4th Strategic Project Development Workshop on Audience Development
The fourth PA Culture Strategic Project Development was organised right after the 7th EUSBSR Annual Forum in close cooperation with the production and resource unit Intercult from Stockholm and took place at the Goethe-Institute. In total, around 40 participants, consisting of representatives of five PA Culture Flagships and several Swedish projects’ representatives, the PA Culture coordinators and the ARS BALTICA organising team, gathered in order to focus on the topic of Audience Development on the first day. After the 3rd Strategic Project Development Workshop in Warsaw in June that focussed on Public Space Design, the trend of focussing on a specific topic was continued. However, as the PA Culture Flagships have specific needs, especially concerning their funding situation, the second day of the workshop provided room to discuss with funding experts, among each other and with the PA Culture coordinators.
Both international and Swedish attendents were following the input during the 4th PA Culture Strategic Project Development Workshop closely.
After a number of opening remarks, Chris Torch, Senior Associate and Program Director of Intercult introduced the topic of Audience Development and emphasised the relevance of this concept for cultural players. Torch argued, that the cultural sector in Europe is seriously threatened especially by budget cuts and the fact that it has come to a place, where the cultural sector itself needs to provide hard-facts about its value and usefulness. As a consequence, he argued, the necessity of culture must be re-learned, the focus on the audience being the key for it: “The key to a progressive and effective re-construction of public cultural policy is that which is called “audience” - the imagined participant and presumed commissioner, the ticket buyer and taxpayer.” For him the term of audience development means “a strategic, dynamic and interactive process of making the arts widely accessible. It aims at engaging individuals and communities in experiencing, enjoying, participating in and valuing the arts.” This understanding was later on deepened with a workshop led by Impact Foundation’s Agata Etmanowicz, who challenged the participants with a number of critical questions about their projects and audiences. Even though not all present projects dealt with performance art such as theatre or dance, the introduction and workshop emphasised the fact, that everyone in the Creative and Cultural Sectors must be aware of their kind of audiences and their respective needs, be it a workshop participant or attendant of a theatre performance.
On the second day of the workshop only the PA Culture flagship representatives had the chance to follow presentations about Horizon 2020 by Johan Lindberg from Vinnova, and about the Interreg BSR programme by Daniel Sköld from the Swedish Agency for Growth. During the dinner reception on the evening before flagship representatives had expressed their need for concrete, problem-oriented time with funding experts and thus had good use of the time provided on the second workshop day. Challenges for cultural players to receive funding from e.g. Interreg remain big, as it’s not designed for funding projects in the cultural and creative sectors. Accordingly, problems arise in the application process and the funding programme’s terminology. Several questions and issues could be solved, however, for future workshops the participants expressed the need for very focussed assistance on their project developments especially regarding the application for funding period and peer-to-peer learning with projects that already received funding.