In 2017, in partnership with 14 other organizations, Kultura Nova Foundation has developed the "Audience DEvelopment Strategies for Cultural Organizations in Europe" (ADESTE +) project, focused on research and development of innovative approaches to the audience development. The project was supported by the Creative Europe programme of the European Union. Over the course of four years, the partners carried out a series of activities for cultural organizations, cultural professionals, targeted audiences, policy makers and decision makers in order to strengthen the personal and organizational capacities of various stakeholders in the field of audience development. Activities included research, partners’ capacity building workshops, implementation of audience development programme in partner organizations, workshops to transfer knowledge to a wider range of organizations, summer schools, discussions, peer to-peer sessions, forums for stakeholders dealing with cultural policies in the field audience development etc.
The audience development concept is a transversal phenomenon that extends through the field of cultural participation within the framework of cultural policies, and it includes questions of access and accessibility to cultural content and infrastructure. Fast changes in the economic, social and technological surroundings, as well as all the accompanying transformations in the fields of communication and free time, have had a significant impact on the deepening of the relationship with the existing audience and development of new audience on the local and global level. Contemporary technology has significantly changed the manner of accessing, acquiring, disseminating and sharing of content in general in arts and culture, which has influenced changes of the audience characteristics, needs and values, and thereby their habits as well.
In this context of changes and new challenges, many organizations in culture upgrade their existing methods in the fields of marketing, communication, education, mediation and animation and they test and try to find new models that will ensure deepening of the relationship with the existing audience on the one hand, and diversification of their audience on the other. These organizations have recognized the potential of sustainable development in putting audience at the center of their organizational interests, right next to artistic creation, production and distribution. Developing new approaches to audience implies multiple relations between various fields of expertise and activities, from organizational culture and policies, profiles and main purpose, artistic goals, financial framework, expert and artist staff structures, programme tradition, partner and cooperation relations, to educational and marketing approaches and communication and digital technologies.
The ADESTE+ project is situated inside the above described context, with the aim of exploring possible strategic solutions in approaches to audience through organizational transformation, i.e. to actively include all organizational resources on the path to putting audience at the center of organizational functioning. Through the project activities, the partners worked on designing and testing work methodologies with organizations so they could put audience at the center of their work, functioning and thinking process and include the broader community. The Knowledge Partners conceptualized the methodology for organizational transformation, while the Artistic Partners tested the recommended methodology and then, through their cooperation, the methodology was improved so it can be applicable in different geopolitical contexts, organizational profiles and sizes.
Within the framework of the project, 3 Summer Schools and Conferences were held: the first one was held in Lisbon in 2019, the second one was held online organized by Kultura Nova Foundation and the Croatian National Theatre Ivan pl. Zajc in 2020, and the third one was held in Torino in 2021.
In 2022, in the framework of the Kultura Nova Edition, Foundation has published a manual "Inside and Out. Methods and Practices of Organisational Transformation for Participation in culture" which emerged from the ADESTE+ project. The publication, dedicated to participation in culture, gives an overview of the development and relations between cultural policies and participation. It considers disagreements and misunderstandings regarding audience as key challenges of the cultural sector in terms of participation, and presents different practices that integrate participation in the overall operating of the organisation. "Inside and Out" documents the experiences, knowledge, and insights from various meetings and the project itself. It was conceived as a manual to be used by anyone interested in delving into the issue of audience development and citizen participation in cultural production.