Upcoming Talk: Audience Research in the Arts, Sheffield July 4-7
On July 4, I will give a presentation together with my colleague Peter Peters, on the Orchestra as Lab, at the Audience Research in the Arts conference, organised by Sheffield Performer and Audience Research Centre (SPARC). Very much looking foward to this conference, encompassing different disciplines and fields (most of which I’m not so much familiar with). Our abstract:
The Orchestra as a Lab: Collaborative experiments in symphonic audience engagement
Recently, public participation research in domains such as urban planning, public health, art and architecture, and environmental management has often taken the form of experiments. In these experiments, lay or amateur audiences engage with technical, scientific or aesthetic matters in ways that challenge traditional expert approaches of enacting innovation trajectories, organizing public affairs, or creating artistic performances (Lezaun, Marres and Tironi 2017). Conducting experiments thus becomes a method to both study and shape new forms of participation. In our paper, we draw on recent research in the field of science and technology studies on participatory experiments to analyse their potential for innovating symphonic audience engagement. We are interested in how the “orchestra as a lab” may contribute to new forms of knowledge production as well as innovative performance practices and alternative repertoires of evaluation.
Empirically, our analysis reflects on the participatory experiments (co)designed by the South Netherlands Philharmonic, the Maastricht Conservatory, and Maastricht University in the NWO-funded Artful Participation project. This project combines strategic research into reasons for the declining interest in symphonic music with practice-based artistic research. The latter takes place in three experiments with new forms of audience participation. In the current symphonic practice, audiences are performed as listener, consumer or amateur. We are experimenting with the new roles of maker, citizen and expert, thus actively involving audiences in programming, making and assessing symphonic music. In our paper, we will focus on how these experiments can facilitate knowledge exchange and collaborative learning by the contributing partners.