Study on Audience Development - How to Place Audiences at the Centre of Cultural Organisations
16 May 2017

Study on Audience Development - How to Place Audiences at the Centre of Cultural Organisations

Study on audience development – How to place audiences at the centre of cultural organisations is a report by Fondazione Fitzcarraldo, together with Culture Action EuropeECCOM and Intercult which was developed within the framework of the Creative Europe programme.

The aim of the study is to provide successful approaches and methods in the area of audience development to be disseminated among European cultural organisations. They will also be used as a basis for selection criteria in future calls for proposals launched by the Creative Europe programme.

This report, which includes Case Studies, will help equip cultural leaders with the means to make a convincing case for becoming more focussed on audiences either internally (towards boards of directors, communication and artistic departments, advisory committees and other decision structures) or externally (public authorities, patrons, friends schemes, sponsors).

Many culture makers have embraced the theme of Audience Development. We all want audiences, preferably large and enthusiastic ones. But how can we demonstrate to our investors that we have taken the task seriously? How do we measure our efforts? Here, the key terms are: cultural impact; immaterial indicators; shared knowledge; shared practice; people to people; citizen/visitor.

What are the needs and the possible impact? What can public authorities, patrons, friends, sponsors and policymakers gain from a mapping of the Audience Engagement territory? Here, the key terms are: creating conditions; making demands; challenging tradition.

The study, carefully framed by the European Commission, can help guide in policy development, to create conditions for true Audience Development. It aims at:

  • providing innovative approaches and methods in the area of Audience Development to the European Commission;
  • providing a basis for selection criteria in future calls for proposals framed by the Creative Europe Programme;
  • equipping cultural leaders with developed means for making a convincing case, within an organisation, for a transition to an audience-centric approach;
  • investigating common elements across the diverse European landscape, clear differences and potential peer-learning opportunities.

The report has eight key reccommendations to give cultural policy an audience-centred approach. These can be summarised as follows: 

  1. Raise awareness of Audience Development in different cultural sectors and stakeholders.
  2. Raise awareness about the importance of adopting an evidence-based approach to measure advancements Audience Development
  3. Reinforce the links with the education area and promote a better integration between the cultural sector and schooling system.
  4. Build capacity related to Audience Development and Audience Engagement among cultural institutions and professionals.
  5. Promote the importance of stimulating new models of active participation in the arts.
  6. Enable conditions to secure and uphold long-lasting processes and projects.
  7. Establish clear and realistic guidelines for artists and artistic directors at cultural institutions supported by public funding to adapt their programmes and objectives to a more audience-centric perspective.
  8. Prioritize cultural venues and initiatives that mix audiences, bringing diverse ethnic, age and social groups together for common experiences. 

Below are the links to the report in full, and in sections:

Final report

Executive Summary

Guide part I tools of audience development : a practical guide for cultural operators

Guide part II rules for audience development: key recommendations 

Catalogue – case studies