Having regard to the fact that the available data on the audience participation in cultural and artistic activities show that a significant part of the European population does not participate enough in the most common cultural activities such as going to cinema or reading books, the audience development has become one of the important challenges of the cultural sector throughout Europe. The data grow even more unfavorable when it comes to those less common cultural activities such as going to museums or galleries, and generally speaking, the situation is particularly bad concerning the persons whose living conditions are underdeveloped (low income, poor level of education).
Audience development, as a cultural policy instrument enabling an easier access to culture, represents a concept having a cultural, social and economic dimension, and which also relates to the following categories of activities:
– Development the new groups of audience (the so-called non-audience composed of the audience groups of all ages, marginalized groups, groups with low development of cultural needs),
– Deepening and developing the relations with the current audience,
– Diversification of the current audience target groups,
Audience development has several goals:
– Preservation of the cultural and linguistic diversity;
– Providing support to the cultural sector and creative industries in order to realize their social and educational mission, as well as to achieve their economic potential;
– Increasing the contribution of all the sectors to sustainable and inclusive development;
– Capacity building of cultural organizations and promotion of their activities beyond national borders;
– Supporting intercultural dialogue, social inclusion and promotion of cultural diversity.
Audience development enables cultural organizations to make their programs widely available, by supporting individuals and communities to experience, enjoy, evaluate art and participate in creative work. The beneficial side of the concept of audience development usage would have several aspects: cultural (involvement of a greater number of audience and their education), economic (new sources of revenue) and social (intercultural dialogue, empathy development, meeting various social communities, involvement of a greater number of audience in public life, social activism). It is particularly important to emphasize that the audience development may decrease the risk of social conflict emergence. Recent studies show that participation in cultural life contributes to the psychological health development and that it makes a significantly stronger impact compared to other parameters such as income, place of residence, age, sex, and profession. In this regard, the audience development contributes to the society revitalization and supports self-realization and self-healing of individuals. Therefore, the Creative Europe Program supports those activities through which the organizations build audience within and beyond the borders of their own countries, as well as the activities through which the required managerial skills necessary for a successful audience development are being transferred.
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