Critic's Club Storytelling
What does the venture do?
I am the sole founder of the Critics’ Club - a cultural programme empowering young people from lower socioeconomic backgrounds, to engage with theatre and art as critics. Taking place in secondary schools with pupils aged between 13 and 18, the 8-week programme develops within young people a sense of belonging to cultural spaces, they previously felt excluded from.
Each week, the group attends an art exhibition or play as critics. Whilst there, they complete the Critics’ Club guide, designed to help them engage critically with the cultural works and spaces they are interacting with. The following day, each young critic participates in a group workshop in which they discuss, develop and debate their thoughts, feelings and ideas, before writing a short personal review of their experience. These reviews are then published on the website.
Participants improve their critical thinking and writing skills, whilst developing their creativity and cultural knowledge. They are also exposed to workplaces, employers and employees in the arts, helping schools to satisfy Gatsby Benchmarks 5 and 6 of careers provision in schools.
The Critics’ Club exists to combat the cultural elitism and structural inequality of the arts world, diversify audiences showing young people that they do belong to cultural spaces, whilst empowering their voices to also critique them.
What do we need help with?
_I am happy with the business’ name but want to develop a better brand in terms of logo development, colours and fonts. The brand should appeal to both schools, in terms of looking professional, but it is also important that it is attractive to young people. The website is a key marketing and sales tool where the reviews will be published so it is highly important that the brand is eye-catching. I would like it to be bright and fresh but also clean and professional - the website will contain lots of written content in terms of the published reviews, so it is important that the brand/font isn’t too complicated. I like the use of yellow as a key colour, and also like other brands that use illustrated logos or abstract designs.
_Firstly, I would like to develop a mantra or tagline to be used alongside the brand, and feature on the website’s home page. The current wording on the website perhaps could alienate or objectify any young people participating in the programme - ‘Their fear of not fitting in….’ ‘they feel’. I want the website’s text to address and explain the problem of access to arts and cultural spaces without creating a ‘them’ and ‘us’ between the young people I work with and the schools or general public navigating the website. How can I explain the problem without negatively labelling the young people who participate in the programme?
It is important that schools understand the value the arts bring to a child’s education, yet I don’t want the website to feel too stat-heavy which could be off-putting for young people visiting the page. The programme should feel like a ‘need’ or ‘must-have’ for a school rather than a nice added extra. I have lots of material from young people who have participated in the programme and it would be nice to have their voices at the fore as much as possible. I want the business’s tone to appeal to both schools in addressing and outlining the impact and benefits of the programme, whilst also appealing to the young critics whose work will be published on the page.
3. Slide deck
I am going to begin contacting schools as part of a new sales cycle. I would like to incorporate the brand and any new copy into two new slide decks. The first is a shortened 8-slide deck to be sent round as part of an email campaign, detailing the problem, what the programme does and how it works. Then, a further more in-depth slide deck to be adapted and used during formal sales meetings. I have a current (incomplete) pitch deck to be used during sales meetings in schools.