Communication is the key…..

Are you an enthusiastic, articulate, skilled communications professional?  Then we want to hear from you!  We are looking for a freelance Communications Manager to work with us on our programme to make sure we are getting our messages across in the clearest and most effective way.

Closing date: 10.00 am 18 November.
Interviews will be held on 25 November in Faversham.

We are committed to equal opportunities for all and welcome applications from anyone interested in working with us.

Any questions?  Email to

We look forward to hearing from you!



Ideas Test:  Communications Manager brief

1.        Introduction

Ideas Test is one of the 18 Arts Council England funded Creative People and Places projects.  It is an action research programme which supports new and radically different approaches to engagement with the arts. In August 2012 a consortium of individuals from grass roots organisations in Swale and Medway (the Discovery Group) was provisionally awarded funding of £1.47m from Arts Council England for an application to this programme. This fund aims to support people to experience and be inspired by the arts, irrespective of where they live and their social, educational or financial circumstances. This is a targeted fund, aimed at parts of the country where people’s involvement in the arts is significantly below the national average.

The long term vision for Creative People and Places: Swale and Medway is to find new routes into creativity and the arts, embedded with and led by local people, building capacity in the arts community and creating demand for excellent arts activity. We will work with professional and amateur groups and individuals inside and outside the arts.

“Engaging and re-imagining the arts as valued and integral parts of people’s everyday.”

Our vision is that within ten years Swale and Medway will be known as creative places, where there is demand for excellent local arts activity.

The spirit of creative experimentation within Swale and Medway will have resulted in more people from across the area seeing and experiencing arts and culture, as well as taking part and growing new creative activities. This will be underpinned by a strong, inclusive arts network and supportive local decision-makers. Our programme will have inspired others across the UK.

Creative People and Places: Swale and Medway is a laboratory. It is a place to try new things: to experiment with new ways of getting people involved; to make things happen. Creative People and Places: Swale and Medway is an incubator. It is a space where people are supported, helping them to turn extraordinary ideas into reality.

A key principle of this vision is to create a ‘ladder of engagement’ whereby people in Swale and Medway will be supported to ‘follow up’ one good experience with another, ensuring that opportunities always lead to the ‘next rung’ on the ladder.

You can find out more about our activity on our website

The Ideas Test Communications Strategy is attached below for reference.

The programme runs until June 2016 and we are looking to work with a Communications Manager throughout that time. Initially this contract will be for one year with a possibility of renewal.

2.        Key objectives/tasks:

  • From existing Communications Strategy, develop a clear and achievable Communications Delivery Plan, including milestones on which PR activity can be focused
  • Preparing Communications materials including: writing press releases, web content, quotes, social media content, e-newsletter, marketing print materials
  • Managing the Ideas Test social media streams, monitoring and responding to comments as required
  • Brand guardian for the Ideas Test programme – including logos and appropriate funding acknowledgement is properly adhered to, including those of our funders and partners
  • Managing all Communications for the programme – including responding to reactive issues and maximising potential around proactive PR issues
  • Working collaboratively with the Ideas Test project team on marketing and PR opportunities
  • Working with funders and other partners on potential Marketing, PR and Communications opportunities
  • Providing support and advice for grant awardees to help maximise social media, marketing and PR potential, including creating and managing an online toolkit
  • Providing support to spokespeople to ensure they are equipped with messaging and narrative that will positively and accurately promote the Ideas Test programme
  • Developing and managing strong press and media relationships – including online, local, national and relevant sector press and media
  • Proactively developing press and media angles around Ideas Test funded projects and selling in news and feature ideas to the most appropriate press and media platform
  • Manage a marketing budget

3.        Person specification

  • Significant demonstrable experience of working successfully to develop productive relationships with the media and in securing positive coverage
  • Experience of developing written content for a variety of platforms – including press releases, web and social media
  • A strong news and media sense, including a keen eye for a story and the ability to see a umber of different angles for different audiences and platforms in one project
  • Articulate and confident communicator – both written and in person – with the ability and tailor your style to a range of different audiences – from local newsletters and media to national broadcast and arts sector press.
  • Willingness to learn website content management software
  • A good contacts book in local and ideally national media
  • Willingness to embrace new ways of working and for people to engage with the Ideas Test programme
  • Personable and well presented team player
  • Can think creatively about delivering Communications strategic aims
  • Ability to work effectively with a range of people from a variety of backgrounds
  • Positive and results driven
  • Experience of working across the spectrum of Communications roles – from social, to online, to broadcast media
  • Advantage – familiarity with the arts
  • Strong time management skills

Location: The Ideas Test office is at Creek Creative, Faversham.  You will need to be able to travel to meetings around the area and beyond as required.

Management: you will report to the Creative Enabler and will be accountable through her to the Consortium.

Contract period: Initially December 2013 to December 2014, with the possibility of annual renewal until January 2016.

Fees:  Fee in the region of £175 per day for approximately 55-60 days for the first year.

Holidays: This is a freelance role so there is no paid holiday entitlement.

Working Hours: due to the nature of this programme some flexibility is required. This may include evening and weekend working.


4.        How to apply

If you wish to apply for the role of Communications Manager please send:

  1. A copy of your Curriculum Vitae or Agency profile.
  2. A covering letter outlining your interest in the role and your relevant experience. Please pay particular attention to the person specification above (max two sides of A4).
  3. An example of written material you have produced (press release, case study, published article or similar).
  4. Details of two referees for whom you have undertaken equivalent work. We will only approach referees with your permission if you are offered the work.

Please collate the above into a single PDF document titled with your name and the role and email to by 10am on Monday 18th November 2013.


Communications Strategy Overview

Ideas_Test mission

The Ideas_Test project team has articulated its mission as:

Engaging and re-imagining the arts as valued and integral parts of people’s everyday.

This mission is then rearticulated as ‘value propositions’ to describe the benefits of the programme in ways that will resonate to five separate audiences or to meet five separate objectives:

  1. To help the programme consortium describe what Ideas_Test is about
  2. To call out for people and communities to get involved
  3. To encourage strategic partners to get involved
  4. To encourage commercial partners and sponsors to lend support
  5. To demonstrate the research aims of the programme

The author suggests that in order for this strategy to be coherent and as simple and effective as possible, that an overarching mission should be articulated that speaks to all of these audiences. Key messages can then fulfil the role of speaking clearly to each audience and describing individual programme objectives.

This means the mission can be used as an elevator pitch suitable for any audience or situation and that key messages can be used to reach different audiences.

Therefore the author is suggesting the following reprised overarching mission statement:

 Ideas_Test is a propagator for creativity, supporting the conditions for the seeds of invention and imagination to grow in Swale & Medway. By working with local communities and making links between organisations and people, we are investing in their ability to inspire a greater appetite for the arts. We’re getting things done together to create a sustainable future.

Programme aims and objectives

The Ideas_Test’s business plan identifies a number of aims and objectives in its business plan, which can be summarised as follows:

  • Testing pioneering approaches to creating and distributing art, sharing that learning locally and nationally
  • Driving up appetite for and achieving marked increase of engagement with arts, voluntary and community activity
  • Marked positive shift in attitudes to Swale & Medway locally
  • Encourage communities to lead change and feel greater ownership in decision-making about issues that affect them and their communities
  • Attracting additional and/or match funding to ensure sustainability
  • Local artists, arts organisations and pro and amateur sectors are provided with learning and support and produce high quality activity
  • Increase in appetite for and engagement with community, voluntary and arts activity
  • Create arguments and evidence for the value of the arts to support advocacy

To provide a framework for the Comms Strategy, the following key themes can be drawn from these programme objectives:

  • Increasing awareness of and engagement in arts and culture locally
  • Promoting Swale & Medway as a creative community
  • Showcasing and advocating, locally, nationally and internationally
  • Disseminating learning and highlighting impact nationally and across sectors

Proposed Communications Strategy

To support Ideas_Test’s aims by using programme advocates and activity funded by the programme to raise awareness of Swale & Medway’s arts and creativity locally; to showcase and advocate for the positive impact creativity offers for communities to potential public and private sector supporters locally and nationally; and to disseminate the learning of research findings nationally and internationally.

Tactics & toolkit

Proposed key messages

  1. Ideas_Test is a propagator for creativity, supporting the conditions for the seeds of invention and imagination to grow in Swale & Medway. By working with local communities and making links between organisations and people, we are investing in their innovation to inspire a greater appetite for the arts. We’re getting things done together to create a sustainable future.
  2. Ideas_Test is funded with £1.47 million by Arts Council England as part of its national Creative People and Places programme, which focuses investment in parts of the country where people’s involvement in the arts is significantly below the national average with the aim of increasing the likelihood of participation.
  3. Ideas_Test is driven by a demand-led small-scale approach to arts and cultural provision, placing arts, voluntary and community organisations alongside ‘everyday people’ to design how they want to express and consume creativity. It is a unique approach in that it builds on existing interests and likes and supports small scale activity to demonstrate how a grass-roots led programme can be scaled up to deliver a new kind of arts infrastructure.
  4. Ideas_Test is testing pioneering approaches to creating and distributing art. We want to support the amateur and professional arts and cultural sector to take a journey of discovery that will develop their skills and create audiences for their work.
  5. Ideas_Test is different from other projects that claim to support grassroots arts and cultural innovation because we are nurturing, supporting and listening. The activity is led by the community itself.
  6. Ideas_Test believes that by supporting, celebrating and developing innovation and experimentation in Swale & Medway, we are investing in social value and creating a lasting legacy of community pride and aspiration.
  7. In 10 years time Ideas_Test wants Swale & Medway to be known for the quality and richness of its creative community, we want it to be a place where people feel a marked improvement in their attitude to where they live.
  8. Arts, culture and creativity have so much to offer communities, in terms of encouraging community pride and participation in decision making; encouraging businesses to invest in an area and making places more attractive places to live, work and visit.
  9. Ideas_Test wants to help you design the kind of arts activity you have always wanted to see in your local area. Interested? Get stuck in by signing up to our newsletter at:
  10. Ideas_Test wants you! The power to grow your own culture lies in your hands, we just want to give you the tools.
  11. Ideas_Test is managed by a team of people who live, work and feel passionately about the creativity already at play in Swale & Medway. We know there’s a huge amount of fantastic home-grown activity happening here and want to invest in it to help you get it to a wider audience.