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Audience Development as Institutional Development

Project Description

The project will be based on corporation with several cultural institutions, which focus on audience development as a part of Aarhus 2017. A central challenge to cultural institutions is audience development - that is the inclusion and involvement of a great variety of different users.

This is a political requirement that is also present in the strategies of Aarhus 2017, but it is also a demand from the audience, which has a higher expectation of being engaged and interactively involved in cultural production. In order to meet these requests the institutions are developing collaborations with new user groups in order to learn more about the audience.

This development challenges the functioning of the institutions, especially in cases as museums and theatres that traditionally have been based on a strong emphasis on cultural and artistic expert knowledge as the core of the institutional practice and leadership. This also means that audience development can only establish itself as a central objective at the institutions if it becomes a part of a long term strategic development.

This stands in opposition to much of the audience development projects seen today that is merely projects functioning alongside practice as usual. The duration of the Aarhus 2017 and the sub-projects focusing on audience development is thus a unique opportunity to study the long term impact of this strategy.

Read the interview with project manager Ingrid Vatne (in Danish)

The project was ended in September 2014 - you can read the final report here

Project Partners

  • Louise Ejgod Hansen, Department of Aesthetic and Communication, University of Aarhus, post doc.
  • Egil Bjørnsen, Centre for Culture and Sprot Studies, Telemarken University College, Associate Professor, PhD.