“It always seems impossible until it’s done.”
Nelson Mandela

By Melting Pro

Audience engagement, audience participation, cultural participation, … historically different ideas and forces also drove the concept of audience development such as politics, cultural policy, financial imperatives, artistic and organisational leadership.

Audience development is described in many ways because cultural systems and the way we relate to culture is distinctive in every country. As a guide, we can say that audience development is a term used to describe the way in which relationships between audiences and cultural organisations are managed. The ultimate goal is to empower the people that the cultural organisation serves and the organisation itself.


We like the definition of The Audience Agency: ……a planned, organisation-wide approach to extending the range and nature of relationships with the public, it helps a cultural organisation to achieve its mission, balancing social purpose, financial sustainability and creative ambitions.


Audience Development is a strategic process, a philosophy that leads the whole organisation to fulfil its mission, it’s:

   Planned and mission led
   Based on evidence
➢   Helps to balance your social purpose, financial sustainability and creative ambitions
➢   Organisation-wide – involving programming, education, marketing and front of house
➢   About long-term relationships
➢   Passion and empathy
   About not forgetting the other 70% … that does not take part
➢   About existing AND new audiences


 In Creative Makers the partners will need to develop their audience development plan for their kids’ fablab. It will be a journey to rethink themselves, why they exist, what’s their purpose, what kind of audiences they want to attract and how they can be relevant to them. What does it mean to become audience focused and how to make that happen. Having a plan can be a starting point.


There is no single, right way to create an audience plan. Organisations play different roles in the “cultural eco-system”, and any audience development plan should reflect the scale, resources, personality and purpose of each. Organisations try to reach different audiences for different reasons and do so in different ways. This diversity is the sign of a healthy and creative cultural sector.


From the ADESTE training toolkit

The ADESTE “Set of guidelines for an effective vocational training for the European Audience Developer Training toolkit prototype – Resource Pack”.