Connect Rome - Conversations on Audience Development, Culture and Higher Education

Rome, Italy

As ENCATC is one of the official members of the stakeholders' committee for the European Year, it has been entrusted with the task of labelling eligible events organised by the members of the network.

Connect Rome - Conversations on Audience Development, Culture and Higher Education

On 5 June in Rome the project "CONNECT -CONNECTING AUDIENCES European Alliance for Education and Training in Audience Development",  organised within the framework on the Erasmus Plus - Knowledge alliance and done in collaboration with the Culture Department of the City of Rome, and the Istituzione Sistema Biblioteche Centri Culturali, will hold an event entitled “Connect Rome - Conversations on Audience Development, Culture and Higher Education”.

In the framework of the European Year for Cultural Heritage, the project partners, including ENCATC and 5 of its members, decided to take advantage of one of the project meetings to have a seminar aimed to reflect on how Audience development skills could make cultural heritage tangible and intangible, more relevant to the audiences, more connected to their needs, more inclusive and sustainable in the long term.

The rationale is that everyone has the right to access cultural heritage. Therefore better Audience Development skills in the field of Cultural Heritage could allow cultural managers working in the Cultural Heritage sector as well as Cultural Heritage institutions to develop innovative strategies to identify barriers to cultural participation and possibly remove them in order to increase, deepen and diversify their audiences.

The world café style event took place at the Library Institute of Rome, a long-standing and active cultural organisation next to the famous Villa Borghese. A special event organised by ENCATC member, Melting Pro in collaboration with the municipality of Rome and the project partner CKI was taking place as part of the activities implemented within the project. “Connect Roma - Conversations on Audience Development, Cultural policies and Higher Education” gathered together local professionals and international experts to debate around some key questions: How is heritage changing? How can cultural organisations become more relevant today? How can they be part of building a different future? What skills cultural professionals need to develop?

The CONNECT hosting partner Melting Pro facilitated a collective discussion around four central themes:

Capture Data. To find out more about cultural participation, integrating qualitative and quantitative data is key, but how to do it? The essence is to understand what do you want to know about people’s motivation and behaviours, therefore asking questions and listening are core skills. 

Engagement. The exploration of new and effective ways to engage young people is one of the most important challenges for cultural organisations. Many exciting projects have been mentioned like a cinema festival completely run by young people in Copenhagen, the Takeover festival, Concerts for babies and Nati con la cultura - passaporto della cultura. 

Cultural policies. Through the case stories told by the staff working at the Culture Department of the City of Warsaw, partner in the project, participants were brought to reflect on how to enable an integrated system where the municipality invests in up skilling cultural professionals to create a collaborative system within the city’s arts institutions. 

Skills and training needs. The necessary shift within a cultural organisation that aims at becoming audience focused goes through the development of new competences for its staff. Collaboration and sharing are also essential for the organisational change.

A report about this discussion will be drafted fort he benefit of the Cultural Heritage community in Europe and beyond.