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Arts centres as audience relationship managers

By Kjell Magne Maelen


This thesis examines the extent to which such cultural policy instruments as arts centres in Britain and Norway are recognising and accommodating the cultural policy goal of widening audience access and developing new audiences.\ud After establishing what the cultural policy is that arts centres in Britain and Norway are supposed to deliver against (Chapter 1). 1 continue to sketch out the history of the arts centres concept in the two countries, and to form an idea of what an arts centre is that aims to transcend national borders and work as a basis for determining how cultural policies in Britain and Norway have impacted on the role arts centres have as cultural policy instruments (Chapter 2).\ud Before taking a closer look at two specific arts centres in Britain and Norway. I examine how audience relationships are managed in the arts in general by first mapping how the arts marketing concept has evolved and then how an engagement with marketing in the arts has led to the development of the concept of audience development which seems to be specific to this industry especially in Anglo-American cultural policy debate (Chapter 3).\ud Scrutinising the audience development concept I discover that in Britain there seems to be very little agreement over what it really means; and with respect to Norway, the concept has hardly yet started to influence discussion over audience relations. I discuss some key concepts - commodification, managerialism or governance in the form of new public management - and their impacts on how arts organisations are expected to relate to their audiences under current public management ideas and conclude that audience development simply is arts marketing upgraded; and a term concocted to serve political objectives - i. e. a term that encompasses both the instrumentality of recent public policies and the ideas of cultural policies of the post World War II era of democratisation of cultural policies and cultural democracy.\ud To investigate whether arts centres are accommodating such cultural policy objectives I conduct case studies of two arts centres in Britain (Colchester Arts Centre. Essex) and Norway (Ibsenhuset, Telemark). I conclude from my findings that the influences of\ud " the relevance to their communities; and\ud " their own objectives in supporting the realisation of their mission as arts organisations seem to carry more weight than the expressed performance propositions of governmental cultural policy agencies(Chapter 4).\ud However, I also conclude that the management style employed internally and in relations with community partners influence an arts centre's ability to address the needs of its audiences. Hence I close this thesis by conceptualising a broad audience relationship management model which has the capacity to maximise the contribution to artistic value which arts centres are so well positioned to make (Chapter 5)

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OAI identifier: oai:wrap.warwick.ac.uk:2345

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