YDance & Awaz FM - Commonwealth Youth Dance Festival
Impacts: Education, Health & wellbeing, International engagement, People with disabilities, Young people
YDance is the national dance organisation for young people aged three to 21 in Scotland. In 2014, YDance brought together 36 of the best youth dance companies from across the Commonwealth for three fantastic evenings of dance – the first ever Commonwealth Youth Dance Festival (CYDF). The media partner of the festival is Awaz FM, a community radio station serving the Asian and African community in Glasgow, delivering entertainment, community information, local, national and international news broadcasting in Urdu, Punjabi, Hindi, Swahili and English.
Credit: YDance & Paul Watt
During the planning stage of our Commonwealth Youth Dance Festival (CYDF), we were keen to secure a media partner and research brought us to Awaz FM based in Pollokshields. We felt this company would be an ideal partner for us on our Commonwealth project and met to discuss our project’s aims, and their potential involvement. We were delighted that Ali Malik (Director) was very keen to play a part in our festival and also to find out that they would be first time sponsors of the arts. We met three times to outline the partnership and each time, Ali increased the level to which they wished to support us. Both partners worked to produce a varied programme of content and interesting PR opportunities to benefit both sides.
Our festival brought 450 young dancers together from all across the Commonwealth. They travelled from New Zealand, Australia, India, Namibia, Canada and Malta to join our home grown talent from across the UK. The main festival activity took place across four days (9th – 12th July) and consisted of a packed schedule of workshops by day and performances each night. The aims of our festival ideally matched the ethos of Awaz FM. They regularly provide opportunities for individuals and community organisations to use the station as a platform to highlight their work and services. They provide opportunities for young people to train with them and to benefit from hands on experience of live and recorded radio.
In the months running up to our festival, Awaz generated programme and web content by profiling key groups relevant to their target audiences. They created advertising which changed and gathered momentum as the festival approached. They attended many YDance events in the lead up to the festival, including our launch event in Glasgow Central Station, ‘50 Days to Go’ at Pollokshields Primary and the welcome event at Glasgow Central Station on 9th July. The team at Awaz really immersed themselves in our events and as well as the agreed interviews, also took time to interview local councillors about our work, attended additional events and sent a team of young reporters to interview participants over the weekend of the festival itself.
Arts/cultural organisation story
Right from the first day we met to propose a partnership with Awaz they demonstrated a great deal of enthusiasm for the project and generated a significant amount of new ideas for us to include as plans progressed. Over the course of the project we got to know their team and developed a deeper understanding of their business and its aims. They took time to consider the best content to profile to benefit both parties and continually suggested additional ways in which they were willing to lend support. Being based close together in Glasgow allowed us to easily set up regular face to face meetings which enabled us to get to know the teams quickly and established a strong working relationship early on.
Awaz were keen to be involved in our ’50 Days to Go’ PR campaign and as well as taking part online, also attended a community event at Pollokshields Primary and interviewed teachers and local councillors about their involvement too. We were invited as guests of Awaz to attend the Scottish Asian Women’s Awards ceremony at Hampden where we met many of their close contacts and expanded our network of potential supporters. This event allowed us a unique opportunity to engage with new groups of business people and to highlight our ongoing work to them. Since the end of the festival, we have kept in contact and are working together on the forthcoming Asian Wedding and Lifestyle Exhibition at the Thistle Hotel, Glasgow in February 2015. The event will include dance in its ‘catwalk ‘portion for the first time.
The opportunity to become an official sponsor of the Commonwealth Youth Dance Festival was great for Awaz FM and gave us a strong link with the Culture 2014 programme and a sense of involvement with the Games celebrations. We were able to start our partnership quite quickly and had a presence at the launch event in Glasgow Central Station where we interviewed participants and got a good early insight to the festival too. Awaz FM is based close to Tramway in the heart of the Pollokshields area of Glasgow. Having an involvement with such a large participative event in the area was ideal for our business and youth dance is an area we had not highlighted before. We found it easy to access any information we needed through YDance staff and they provided excellent programme content for us in an area previously untapped.
We broadcast in six languages and were pleased to have the chance to promote our station through the CYDF participants. We were able to interview several groups before and during the festival and got excellent material from them which was broadcast on our weekend youth programme, the breakfast show and our Africa programme. We encourage youth involvement through our own work and provide training to young people who would otherwise have no access to recording and broadcast equipment. This tied in well with CYDF where we used young reporters and gave them the chance to build their skills over this three day event in the heart of the Pollokshields community.
Having the match funding through Arts & Business Scotland allowed us to make the partnership and support event greater. We were really pleased to see our branding displayed so prominently on marketing material around the city and in the venues. All marketing materials produced for the festival were of an extremely high standard and we were proud to be associated with this world class youth event. We enjoyed playing an integral part in the marketing of the festival and are very keen to work with YDance on future projects. We have already set up an opportunity for a group of young participants to take part in our Asian Wedding and Lifestyle Exhibition produced annually by Awaz FM.
We were pleased to attend the Arts & Business Scotland New Arts Sponsorship reception in Edinburgh too and to play a part in the film promoting the benefits of the grants scheme. We have really enjoyed the opportunity to take part and give additional exposure to our radio station through this partnership.
The presence of Awaz FM both before and during our festival added a very valuable component and generated excitement for our participants. We have built a lasting relationship with them and will have their support on many future projects. We in turn have been able to advise and assist them in introducing dance elements into their work where appropriate. CYDF is the largest project undertaken by YDance so far and it provided a real opportunity for us to attract sponsors. The festival was a high profile event for us and we were able to generate high quality marketing materials in print, merchandise and also online. The opportunity to attract sponsors by offering profile on this collateral was a first for us and a fabulous opportunity to expand our knowledge and experience in this area. Our participants loved the chance to be interviewed for radio and these interviews added greatly to their overall festival experience. This activity was an exciting addition to the already memorable travel and cultural exchange.
Receiving the New Arts Sponsorship Grant was an incredibly important piece of funding for our festival and went towards our significant production costs. We worked hard to achieve the fundraising target through trusts and foundations, Creative Scotland and corporate support. We attracted many sources of in-kind support too which enabled us to keep costs such as catering to a minimum. We are extremely grateful to Arts & Business Scotland (A&BS) for this support which also helped to raise the profile of our Commonwealth event and our ongoing work. Receiving this recognition from A&BS was extremely important to both parties. Awaz FM was delighted to help us achieve this grant for the festival and felt that the additional support added significant weight to our partnership. The additional profile was very important for Awaz FM and encouraged them to look at sponsoring the arts again in the future.