Pilot testing is currently underway for the ADESTE Audience Development Training Module. Launched in May 2015, the phase will last through February 2016. The 10-month module is training cultural professionals to create an audience development plan for their organisation. Its design is based on the project’s research findings and uses a combination of lessons, methodology, workshops, case studies, and tools. The training is enhanced by Action Learning, an established framework for group reflection. This technique is helping participants identify and overcome challenges and stimulate new thinking.
More than 50 cultural professionals were selected to participate in the pilot testing phase. Being carried out in Denmark, Italy, Poland, Spain, and the United Kingdom, participants are coming together for face-to-face meetings, workshops, action learning sessions, and networking gatherings. Each testing group is being led by ADESTE trainers who are cultural professionals having substantial experience working with audiences, in audience development, arts and culture, and training. To nourish the learning experience, trainers and trainees also have access to an online training area with additional material, case studies, lessons, and a blog.
Surely to be one of the most enriching aspects of the pilot test is gaining access to a diversity of experiences. The involvement of trainers, experts and professionals from across Europe's arts and cultural sector is gathering a wealth of experiences and knowledge about audience development strategies, successes, mistakes, and lessons learnt. Working for museums, theatres, festivals, libraries, public cultural institutions, art galleries, orchestras, and heritage institutions, participants are also bring new ideas and perspectives for cross sectorial collaborations and inspiration. This mixture is an added value as the participating professionals navigate the steps to create a realistic and solid audience development plan for their organisations.
Upon completion of the ADESTE training module, participants will haved honed their skills and personal and professional attributes needed to successfully expand their institution’s reach. The knowledge gained and new skills acquired will be shared with colleagues and other arts and cultural professionals. This transfer of knowledge and experience will help more and more professionals to see how their work contributes to audience development and how they can play a greater role.
Cultural managers must find innovative and practical strategies, policies, and practices to encourage audience participation for the sustainability of Europe's arts and cultural sector. ADESTE's Audience Development Training Module is professionalising this increasing important profile to support arts and cultural organisations as they work to increase, diversify, and retain audiences.