19 April 2018, Pete Cornes
Or, why we’re getting rid of acroynms as a small part of helping Arts Council England communicate better.
Accreditation for museums is a big part of what the Arts Council does. It’s how they help museums ready themselves for the common challenges the sector faces. By going through the accreditation process, museums know they’ve done what they need to face the future.
The challenge for Arts Council England though, was that years of edits, additions and tweaks had turned their Accreditation standard and guidance into a morass of bureaucratic jargon. Every day, their Accreditation Team faced the same issues over-and-over – museums either didn’t understand or didn’t follow the Accreditation process. And a huge part of that was because of how the documentation had evolved over time.
They knew they needed to rewrite the standard and guidance, and they wanted some help to make sure the tone of voice worked for them. The Arts Council wanted help with three specific parts of the project:
- Tone. Helping their team find the right balance of clarity and warmth to stop their documents feeling so bureaucratic.
- Benefits. Finding ways to talk about accreditation that emphasise the benefits, rather than the process.
- Clarity. Supporting their team to write clearly and without ambiguity.
It was an ideal project for us: one that would combine our understanding and familiarity with the arts with our experience of using tone of voice to clarify both thinking and articulation.
Right now we’ve got things started and we’re exploring how the new tone will work across the Accreditation Teams’ writing in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. The team are excited to change how they communicate, and we’re starting to see changes make their way into the standard rewrite.