European museums and cultural sites face numerous but similar challenges in coming up with a long-term audience development strategy. Given the trend towards digitisation, new ways of making art and culture accessible, of increasing visitor participation and of digitally networking the European cultural landscape become ever more relevant. The cooperation project smARTplaces was conceived with these challenges in mind.
smARTplaces will move away from the passive visitor experience and instead will connect audiences by creating a new digital cultural space which will grow to become an innovative European Cultural Site Network, that is: dialogic, linked, interactive, educational, integrated, accessible, audience engaging and involving.
With a coherent and multi-layered use of digital technology, social web tools, adaptive storytelling techniques as well as joint exhibitions and on- and offline activities, the partnering institutions will be turned into smARTplaces: Cultural spaces with features that will enable them to communicate with and engage audiences across Europe and within the international partner network.
From 2016 to 2020 more than 55 different activities with a distinctive digital link are aiming to address diverse segments within the existing and prospective audiences of each institution.
To succeed with the overall ambitions the project also focuses on change management and emphasizes the inclusion of cultural mediation, staff training and knowledge exchange. A set of internal training activities will augment internal perception as well as increase the capabilities for digital media usage within a cultural, content-management and creative context.
On a variety of levels a viable audience development strategy needs to multi-dimensionally live up to the complexity of art and to the diverse interests of (internal and external) reference groups. Cultural institutions need to change attitudes gently and gradually, offer a multitude of connecting factors and to continuously build on interlinking activities.