National Poetry Day 2001/2
|Organisation||Arts Council England, National Office|
|Programme strand||New National Partnerships|
|New Audiences grant||£61,000|
The National Poetry Day (NPD) Research and Development Project 2002 acted upon and extended the recommendations of the NPD Research Project 2001, and fell into five categories: the development of new national partnerships to make NPD more sustainable; communication and marketing work, including the development of an online NPD Promoters’ Toolkit; the development of new technology at the Poetry Society via an interactive CD-Rom for schools; interviews with key stakeholders; and an audit of NPD activity, comparing it to 2001 and assessing the impact of interventions made.
New Audiences has funded NPD since 1998, but in 2001/2 a new approach was adopted. In 2001 New Audiences commissioned Tam Smith to undertake the first NPD Research Project, which provided a snapshot of the activities – both live and broadcast – surrounding NPD. In 2002 New Audiences commissioned Sue Stewart, Write2B Ltd, to undertake the second NPD Research and Development Project, which carried out the earlier Report’s recommendations.
aims of the project
The 2001 Research Project aimed to help create a baseline against which future activity could be measured, to understand the key elements that led to the success of the day, to identify key stakeholders’ objectives and whether these were met, and to provide evidence to inform the planning of a larger impact study. The 2002 Research and Development Project aimed to continue and extend this research, making comparisons with 2001 and assessing the impact of interventions made. Interventions included the building of national partnerships, the use of new technology for marketing and educational purposes, and further in-depth interviews with key stakeholders.
about the project
There were several key areas in 2002:
- Analysis of the day – audit of national activity by literature promoters, in order to compare with 2001 and assess the impact of interventions made. This was facilitated by a new procedure for promoter feedback, in partnership with Colman Getty PR
- Development of national partnerships with 12 literature and reader development organisations and agencies, both short-term and potentially long-term
- Development of an online NPD Promoters’ Toolkit, downloadable from the PoSoc site. Over 220 promoters across the country accessed this Toolkit, which is now being made available as a permanent resource
- Development of a CD-Rom for Schools, co-ordinated by the Poetry Society. Over 1,500 copies were sent out to schools, Festivals and stakeholders
- Marketing activity – this was facilitated through the use of a NPD poster customisable for individual events, which was requested by almost 400 schools, and a marketing push to promote this and other NPD resources and services offered by the PoSoc.
about the audience
- There were 17,300 hits to the NPD image on the PoSoc website in 2001, and 40,600 in 2002
- There were 477 media articles/programmes, spanning national/regional TV and radio, national and regional press, trade press, news agencies, and online. The AVE (Advertising Equivalent Report) for this was £0.5M worth of coverage. Comparisons with 2001 cannot be made because this AVE service was not previously available
- There were 318 events recorded by Colman Getty, and 22 events recorded from limited promoter feedback. (It is important to remember the majority of events go unrecorded, as there is no currently available system for tracking the many community events organised without PoSoc’s or Colman Getty’s knowledge). Recorded libraries events alone increased by 100% from 2001, and recorded schools events increased 68% from 2001
- 1,503 copies of the interactive CD-Rom for Schools were sent out to schools, Festivals and stakeholders
- 221 promoters access the online NPD Promoters’ Toolkit, of which 73 were schools that had heard about the Toolkit and logged on as promoters in order to access it
- 396 promoters/schools requested the NPD poster.
outcomes and lessons learned
The conclusions of the 2002 Research and Development Project were that NPD is a valuable key date in the literary calendar, but that it needs to leave its Poetry Lite image behind and engage more seriously with the profession. It needs to adopt a more co-ordinated approach to national partnership working, and a different style of media campaign. Recommendations include establishing a framework to link NPD to other key dates in the literary calendar; advocacy work with Arts Council Regional Literature Officers and their literature clients; partnership work with publishers, booksellers, library agencies, reader development agencies and the education sector; a more poetry-focused (rather than story-focused) media campaign; restructuring the NPD Steering Group; redefining the relationship with the BBC; exploring the issues around the current funding status for NPD; and exploring the potential for involving other organisations and agencies in the delivery of NPD.