How can the relationship between the Royal Danish Theatre and gymnasium students be expanded? This is a question that interaction design masters students at the School of Arts and Communication, Malmö University, will explore for a few weeks during spring 2014.
Update: this design brief resulted in these two student projects.
Text: Erling Björgvinsson.
Many performing arts institutions, classical orchestras in particular, in the Western world are facing diminished audience numbers. The average age of the audience is steadily rising. Although many cultural institutions work actively about rethinking their repertoire and develop new presentation formats, they tend to reach only a well-educated and affluent middle class. The last two or three generations of students have to a small degree been exposed to classical music and orchestras as part of their school curriculum. Teenagers, as well as young adults, is an age group that the orchestras tend to lose out on. Today the Royal Danish Theater (RDT), which is commissioned to serve the whole country, has produced traditional educational material that teachers can download and use in their courses, typically as a preparation before attending a concert at the RDT.
The design brief is to explore how the relationship between the RDT and gymnasium students can be expanded. The RDT would like to explore how such a relationship can be developed together with gymnasium students and teachers through a collaborative design process. The aim of the project is to develop various examples – with varying degrees of audience engagement – of how gymnasium student engagement could look like.
Central questions to address are:
- What do students and teachers think of the current repertoire, concert formats, and education material?
- How can new presentation formats make the current repertoire more relevant to students and teachers, and what new concert and presentation formats need to be developed?
- What learning activities are engaging for gymnasium students and teachers, and how does it fit into the Danish educational system?
- How are such learning activities made scalable so that it can engage several thousand students?
- What is a good balance between pre-produced educational material and local adaptations?
- How could the streaming of concerts at cinemas, to be launched by RDT this spring, play a role?
Also read about the student project Making the Nalle concert format more co-creative.
Further reading: Malmö University student projects 2013 – Four concepts that strengthen the relationship between institution and audience.