My journey through the Audience Diversity Academy has been an important and thought provoking step in my career as an audience development specialist. It has allowed me to step away from my own personal views and practices and honestly and transparently assess my own approach to audience diversity, my organisations approach and the sectors approach. This 3 tiered evaluation has not happened by design, but rather by starting with evaluating ourselves. As a result I can confidently say myself and my colleagues at Sound and Music have begun to open the door to a new, fairer, inclusive, arts community.
I set out with a micro experiment, to assess and implement a new form of creative data capture to assess audience diversity in the Sound and Music Composer-Curator programme…my has it turned into so much more.
This project gave 6 artists the tools and space to experiment with creative ways of capturing audience data at live events, thus allowing greater insight into who was there and more importantly who was not or couldn’t be. As stated in my previous blog there has been some staggering statistical insight which has provoked some very real and forward thinking change from these artists in their approach to their audiences.
However in this blog I don’t want to talk about numbers and stats; I want to talk about people. That is all audiences are, they’re neighbours, mums, dads, friends, strangers, travelers, they are people from all walks of life who have a right to access art which can entertain and inspire. From the micro experiment I conducted I have come to the conclusion that yes it is exceptionally important to understand the data from our events and organisations and who we work with, however it is what we do with this data and the insight learned that promotes real change.
I am so proud to work for an organisation that puts the diversification of people, not just audiences, at the heart of what we do. It is this ethos that has allowed my micro experiment to flourish into wider organisational change as we see the launch of new voices and trigger the beginning of very real sector wide change in the new music cluster.
I personally cannot take credit for the amazing changes taking place, it is the team of artists, producers, programmers, curators and audiences that I work with that have contributed to this collaborative work.
This is not the sole answer to the lack of diversification in the arts, and there is so much more work to be done, however I do believe it is a step I the right direction. Put perfectly by the ever insightful Barack Obama, ‘’we are the change that we seek’’.
By Samara Jancovich