Engaging Audiences

The T2020 project has a detailed 'Audience Development Strategy'.

The primary motive of the T2020 Partners audience development strategy (ADS) is a belief that classical music has the power to enrich, develop and transform lives. The consequent aim of T2020’s ADS is to increase accessibility to classical music and build audience diversity, improving the quality and depth of relationship between T2020 Partners and audiences by articulating and working on 3 distinct audience action areas:

1. Existing audiences

2. New audiences

3. Non audiences.

One focus of the ADS is therefore to increase audience numbers. However, as cultural innovator Johan Idema wrote, “There is this widespread assumption in the arts world that when an exhibition or performance is visited by enough people, it is a success.” In response, a second (but no less important) focus of the T2020 ADS is to create a greater sense of proximity and connection between existing, new and non-audiences, and the music and musicians of the Project.

The ADS was developed with Europe 2020 in mind. With a strong focus on the development of young musicians’ hard and soft skills, it is aimed at contributing to raising employment rates across Europe. With a solid emphasis on innovation and the definition of concrete measurable outcomes through the Evaluation Partner, the ADS will provide essential data and qualitative information towards supporting measurement of some of Europe 2020’s key targets.

To deliver the quantitative and qualitative audience increases across the 3 specific audience action areas, a suite of audience development initiatives have been specifically designed for T2020:

The T2020 website and App are offered as models for the cultural sector. These digital platforms will offer existing audiences windows through which to view performances in new formats and with heightened interactivity. The website and App will provide audiences with an opportunity to become more closely involved with players and the music and to foster more meaningful, managed and sustainable relationships with the T2020 community.

The European Music Campus (emc) will primarily target existing and new audiences, aiming to spark interest in non audiences as its ‘brand’ and impact increases, year-on-year.

Smaller, personalised projects such as Spazio Klassik and Back Stage Late are designed to serve as examples of low-budget community engagement activities that can easily be incorporated within a Partner’s existing communications planning and will be easily accepted by local communities. They are also designed to give players ownership of audience development initiatives.

New audiences will be developed using a group of local audience developers in the REACT initiative. This engages disengaged and misdirected local youth competence, and draws on local networks, knowledge and expertise, correlating this with a simple yet effective training programme in the organisation of small, informal and alternative performance formats.

The Adopt an Orchestra programme will exemplify how an orchestra can embed itself within a new community and extend its reach by creating a weave of activities, gaining bulk over time. The idea is to create ‘connectedness’ by plotting interactions that target broad spectrums of local existing and potential audiences, working inter-generationally and cross-societally.

Non audiences will be targeted through an innovative collaboration project across multiple sectors, using classical music as a metaphor for business competence and provoking interest where none previously existed. Project 30/40 ‘Making space for classical’ involves adults between 30 and 40 years of age. By targeting this age group, the ADS will reach a key influencer of youth culture – parents. Small chamber music ensembles will bring classical music to locations convenient for office staff. The invited audience will be the result of an initial filtering questionnaire, which would be issued to all employees, identifying a non audience.

The ADS will be measured for efficiency, outcomes, quality and project achievement. Collecting attendance data from the start of T2020 and tracking audience profiles and numbers will provide an indication of impact. Each individual audience activity will require its own criteria for success and KPIs. These will be established with Partners. Quality measures will be assessed by the Evaluation Partner across the spread of the ADS and the duration of T2020. Project success will be assessed against successful delivery of planned activities.

Using McIntyre’s specific attributes for a successful audience development strategy, as presented at The European Cultural Forum 2013, the ADS is:

  • Vision-led around the principles of T2020
  • Brand-driven from existing brands within the Cooperation Project
  • Multi-platform using multi-device delivery
  • Outcome-oriented with a T2020 App delivering data and evaluation material
  • Insight-guided based on existing studies and current ADS practice from an expert team with over forty years of experience
  • Interactively-engaged by using social media and new technologies as key elements
  • Personalised by being developed to work at a local level
  • Legacy is built in by providing the cultural sector with exemplars that are transportable. Each initiative is designed to be effective in less-affluent and less technologically advanced nations.