Arts and Audiences 2014


In October, 2014, representatives from the Designing Classical Music Experiences hosted a so-called module at the Arts & Audiences conference in Reykjavik, Iceland. The module, ‘Expanding the Stage in a Post-Digital World’, presented learnings made in the project – through two keynote presentations and five breakout sessions.

The keynotes were recorded and can be viewed on the website. Look for the videos called Day 1 – 09 | Uffe Savery keynote, 10 | Music Experience Design – A case presentation presented by Malmö University, Karolina Rosenqvist and Erling Björgvinsson, and 13 Breakout live: Organizational Challenges.

Below is the original text about the module.

'Nalle in space', an app for kids developed by the project. Photo cred: CC:BY Medea.

Nalle in space’, an app for kids developed by the project. Photo cred: CC:BY Medea.

People from the Musikalsk oplevelsesdesign project hosts and runs a so-called module at the Arts & Audiences 2014 conference in Reykjavik, Iceland. The conference is, as the organizers describe it, a Nordic meeting point for cultural leaders, artists, artistic directors, curators, producers, learning managers, communication managers, cultural architects, and strategists who want to find new ways to extend audience engagement. We are happy to take part in the conference and share and discuss the learnings we have made.

The module, Expanding the Stage in a Post-Digital World, is based on learnings from the Musikalsk oplevelsesdesign project. Below is an in-depth description of what issues will be discussed.


Monday, October 20, 2014

10:10 MODULE 1: Expanding the Stage in a Post-Digital World
– On Music, Audience Participation, and Democracy

10:15 Keynote Uffe Savery (DK)

– Orchestra now, but how?

How can the orchestra, an organisation that is rooted in the past, find an authentic voice in the modern world? What should an orchestra embody and represent? And from a leadership perspective – how do we facilitate these processes in an inside-out process? On one hand embracing the complexity and taking advantage of the orchestra as a huge resource of knowledge, inventiveness, and creativity, and on the other hand making sure reaching concrete results, which makes the orchestra more than relevant in today’s society. And why is it an advantage facilitating this transition as an inside-out process?

Since Uffe Savery became CEO of Copenhagen Phil in 2010, they have all together joined a remarkable journey. They have created two world-wide flash-mob hits, now seen by more than 18 million people, new ’60 minutes’ concert formats, new branding and identity, and are in the middle of creating the very first World Online Orchestra. Copenhagen Phil has created a new narrative of being today’s symphony orchestra, and the definition of being a musician in a symphony orchestra has developed alongside. Uffe will unfold this journey to the audience, as well opening for a dialogue with the audience.

Biography: Uffe Savery (Denmark)
Uffe Savery is Artistic Director and Chief Executive of the Copenhagen Phil since 2010, and has a background as a percussionist, composer, and producer. He began his career as a founding member of the Safri Duo in 1988, a successful classical percussion group which later evolved into a dance and electronica project, with huge commercial success. Safri Duo has performed about 1,000 concerts on the classical scene, as well as another 1,000 concerts on the club-, arena-, and festival scene. Alongside the first year with Copenhagen Phil, he completed his Master’s degree in cultural leadership. Uffe is particularly engaged with subjects as Music and Leadership, Co-Creation, Co-Ownership, Seeking and Leading, Being curious and open-minded along with having courage and knowledge, Asking questions, Creativity, Inventiveness, Music in todays society, Making a difference – with art.

– audiences, musical institutions, and designers

A case presentation by Erling Björgvinsson and Karolina Rosenqvist, Malmö University (SE).

Audience engagement is about mutual learning through long-term engagement. As such, it entails finding ways for cultural institutions, audiences, and designers to ‘weave’ together, that is, to collaborate and to explore new forms of relationships. This case presentation is based on insights gained from the Music Experience Design project, a research collaboration that has received funding from EU’s interregional development fund where symphony orchestras and higher education institutions in Denmark and Sweden has worked together.


1. Perspectives on culture
2. Audience participation and democracy
3. Mediating audience engagement in a post-digital world
4. Audience engagement and organizational challenges
5. New ways of funding cultural productions

– Culture as canon, or culture as responding to current societal issues? (Uffe Savery)

(back to top)

Historically, there have been two dominant perspectives on what culture is. One perspective – the canonical view on culture – saw culture as having an almost sacred function. Clear hierarchical structures and refinement led to the crystallization of canonical works. The other perspective – which was more anthropological – saw culture as expressing meaning and values that were anchored in contemporary societal issues. A nation could thus encompass numerous cultures and subcultures.

Many symphonic orchestras, just as many cultural institutions, are facing considerable problems with attracting new and younger audiences. Because a large portion of the repertoire is from the early part of the 20th century and older, it seems that many institutions favor a canonical view of culture.

This breakout session addresses the relationship between what perspective on culture is premiered and the ability to attract new audiences.

Central issues:

  • What perspectives on culture are premiered?
  • Is it possible to work with the two perspectives simultaneously? Thus, can institutions operate with multiple values and multiple views on value and quality?
  • Has the failure to attract new audiences anything to do with the repertoire, which perhaps is perceived as irrelevant?
  • How can old works be made relevant, future-looking, and perhaps even ‘liberating’?
  • To what degree are institutions responsible to be in dialogue with societal issues? And, how may this be achieved without losing political independence?
  • How do the institutions attend to the fact that society has become increasingly heterogeneous? How should they address communality and difference? And, what is their democratic responsibility?


– Is it possible to move beyond the ‘bildung’ and experience-economy paradigms? (Dorte Grannov Balslev)

(back to top)

The notion of ‘audience participation’ has historically been dominated by an effort to educate a ‘passive’ audience through effective one-way communication – what might be called the ‘bildung’ paradigm. Later, it was dominated by creating memorable and ‘cool’ experiences as part of the experience-economy paradigm. How can you move beyond these paradigms?

Today, we see a turn towards ‘audience engagement’, which emphasizes dialogue and mutual learning when planning, implementing, and assessing enriching experiences for all involved. The values of engagement include personal development, interpersonal and social qualities, as well as has an impact on the surrounding society of the cultural institutions.

This breakout session addresses how audience engagement is entangled in these multiple paradigmatic views that concern the role and relations between artist and audience.

IN DETAIL – For quite some time, ‘audience participation’ was labelled ‘audience development’, a concept which was dominated by a management view where the audience was seen as passive and needed to be educated; effective one-way communication was established to attract the audience to the institution. Today, we have seen a turn towards ‘audience engagement’ that emphasizes dialogue and mutual learning when planning, implementing, and assessing enriching experiences for all involved. Brown, Brown, and Jackson-Dumont (YEAR) state that the values of engagement include personal development, interpersonal and social qualities, as well as it has an impact on the society surrounding the cultural institutions. Reaching new groups – that is, diversifying, broadening, or deepening current relationship – demands different strategies, which means that several strategies need to be developed. When doing marketing surveys, Robertson (2008) argues, many cultural institutions miss studying the group that they should pay the most attention to: those not attending at all. Marketing surveys often fail to provide significant data relevant for audience engagement, as those that answer most often are dedicated audience members. Furthermore, these surveys do not register attitudes and behavioral aspects in any significant way. Furthermore, as Brown and Leonard show (YEAR), you can work with audience engagement on different levels: from ‘spectating’ and ‘enhanced engagement’, to ‘co-creation’ and ‘audience-as-artist’. Also to be dealt with is the longevity of the engagement. Audience participation inevitably needs to deal with what roles and values the professionals and the audience can have. In other words, it needs to deal with how aesthetic and ethical judgments are negotiated.

Central issues:

  • How and why should hierarchical divisions between audience and professionals be reduced? Through shocking encounters or dialogue?
  • Is it important to maintain artistic autonomy in order to critically expose political and social power structures?
  • Is dialogue the way to better understand each other, or should audience engagement open up for constructive conflicting debates?
  • Is participation necessarily liberating as is so often assumed, or can increased audience participation be discomforting?
  • How is a balance between process and “product” achieved?
  • What notions of quality or what qualities do audience engagement depend upon?
  • How scalable are co-creative approaches?
  • What organizational anchoring is needed? And, how do organizations enable or hinder audience engagement?


– How do you combine different forms of mediations? (Gabriella Bergman, Richard Topgaard, Eva Wendelboe Kuczynski)

(back to top)

Contemporary media is non-linear, social, and multi-modal (text, images, video, sounds). Mediations happen across multiple sites and through multiple channels, and the border between producer and consumer is blurry. More recently, the notion of the ‘post-digital’ has emerged where the digital is not given greater importance than other forms of media (paper, face-to-face, etc.). The question becomes rather how different forms of mediations can be combined.

This breakout session will address how mediating audience experiences affect roles, values, and organizational boundaries. Through a number of thematic show-and-tell stations, it spans different approaches to audience engagement intertwined with contemporary media practices. The themes range from interactive installations and community media to online interactive remixing and the ‘expanded concert’.

IN DETAIL – Contemporary media is typically non-linear, social, collaborative, communicative, generative, participatory, and distributed. We engage with endless re-contextualizing and remixing, and some would argue that we have moved from a read-only-culture to a read-write-culture. Today’s mass media production and consumption, which is increasingly multimodal, happens across multiple sites and through multiple channels. Another noticeable change is that the border between producer and reader has been blurred.

Some claim that networked media has opened up for a more democratic media where citizens can voice their opinions, while others argue that old power relations remain. Furthermore is it argued that networked media has generated fragmented public spheres, as well as it has fragmented our everyday life into endless snippets and that we are more and more ‘alone together’. The proliferation of broadcasting, tracking, sharing, uploading, and downloading has to some become exhaustive and has increased the value of live, communal experiences – at times relegating some audience groups that cannot afford over-priced live experiences to enjoy only mediated versions of the experience.

More recently, the notion of the post-digital has emerged where the digital is not given greater importance than other forms of media (paper, face-to-face, etc). The question becomes rather how different forms of mediations can be combined. For cultural institutions, these trends affect how they engage in mediated audience engagement. The audiences have a changed view of what communication entails, how power relations are configured, and how the aesthetical expressions are combined (where digital and analogue expressions are given different values). This in turn demands that cultural organizations need to develop new forms of relations and values along with new forms of mediations. This session will address how mediating audience experiences affects roles, values, and organizational boundaries.

Central issues:

  • How can audience engagement become collaborative and generative?
  • In what way does temporal aspects affect mediated audience engagement?
  • How can new temporal and spatial formats play a role in how the production is experienced?
  • How can digital and non-digital productions or experiences work together?
  • How is artistic quality maintained if the borders between professionals and amateurs are blurred?
  • How can what is published connect to other media channels, platforms, and events? And, how are bridges created between channels, platforms, and events?
  • How does mediating audience experience affect institutional structures?

– What (new) organizational forms do we need? (Per-Ola Nilsson, Henrik Sten Petersen)

(back to top)

Cultural institutions are often highly specialized, segmented, and at times inflexible. This makes it difficult to create teams across intra-institutional borders. Yet, as The Search for Shining Eyes report shows, the success of audience engagement hinges on organizational ‘anchoring’ where different departments collaborate, as well as that changes in core organizational values are achieved.

This breakout session will address how cultural organizations can imagine new organizational forms that are favorable to audience engagement.

Central issues:

  • Have cultural institutions become silos and lost holistic ways of working?
  • What organizational values need to be in place for audience engagement to happen?
  • How do the institutions relate to surrounding cultural institutions, e.g., music, dance, and theater schools, as well as elementary schools and gymnasiums?

– How to be of ‘value’ to the society and its citizens beyond the walls of the institution (Peter Løvschall, Anette Vedel Carlsen)

(back to top)

In this breakout session we will be working with new business models of audience engagement, starting with framing what kind of value propositions is offered including ‘contribution to society’, ‘reach to and engagement with audiences’, and ‘generating concrete financial revenue’.

We will look into how to engage external stakeholders as partners in business development – including private businesses, public institutions, schools and universities, communities, creative networks and medias. We will be working specifically on gaining knowledge about your audience followed by tools and methods of how to put the knowledge into value – both for your organization and for the audience.

The breakout session will contain both talks and short co-creation processes in order to inspire and engage everyone participating in new business model breakout session.

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Orkestern lär andra att samarbeta

Hur medlemmarna i en orkester samarbetar kan vara lärorikt att uppleva för andra typer av organisationer. Därför erbjuder nu Copenhagen Phil kurser för näringslivet där man med hjälp av orkester illustrerar begrepp som att hitta “kammartonen” och att samarbeta mellan olika personligheter.

I den inbäddade videon (eller här på YouTube) kan du se hur ett liknande möte mellan orkestern och näringslivet kan gå till. Under videon skriver Copenhagen Phils musikchef några ord om vilket värde detta kan ge åt orkestern.

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