What is audience engagement really about? How does one build a better relationship with the audience?
Here, Line Alsaker. sums up the in-depth section New Ways of Engagement - the session included eight speakers, each with their different – yet related topics. Ulla Laurio and Isabel Lowyck talked about engaging young audiences, Christian Payne, Aura Linnapuomi and Nils Petter Nordskar focused on target groups and communication, while Steinar Sørli, Sif Gunnarsdottir and Nina Lauvsnes shared their experiences with new ways of audience engagement.
The conclusions from the session, as summed up by Erik Söderblom is that you have to engage with the audience if you want to engage the audience. Further, ownership is a powerful way to create participation, creating a sense of ownership in relation to the artwork can create a situation where the audience partakes in making art happen. Another conclusion is that also producers have to focus on creativity because the good examples and experiences are site and occasion specific, so there is no allround recipe for how to meet the audience – it has to be adapted and creative in its own way each time. However, learning about other projects can create ideas and inspiration. The following includes some of the points made in the New ways of engagement-presentations.
From education to participation
- Let the artists out and the people in. The reason for trying to engage more people is because of the great positive impact art can make in a persons life, Ulla Laurio- currently the office manager of cultural youth work in the Youth Department of the City of Helsinki – pointed out. Another main point in the presentation was to increase collaboration and enhance the importance of artists and their connection with the audience. Laurio presented how the European opera houses wanted to grow their roots in society and be an integral part of the increasingly multicultural society. Involving young people in composing has become easier with new technology, and the tools are used for games, acting, storytelling and composing.
Turning the youngsters into museum visitors
Isabel Lowyck, Head of Education and Communication department at M- Museum Leuven, presented two projects aimed at increasing young peoples participation in the museums. These projects – AmuseeVous and Museum M at Leuven – sought to build cooperation with other organizations like music festivals (Rock Werchter). Lowyck stressed the point that cultural institutions need to make connections and cooperate more to close the gaps between the organization and the audience by giving them the ability to share and contribute.
Sharing and engaging digitally
- Smalltalk leads to big talk. Christian Payne, a photographer, blogger and journalist, talked about how social media and new technologies can be used in smart ways to reach more people. He shared stories from his own experience as a mobile story maker, and presented different tools that have become useful along the way. Examples include the use of Twitter, AudioBoo, Hipstamatic, Gowalla, Twitvid, Bambuser, Reelmoments and Latitude. He also stressed the importance of talking to people inbetween sending out information, to use the social media tools to ask people their opinions and raise questions as a way to get to know your audience.
Promoting equality and accessibility in cultural institutions
- What is important is the willingness to consider accessibility, Aura Linnapuomi pointed out in her presentation. Aura Linnapuomi is a project planner in the Culture for All Service, which is a Finnish organization promoting accessible cultural services. She presented the ways the organization works, and Linnapuomis presentation included the different methods the Culture for All Service uses in helping cultural institutions achieve better accessibility. It is important to include by recruitment, to bring together the arts organizations and other groups in the planning processes, she pointed out. Work with accessibility has to include work with attitudes, communication and pricing, the physical and sensory aspects, as well as the intellectual, social and cultural aspects.
Learning from others
- More engagement gives more value. Nils Petter Nordskar, one of the most awarded copywriters in the Norwegian advertising and internet industry, talked about how arts organizations have to “think dramatically different” in his presentation New roads to the old stage. Connect with the audience, sponsor something, explain more, publish more, debate and discuss with the audience – creating a mindset of becoming a friend with the audience. He stressed the importance of learning from the best players within social media and how these activities help in building an audience, with examples from the Berlin Philharmonic and New York Philharmonic Facebook-pages.
To see, engage and remember
- We believe people like to be seen, engaged and remembered. Steinar Sørli talked about their experiences growing engagement both locally and internationally atÅmot Operagard (the Opera Farm). Åmot Operagard (the Opera Farm) gained international attention in 2009 when it hosted a concert with Dame Kiri Te Kanawa in its barn before an audience of a mere 120 persons. Sørli explained how the Opera Farm plays on all your senses by including the performance and a gourmet dinner where the performers and the audience dine together.
By reaching out and giving the population of Reykjavik responsibility as a part of Icelands largest festival, The Reykjavik Culture Night, the festival managed to create participation and co-ownership from the city population who were tired of having someone else’s festival in their front yard. Sif Gunnarsdottirs presentationGetting them on your side described the steps and the challenges in achieving a broader audience participation. By inviting the people who live in the centre of Reykjavik to become hosts of a neighborhood walk, the festival managed to open a few doors. By providing ingredients for waffles and coffee so that the home owners could have open houses and gardens, the concept has grown into a mini-festival.
Combining socio-sponsorship and arts-sponsorship
Through their work with DnB Nor and Kirkens Bymisjon Bergen International Festival could create a new kind of engagement with a marginalized group in our society. Nina Lauvsnes talked about how combining the bank, the city mission and the festival opened an opportunity to really make an impression and a difference in reaching out to a new kind of audience. The project incorporated elements and philosophies of socio-sponsorship into arts-sponsorship, which made reaching people at outer margins of our society possible.
All photos by Magnus Skrede.
Add a Comment