On May 25 2018, it was held the Research Seminar ‘Connecting with the public of our museums’ in Madrid, organized in the framework of the research projects CONNECT and PUBLICUM, which are currently being carried out by the Institute of Leisure Studies at the University of Deusto. The Seminar was possible thanks to the support of the Chair in Leisure and Knowledge, funded by Banco Santander. The event raised interest among representatives of cultural institutions such as the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport, ICOM Spain, National Prado Museum, Spanish Cultural Action or CaixaForum Madrid.
The seminar was structured in two parts: first, a panel that addressed the topic of audience development and museums from an academic point of view; second, a panel that addressed that topic from a practical point of view.
During the first part and based on the final report of the Engage Audiences Project Macarena Cuenca (University of Deusto), reviewed the subject according to eight strategic areas of intervention in Audience Developmentapplied to the field of museums: (1) programming; (2) participation and co-creation; (3) the digital; (4) the use of data; (5) spaces; (6) collaborations and alliances; (7) organizational change; (8) capacity development. After this, Amaia Makua (University of Deusto) continued with a reflection on a new professional profile, understood as the strategic capacity of the organization to which cultural organizations must respond in order to face the challenge of reorienting themselves towards the public. Based on the research carried out in the ADESTE and CONNECT projects, Amaia explained the training needs that were identified and how the University of Deusto plans to respond to these needs through a double postgraduate education (Expert in Cultural Audiences and Audiences Strategies Expert). The pilot program of these titles will be launched in the academic year 2018-2019.
The second part of the Seminar included the presentations of Virginia Garde, Head of the Dissemination and Development Area of the General Subdirectorate of State Museums, and Marcos García, Artistic Director of Medialab Prado. Virginia presented the work carried out by the Permanent Laboratory of Public of Museums, focused on understanding the visitors of the state museums and the actions that have been launched in order to promote this orientation in the museums that are members of the Laboratory. The initiative Museums + social is an example of this. Finally, Marcos addressed the case of Medialab Prado, an initiative of the City of Madrid, conceived as a citizen laboratory for production, research, and dissemination of cultural projects that explores the different ways of experimentation and collaborative learning that arises from digital networks. Medialab is a good example of an organization oriented to its audiences through their work with their local communities and their involvement in participatory projects. Both the closing discussion between speakers and participants, and the coffee break were highly rewarding due to the debate and the interest generated, as well as the networking that took place during the seminar.