Feb. 13.

Audience building and the future Creative Europe Programme

Af Anne Bamford and Michael Wimmer, European Expert Network on Culture – Short Report, januar 2012. 30 sider plus 48 siders appendix med case studies.

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Executive Summary

In the context of the preparations for the future Creative Europe Programme, which is due to replace the European Commission’s current Culture Programme (2007-2013) in the next EU financial period (2014-20), the European Expert Network on Culture (EENC) was asked to prepare a report exploring the role of audience building.

This document aims to present relevant trends and examples in different cultural sectors, provide recommendations to European institutions on how to foster audience building on a European level, and identify gaps in existing information. The study has involved the analysis of 28 case studies from 12 different member states, representing a diverse sample of approaches, organisations, degree of formalisation, geographic locations and target publics, among others. The study uses the broader, holistic concept of ‘audience development’, as proposed by Arts Council England and others, which goes beyond the concept of just ‘audience building’.

There is some evidence that at least in some parts of the continent the number of visitors of traditional cultural institutions is considerably decreasing. It is thus an axiomatic assumption that there is strong need to build the audience development capacity for arts organisations. There is a case for arts organisations in Europe to develop a more holistic audience development strategy to lower the entry threshold to arts and cultural activities.

Among the factors that influence quality audience building and the strategies being used in this field, the following can be mentioned:

• Education: Throughout Europe a number of programmes exist to expose young audiences to professional culture, thus building audiences and revenue. They are often carried out by organisations individually, with limited exchange of practices or institutional support.

• Outreach and accessibility: Most of the organisations included in this study had programmes of activities to encourage audience development amongst under-represented audience groups.

• Partnerships: Evidence has been found of some arts organisations that operate in partnership with other sectors (industry, education, etc.) so as to promote audience development and increase the relevance and sustainability of arts organisations. There seems to be a need for these strategies to be explored further.

• User engagements: There is a global trend of co-creation and user-led/user-generated content facilitated by the digital technologies, engaging audiences in creation and production process. User-engagement, also including volunteering and consultation, has been effectively used in a number of the case studies.

Audience segmentation: Most of the organisations are proactively trying to increase the organisation’s reach across specific audience segments, including children, young people, men, people with disabilities and minorities.

• Pricing: Since prices may constitute a barrier to arts consumption for some segments, making the arts and culture more accessible can sometimes involve the design of incentives and more innovative sales strategies.

• Geography: Even within larger towns and cities, transportation costs or difficulties can impact upon cultural participation. To nurture the awareness and interests of the non-audience, it is imperative to make arts part of the community life – to bring arts to the people and not vice versa.

Within the arts organisations involved in audience building in Europe, the following types of intervention can be identified:

• Communication and the media: Most of the organisations included make extensive use of a range of virtual (social media, mobile communication technologies, Internet sites, etc.) and traditional media to communicate to new audiences. Several organisations operate “Ambassador” schemes where audiences themselves operate other audience development strategies.

• Research and data: There is a shortage of reliable and comprehensive audience data for meaningful analysis on audience preferences and their information consumption channels. There is a need to not only conduct more research but also to use these research findings to implement more innovative programmes of audience development and to make research data comparable cross-nationally. Some relevant examples have been found and are presented in the study.

• Capacity building: The level of marketing investment of most arts organisations in Europe is relatively low. There is also room to consolidate the dispersed marketing efforts of various arts groups using a more integrated approach for a greater impact. More capacity building for artists and arts organizations is required in the areas of audience research, marketing, customer relationship management and technology application.

• Resources and funding: Arts organisations are not encouraged or well supported to invest in research, marketing and customer relationship management. During the process of conducting this review, it was very difficult to obtain figures in terms of staff or funding dedicated to audience development. More research in this field is needed.

• Structures and responsibilities: The importance given to audience development by the leadership and policies is fundamental in determining the degree to which active audience development strategies will be pursued. Very often, activities in this field remain marginal within the organisation. Evidence also suggests that changes in programming may also be critical.

On the basis of the analysis, the final section presents a set of recommendations for the integration of an audience-building component in the future Creative Europe Programme. Among them is the need to establish a clearer vision, priorities and policy for audience development within Europe, better quality assurance and monitoring of audience development in the funding programme, the establishment or consolidation of structures to enable the collection of data and statistics in the arts and creative fields in Europe related to audience participation and the inclusion of audience development as one of the assessment criteria for arts and cultural funding.

The elaboration of a further, more detailed mapping study on audience building in Europe, including on the availability of capacity building for arts and cultural organisations to augment their research, marketing, customer relationship management and technology application skills, is also recommended. A baseline study and regular tracking of audience attitude and behaviour to track progress of audience development trends across Europe also arises as a necessary step.

Anne Bamford and Michael Wimmer
January 2012


Executive Summary 4
1. Background 7
1.1. Objectives 7
1.2. Context and definitions 7
1.3. Methodology of the study 8
2. The European dimension 9
3. What factors influence quality audience building? 11
3.1. Education 11
3.2. Outreach and accessibility 11
3.3. Partnerships 12
3.4. User engagements 14
3.5. Audience segmentation 17
3.6. Pricing 18
3.7. Geography 19
4. Types of intervention on European level 21
4.1. Communication and the media 21
4.2. Research and data 23
4.3. Capacity building 25
4.4. Resources and funding 27
4.5. Structures and responsibilities 28
5. Recommendations for the future Creative Europe Programme 29
5.1. Recommendations to the European Commission 29
5.2. Recommendations to national, regional and local authorities 30
5.3. Recommendations to national, regional and local authorities
and to cultural institutions 30
5.4. Future research 30
Appendix: Case studies 32

Appendix: Case studies
1. English National Opera (ENO) 33
2. Contemporary drama festival Hungary 34
3. Re:visions Festival, Poland 36
4. Ludwig Museum, Hungary 37
5. Hungarian National Philharmonic Orchestra, Choir and Library (HNPOCL) 40
6. Latvian National Opera 43
7. Thalia Theatre, Slovakia 45
8. RegioTheater & RegioDanse, Belgium / Germany / The Netherlands 47
9. Museo Thyssen Bornemisza, Spain 49
10. ‘Apropa Cultura’, Spain 52
11. Glyndebourne, UK 54
12. London Symphony Orchestra (LSO), UK 55
13. Norfolk & Norwich Festival, UK 56
14. Sadler’s Wells, UK 57
15. Southbank Centre, UK 58
16. Victoria and Albert (V&A), UK 59
17. Audiences UK 60
18. Astrup Fearnley Museum of Modern Art, Norway 63
19. The National Theatre, Norway 64
20. SchulkinoWochen, Germany 65
21. Mobiles Beratungsteam, Germany 67
22. Luxemburg Philharmonie 68
23. Literature Festival – Rund um die Burg, Austria 69
24. Into the city, Austria 71
25. ImPulsTanz, Austria 72
26. Free admission in Federal Museums, Austria 74
27. Centre Pompidou mobile, France 76
28. Arcana, Austria 78

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