The key thing I took away was that artistic and marketing teams need to be working together more closely to broker relationships between audiences and the art. It was one of those conferences where many delegates were bemoaning the lack of artistic directors, programmers and curators present. Surely they needed to be here to listen to this too? Many were also considering how open their own particular artistic director would be to working in a more collaborative way. But as Jo Taylor, Head of Marketing at Wales Millennium Centre countered – marketers should rise to the challenge and advocate for change, rather than waiting for their directors to take the lead. Dave Moutrey and Sarah Perks from Cornerhouse in Manchester talked about how they’ve merged their artistic and marketing departments in the hope that better internal collaboration will ensure better engagement of their audiences with their artistic offering. Their new structure has only been in place for a year so far, so it’s too early to tell what the impacts will be yet – we’ll have to watch this space. Wales Millennium Centre is also working in this way – it was interesting to hear from companies pioneering these new approaches.
Some of the questions it seems we should be asking ourselves to help us develop audiences for the arts, are “how can we”:
- Collaborate to grow the shrinking pie of arts attenders?
- Better engage our audiences online by digitising art and allowing it to be re-appropriated?
- Better invest in our audiences, and develop their taste and appreciation for the art we provide?
- Create and foster social networks to develop audiences?
- Broker better relationships between the art and audiences?
- Enable audiences to become co-creators?
- Convince our audiences of the relevance of our art offering to them?
- Give people opportunities to relive their experiences of the arts that will make them want to re-attend?