I’ll be hosting an online workshop on developing relationships with audiences in contemporary music with saxophonist and composer Meriel Price on June 15th.
Nice to Meet You…
The core audience for contemporary music overwhelmingly belongs to an educational elite and audience members’ experiences can vary strongly according to their knowledge of the art form. Recent audience research has emphasised the need to broaden and diversify the audience base for contemporary music, calling for greater participation and more attention to be paid to creating positive, inclusive concert-going experiences.
The central aim of this workshop is to consider how we relate to audiences in the field of contemporary music and to encourage reflection on the ways in which greater audience diversity could be reached. Do existing concert and presentation formats need to be rethought in order to speak more effectively to new audiences? In how far does the music itself need to adapt? Should the audience already be taken into account when developing an artistic idea or are informative/outreach events or alternative formats enough to stimulate curiosity and impart knowledge about the art form?
Taking demographic data and research on the interests and views of audience members as a foundation, we would like to encourage discussion on these topics and develop ways of connecting with new audiences from different social backgrounds and walks of life.
In this workshop, we will seek to develop strategies that encourage participation from audiences and bring them into a dialogue. The first part of the day will present a practical, step-by-step guide to creating and implementing a strategy, drawing on statistics and concepts from research on contemporary music audiences and from the audience development literature. Gina Emerson will additionally present insights from her recent doctoral dissertation on the audience experience of contemporary music. Participants can either bring an existing project idea to work on or choose to develop a new idea at the workshop.
In the second half, Meriel Price will lead a creative group work session and offer ideas for new ways of reaching and connecting effectively with audiences. The workshop will overall take a general view of audience development, one that is centred around encouraging practices that consider the audience’s viewpoint and look to creatively and sustainably engage new audience members in the realm of contemporary music.