Amidst the difficulties of the last few months, The Audience Agency has been able to continue most of its international work, albeit in different ways and with changed perspectives.
The 2020 European Capitals of Culture in Rijeka and Galway were hard hit by the impact of the pandemic and as both were working on a February to February programme, the crisis couldn’t have come at a worse time.
As evaluators of Galway 2020 ECoC, TAA has adapted to the modified nature of the year, which has restarted in a rescoped form from August. This involves a stronger focus on working with the cultural partners in the area, understanding the impact of digital online work, looking in more depth at the community initiatives and exploring the nature of participatory activity. Other aspects of the evaluation will look at the effect of the pandemic on practice and engagement and at the way in which a sustainable legacy can be developed. The updated programme and news are HERE.
The Connect Erasmus+ project has now been completed. This was a four year collaboration between European Higher Education institutions and National Support Agencies like The Audience Agency. It aimed to bridge the gap between teaching of audience development and the reality of professionals working in cultural organisations. The result was a ‘Twin Track Programme’ that combined the best elements of practice and theory in an action research methodology.
Amongst the extensive resources on the Connect website is an outline of the module syllabus framework which can be adopted with a CC BY 4.0 licence.
Most of the partners continue to work together bound together by the Connect Manifesto (below) and are looking at what a Connect 2.0 might involve.
The Connect Manifesto:
- LEARN BY DOING
- INVOLVE USERS
- USE EVIDENCE
- PROTOTYPE: TEST, VALIDATE, ADAPT
- ENCOURAGE SMALL STEPS THAT LEAD TO BIG CHANGE
- MAKE THE MOST OF DIVERSITY
- BE CURIOUS: KEEP ASKING QUESTIONS
- BE BOLD: LEARN FROM MISTAKES
Meanwhile, lest we forget amidst the Covid-19 pandemic crisis, the UK has now left the EU with the transition phase ending in December 2020. On top of this change has come the decision by the UK Government not to continue to participate in Creative Europe, the funding scheme for the cultural and creative sectors. The UK could take part in this very valuable scheme even outside the EU, but this has not been agreed.
In March, over 800 artists and arts organisations including The Audience Agency signed an open letter to the current Secretary of State, Oliver Dowden, calling for this decision to be overturned. Campaigning will continue.
Further information about Creative Europe in the UK including the impact on the cultural sector since the beginning of the funding scheme and outlining the current situation can be found on the British Council’s Creative Europe pages.