of events in 2016 were brand new and some well-established events had a reboot as they experimented with new formats and approaches, all well attended and appreciated – Here’s the programme for the 2016 Festival


  • Why wasn’t everything in the usual two weeks?

Easter was very early in 2016 and the only time the much-loved Community Production could happen was in the middle of the Festival.  This knocked out our ability to use St Catherine’s Church or Telegraph Hill Centre as we usually do – the Community Production, quite rightly, was a priority.

allium Every problem is also an opportunity – we timed events to take place at different ‘pulse points’ through the year.   This idea of using these different ‘pulse points’ came up at last year’s Festival wash-up – and it was a good one.   For example, the Open Gardens took place on the same day as the Plant Fair in May; the Cake Competition, Craft Fair, Local History Walks and Exhibition and Young People’s Art Competition were in late April.

Other projects – like Giving Voice and Sharing Storiesexplore new formats and approaches, engage with new audiences and are led by participants, providing a new model for engagement with the Festival.

Local groups like Somerville Adventure Playground were actively engaged (esp. with Giving Voice and despite not being open at that time), while others like Besson Street Garden, The Montague Arms and The Rosemary were also part of Telegraph Hill Festival, and we hope will be again.


  • Why was there talk of diversity and inclusion …

The majority of people recognise that equality and inclusion doesn’t mean losing what you currently have, and rather acknowledged that it makes for a more interesting mix.

There is still work to be done to address points like these which echoed appriximately 45% of feedback from survey respondents:

  • Some good events. Poor publicity north of the A2 (New Cross Road) remains an issue

  • … people in Telegraph Hill can feel a little cliquey, even though they are usually very nice people. I don’t want to live in a village, which is why I love London. I still love Telegraph Hill too

  • It would be great if we could involve the whole diverse population and I think many of the initiatives mentioned are starting to address this

  • Agree that it is important to find ways to engage newer residents in the festival, not just as audience members, but as active participants and volunteers helping shape the festival

  • More multi-cultural events + science/tech stuff

More than 65% of respondents to the survey reported engaging less often or not at all with other community events.  

This is real proof that the Festival reaches many more people than any other community events seem able to.   Perhaps that success is rooted in the spirit of ‘reaching out’?

I saw lots of people I didn’t recognise at this year’s Festival. I’m not sure whether that’s because these are new people who have moved to the area or whether you managed to reach further this year. Either way, it was nice to see the community gathering around the Festival.

LaLaTelegraph Hill and the area around it is hugely diverse.   Telegraph Hill Ward has around 13000 households.   Each household differs from the next.   We deliver programmes to 6000 local households and distribute a further 2000 through cafes, bars, community centres and local clubs, charities and social enterprises.

  • Telegraph Hill Festival successfully reached around 3200 people in 2016 as verified by box office data and attendance records at free events.
  • Just over 1000 people saw the Community Production alone, and more than 220 people came to Classics Night … it adds up.
  • We used social media like Facebook and Twitter a lot more to ensure that we reached more people who perhaps don’t usually connect with the Festival or local activities.

For more about demographics in the area from household tenure, income, ethnicity, employment status and other indices of social measurement – see this.


  • What’s audience development and why are you doing it?

It’s common sense, and a little bit of science.  

  • People who come to events are our audience
  • There is every reason to get to know them better, to engage with them, assess their cultural likes and dislikes and to find out how those might help shape the future of the Festival …

This kind of audience analysis is mandated by the Arts Council for all its funded projects.   Though we receive no funding – and have no desire to dilute the independence our self-funding model gives us – it makes good sense to analyse audience stats to benchmark where we are and where we could go, and why.

Audience Analysis works by taking bookers and participants’ postcode data and mapping it against the Audience Finder database.   This generates some broad / general profiles, giving an at-a-glance view of who the audience for Telegraph Hill Festival are, their cultural likes and dislikes, and the factors which motivate them to angage with cultural practice (i.e. Telegraph Hill Festival).   

Aside from a postcode, no personally identifiable information is processed, and that data is not available to third parties.  

Of course the output is general and not nuanced – but it’s a great way of learning more about audiences.   You can find out more about Audience Development and the Arts Council here.

2017 Audience Analysis   2016
Metroculturals 26% 25%
Commuterland Culturebuffs < 1% 2%
Experience Seekers 34% 33%
Dormitory Dependables <1% >2%
Kaleidoscopic Creativity 38% 36%

We’ve seen a decline in older, settled demographics.

  • Offsetting that, we’re seeing an increase in culturally literate / attuned Metroculturals.   These are early to late middle-aged people in senior roles with money to spend on cultural activities and who like to explore culture is many forms.  They’re not participants or creators.   They like to think of themselves as experimental, albeit with a bias towards more ‘institutional’/’conventionally arty’ culture (Barbican/Southbank versus The Albany/Bussey Building/Hackney Showroom).   They are usually property owners, more likely to own a house than a flat and unlikely to have children/be empty nesters;
  • We’ve seen an increase in Experience Seekers.   This is a hugely diverse population typically, but not exclusively, aged 30 to 44 with a low to middle income.   These folks prioritise ‘experiences’ whether cultural or ‘spectacular events’ like club nights/parties with a theatrical element and may work in low to middle management in media, the arts or are ex-art students now on their second ‘big job’ in the professions.   They may rent long-term or have a mortgage on a flat, have a young family or be in a steady relationship;
  • We’re also seeing a marked increase in Kaleidoscope Creativity (these are typically younger people – perhaps Goldsmiths/Camberwell students?) – this category is all about creating cultural work or exploring creativity openly.   Again this segment is hugely diverse in terms of ethincity, gender and age but is typically younger, and childless.   Many of this demographic are cultural producers or professional creators, and while they may not have a lot of money, they are influential because of the work they do and the the fact that they ‘take part’.   They typically live in rented accomodation, shared houses or social housing.


  • When will the 2017 Telegraph Hill Festival take place?

Telegraph Hill Festival 2017 will start on Saturday 25 March and run to Sunday 9 April 2017, the two weeks before Easter 2017.


  • Will all tickets be sold online in one go in 2017?

To ensure that people reluctant / unable to buy tickets online we’ve always had a box office night, details of which are published in the programme

For 2017 we are still investigating the demand for tickets sold via a traditional box-office.   Most events managers are happy to move all their tickets online for 2017.   In terms of ease of management, online booking is preferable.  It is the case that most people do now book tickets online and anecdotal evidence suggests this is preferred.

Some people want the option for some tickets to be available via a traditional box office in the week before the Festival.   That’s reasonable too.   Perhaps the best solution is to have a traditional box office where you can pay cash, but the ticket is still bought for you online?   That is what happens at theatres, venues and festivals everywhere across the country.   We are still looking at this.


  • I have an idea for an event for 2017 – what do I do?

bigstock-Bright-Idea-5453884We’re very open to your ideas.    As an organising committee, we can offer you guidance or point you in the direction of resources, but we can’t make your idea happen.   That’s one for you.   But do talk to us – you can start by emailing us.

‘Like’ the Telegraph Hill Festival page – www.facebook.com/telegraphhillfestival



  • I’d love to help, what can I do?

We thought you’d never ask!   Quite a bit.   Take a look at the roles described below.   Do you fit some or all of the criteria for each role?   Can we find a way to involve your strengths and creativity as part of the mix?   Yes, we can.   But we need you to come forward.  Perhaps you could work as part of small team, parceling out tasks so that many people can make one role/function work in smaller chunks that work for them?

We need help with the following areas:

  • Being the Box Office Director – this is all about getting event tickets online and set to go for the big push.   It takes a little bit of time but is worth doing.   There seems to be a concensus to have all tickets available online, but this role also involves managing front of house cash sales to events.   It might be a role which would suit a small team of people (say 3 or 4 folks who can split the role between them?)
  • Could you be our Director of Programming? This role involves a lot of liaison via email to pull together the various strands of the programme into a coherent spreadsheet which forms the basis of the final programme.   It’s a key role and you’ll work closely with the Chair and the rest of the organising team to devise the final programme for the 2017 Telegraph Hill Festival.
  • Love websites, social media and meeting people? Then we need you to work closely with the Festival’s Chair on marketing the Festival and ensuring that we reach all the people and parts of the area that we can.   This will also involve working with the Chair and the rest of the Committee to devise real world outreach events and initiatives so is an all-round marketing sweet spot with lots of opportunities to come up with ideas and make them happen.
  • We also need help with the design of posters, signgage and other assets – so if you’re a design whizz with some time to spare and happy to either take a detailed brief or suggest ideas and then develop them we’d love to hear from you.

PLEASE NOTE – All roles are unpaid. Members of the Committee and all participants in the Festival are unpaid. We do what we do because we love where we live and, like you, we’re all doing our bit to make it better as best we can.


  • What suggestions have you already received for the 2017 Telegraph Hill Festival?

    • … Darts / Pool at Skehans

    • Devising/Craft workshops for young people

    • Streetdance sessions for young people, perhaps with a ‘flashmob’

    • Food based events / particpatory workshops around food

    • Bark in the Park (this didn’t happen in 2016 due to a lack of volunteers)

    • Soap Box car race / Orienteering run / A cycle ride taking sights and stories from the surrounding area

    • More early evening events (involving young people and families)

    • Site specific work using unusual or unexpected spaces

    • Poetry, plays and sharings of new work or work in development

    • Discussion groups / thinking projects / idea sessions

    • Mixed Bill events with music, arts, theatre, literature, modern comedy, science, sport but in a fun way and involving a mix of people to reflect better the diversity of the area