The 'Capacity Building for European Capitals of Culture' project is seeking professionals from a variety of disciplines to join its pool of experts, with the aim is to help bridge skills gaps and build capacity in the implementing teams of European Capitals of Culture (ECOCs). In this regard, Interarts organised the first Academy Camp on audience development directed to Elefsina’s 2021 delivery team and other actors of the cultural and social life of this Greek city.
The Academy Camp was delivered by Cristina Da Milano (ECCOM), Alessandra Gariboldi (Fondazione Fitzcarraldo), Niels Righolt (Danish Centre for Arts & Interculture – CKI), and Jonathan Goodacre (The Audience Agency). Eight theoretical and practical sessions were organised focused on:
- An introductory guide to Audience Development Planning
- Principles of Audience Development & Strategic Planning
- Practical exercise focused on Broader Audience Goals
- Managing change
- Audience development: RIJEKA 2020 European Capital of Culture
- Interactive planning and implementation
- The ‘real’ ECOC story & Audience Development next
- Final session focused the next steps for a participatory journey
To boost and promote dialogue between ECoCs and share good practices between cities the sessions were attended by Tanja Kalčić (Rijeka 2020), Lazar Jovanov (Novi Sad 2021) and Marilyn Reddan (Galway 2020), actively involved in designing the audience development strategies in their respective cities. The final session was also attended by Maria Panayides, CEO of Elefsina 2021.
Among the trainers’ recommendations, both the Elefsina delivery team and the local cultural and social partners, the importance of transparency and fluid communication was highlighted. The promotion of the European dimension in the face of the prevailing skepticism was another recommendation. The Academy Camp made it clear that audience development is not an image, but rather a movie whose script must be written in a collaborative way by all parties involved in the process and that it must be anchored in a coherent strategy, in this case of an ECoC.