Audience Development related higher education across Europe

One of the main challenges in implementing CONNECT on European level is merging all the specific differences coming from each national educational systems. As an international team we wanted to find out what is the place of audience development within overall educational offer across different countries in Europe. To do so, we conducted a survey on programmes for the development of entrepreneurial and AD-related skills in Denmark, Spain, Italy, Poland and the UK.

The survey aimed to gather knowledge regarding each individual national context and draw a picture of the educational offer related to the mentioned areas in terms of similarities and differences. This is to give a better understanding of the settings the CONNECT project is to be implemented in and empower its effectiveness in developing an unique educational programme in the future. The findings cover the overall educational practises related to audience development and entrepreneurship in the 5 respective countries involved. These are namely: Denmark (with a broader perspective on the Nordic region), Spain, Italy, Poland and the UK.

Similarities and differences in the analysed curricula

All of the examined countries function within the Bologna system. This helps to put the programmes all together and evaluate them within an universal framework. However, one might consider the fact that practices of attending and perceiving university courses by attendees differs from one country to another. Within the studied educational systems with a reference to the discussed issue there is a vast range of diverse programmes: economy and business studies (e.g. in Italy and the UK), cultural management (focused on different cultural aspects, from national heritage to the arts), cultural studies (strongly present in Poland), museology (Spain, Italy), design (the Nordic region), cultural policy (Sweden), education and tourism (Spain, Italy) and finally social studies and communication.

Definitely, the presence of the research areas related to AD and entrepreneurship in the academic curricula in the 5 selected countries appears to be clearly unbalanced on a few levels. First differentiation relates to the area of studies. The analysis brings a reflection on the origins of the programmes. One might notice that AD and entrepreneurial matters fit quite well in many types of humanistic programmes as well and economy and business-related ones. The diversification in this regard depending on the country is highly visible. For instance, educational offer in the UK has a very strong tradition and seems to follow a systemic thinking about cultural management and cultural policy; Nordic countries stress innovation and re-design/re-conceptualize the programmes frequently; Italy and Spain balance between 2 kind of approaches: one focused on communication, management and marketing, second on education (attached mostly to the matter of cultural heritage); whereas academic offer in Poland evolves from theoretical cultural studies, which commonly take into account and react to the actual market needs. In the last mentioned country, courses entrepreneurially oriented are being slowly introduced to the programmes and usually shape an unique specialization within a broader study programme.

Because of the above stated, the offer in a large extent differs from one another in terms of the main emphasis. For example. In the UK a lot of programmes can be managerial, in Poland much more focused on social impact, in Scandinavia there is a clear focus on innovation and communication. In Italy and Spain the core tendency appears to be slightly more fragmented.

It is also interesting to look at the programmes from the perspective of the market demand. An interesting case is Spain, where some visible decrease of AD and entrepreneurial oriented courses was detected. This means that some previous editions had been delivered but for certain reasons no edition was offered this year or in the last two years and the websites were not updated any longer. It seems that some years ago there was a boom in Spain and many cultural management related courses were created. From a market perspective, and apart from the crisis as the main cause of that decrease, it makes sense that the space for competitors is limited and only those who make the difference survive. On the other hand, in Poland recently there is a visible need for cultural management related education and as the consequence a significant number of new courses have been introduced into the academic curricula at many local universities.

A common conclusion for the examined countries is that AD and CE related education is strongly developed by non-university bodies. Even in countries like the UK, where the concept of audience development is commonly introduced in the study programmes, there’s a vast range of educational projects in this field offered by agencies, foundations, private experts, etc. These, however, are normally focused on professionals as a target group. It indicates and may lead to an assumption that the overall academic educational offer in Europe does not fully encourage professionals to follow the relevant courses. In fact, there is a relatively small number of study programmes fully designed only for practitioners.

You can find our more by downloading the RESEARCH REPORT.

 

SIMILARITIES

1.

All of the examined countries function within the Bologna system. This helps to put the programmes all together and evaluate them within an universal framework.

2.

The overall academic educational offer in Europe does not fully encourage professionals to follow the relevant courses. In fact, there is a relatively small number of study programmes fully designed only for practitioners.

3.

In all of the examined countries AD and CE related education is strongly developed by non-university bodies.

 

COUNTRY SPECIFIC DIFFERENCES

 

Denmark and other Nordic countries stress innovation and re-design/re-conceptualize the programmes frequently.

Distinguished focus of the programmes characteristic for the country:
innovation and communication

 

Italy and Spain balance between 2 kind of approaches: one focused on communication, management and marketing, second on education (attached mostly to the matter of cultural heritage).

Distinguished focus of the programmes characteristic for the country:
the core tendency appears to be fragmented

 

Academic offer in Poland evolves from theoretical cultural studies, which commonly take into account and react to the actual market needs. In this particular country courses entrepreneurially oriented are being slowly introduced to the programmes and usually shape an unique specialization within a broader study programme.

Distinguished focus of the programmes characteristic for the country:
social impact

 

Educational offer in the UK has a very strong tradition and seems to follow a systemic thinking about cultural management and cultural policy.

Distinguished focus of the programmes characteristic for the country:
managerial