For the 2020 edition, the ADESTE+ Summer School was organised in six episodes and held online from 23rd September to 28th October 2020. It focused on a key theme for cultural institutions: What do they need to become more audience-centred?
85 participants from 16 countries participated in the digital event. The second edition of the ADESTE+ Summer School was addressed mainly to operators in the fields of arts and culture with knowledge and experience of audience development. All of them had the opportunity to get into the stages of the Audience Centred Experience Design Blueprint (listen, change, experiment and embedding).
The organisation and implementation of the event was challenging: How to create and curate a digital site to debate, learn and work collaboratively on new audience development strategies? More than ever, evaluation became a key issue in the organisation of the Summer School and therefore, three different evaluation methodologies were applied.
In general, feedback from participants was positive and the responses showed great interest in the content covered. Some of the main takeaways are:
- The importance of adopting Audience Development strategies to activate the internal change of cultural organisations.
- The value of creating harmony and a community of purpose within a team, essential to stimulate change.
- The significance of adopting an empathic approach towards the inside (colleagues) and the outside (the public) of the cultural organisations and of avoiding stereotypes and categorisations that may limit the empathetic process.
- The value of creating a safe space for unsafe ideas through participation, group thinking, and brainstorming, always taking in mind that no idea is meaningless.
- The chance to experiment, risk and fail, and to embrace both success and failure.
- Keeping honesty as the key principle, and to adopt a perspective of long term planning and sustainability.
Nevertheless, the evaluation process also brought to light some insights to improve the next edition of the ADESTE+ Summer School such as the need of giving a greater voice to small and medium independent cultural organisations.
By and large, participants understood the importance of Audience Development for cultural organisations and above all, the training experience helped participants to structure and consolidate some pre-existing ideas, expand the notion of Audience Development through the introduction of new concepts, and most importantly, to acquire new tools to be reused in their daily work.