Training mobility Bilbao (25th – 27th NOVEMBER 2019)

During the last week of November, the CONNECT project celebrated the last learning mobility and 60 participants (partners / trainers, students and practitioners) got together in Bilbao to share their different experiences and challenges they had faced during the TTP (in DK, UK, PL, IT and ES) between October 2018 and June 2019. The event, hosted by the University of Deusto, was designed considering the lessons learned from previous events organized by the consortium. In this case, the partners agreed to combine different active and experiential learning formats. Thus, we avoided keynotes and fostered discussion tables and technical visits to a set of varied cultural organisations in the city. This was the result!

For those early arrivers, the mobility started with an optional technical visit to the Euskalduna Conference Centre by its general manager, Andoni Aldekoa, and coordinated by Jaime Cuenca (University of Deusto).


Picture 1: Visit to the Euskalduna Conference Centre

At 15h, the participants started to arrive at Azkuna Zentroa Alhóndiga Bilbao (Az), an important cultural centre downtown. After a welcome by Fernando Pérez (director of Az) and Macarena Cuenca (CONNECT coordinator), the afternoon started with a round of presentations of the TTP in the different countries by:

  • UK: Jonathan Goodacre (The Audience Agency)
  • DK: Solveig Thorborg (Center for Kunst & Interkultur)
  • IT: Simona Martini (Fondazione Fitzcarraldo) & Patrizia Braga (MeltingPro)
  • ES: Jaime Cuenca (University of Deusto)
  • PL: Marcin Poprawski (Uniwersytet Im. Adama Mickiewicza W Poznaniu)

This enabled the participants to get and overview of what has happened elsewhere, what the main topics of the action research projects were and what does the CONNECT’s legacy look like.


Picture 2: Fernando Pérez (director Az) and Macarena Cuenca (University of Deusto) opening the mobility

After the coffee break, participants and partners were mixed in groups of 6 and tasted briefly the artistic activity called wanderings. Even though there was no time enough to do it properly, this allowed the people to start knowing each other as the groups were intentionally formed of people from the 5 different countries.


Picture 3: Two participants in the middle of the wandering activity

The wandering activity ended up in the exhibition area with the presentation of the Az project “ENTZUN” by María ptqk, coordinator of the project, and Bárbara Epalza, Marketing manager of Az. Afterwards, the groups discussed the following in the different tables:

  • Considering your CONNECT experience and what you have learned about the project «Entzun», with which aspects of the audience should a cultural organisation try to empathise the most? Prioritize them!
  • From the previous exercise, select the most prioritary aspect and think of the following: What could the organisation do to tackle that aspect and empathise with the audience in that sense?

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Picture 4: Discussion tables in the exhibition area (Az)

On Tuesday, the programme started in the University of Deusto with a session on intercultural diversity and facilitation techniques by Jonathan Goodacre (The Audience Agency) and Solveig Thorborg (Center for Kunst & Interkultur).


Picture 5: Warming up getting to know how people greet in the different countries (Session on intercultural diversity)

After the coffee break, participants started to share their audience development challenges & solutions in a session lead by Alessandra Gariboldi (Fondazione Fitzcarraldo) and Macarena Cuenca (University of Deusto).

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Picture 6: Session on audience development challenges and solutions at the University of Deusto

At 13h we took the bus to Zorrozaurre, an island in Bilbao that is undergoing a urban regeneration project. There we had lunch at Espacio OPEN, an ecosystem of creative and social projects with a positive social impact since its inception in the Old Biscuit Factory of Bilbao.


Picture 7: Lunch at Espacio OPEN (Zorrozaurre, Bilbao)

Then we visited ZAWP (Zorrozaurre Art Work In Progress), a cultural organisation that took part in out TTP in Spain. After a presentation of the institution and a guided visit by Cristina Pascual, communication manager, Marcin Poprawski & Piotr Firych (Uniwersytet Im. Adama Mickiewicza W Poznaniu) lead the session entitled “Learning from failures”, where the participants shared some of their main failures and reflected on the learnings made.

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Picture 8: Marcin Poprawski leading the session “Learning from failures” in ZAWP

The day ended up with a networking dinner where we could share some funny moments.

On Wednesday, we met at 9h at the Fine Arts Museum in Bilbao, where Marta García Maruri, Deputy Director of Communication, shared with us an interesting presentation of the museum and its path towards audience development. This session was recorded by the museum and can be watched here.

After a short walk to the university, we continued with a World Café on audience development challenges & solutions. Three participants from different countries shared their challenges and posed a question to be discused in the different tables. The presenters were:

  • Carlos José Cavallé Pérez, Lázaro Galdiano Museum (Madrid, Spain) - Connecting socially-isolated peoplet hrough the arts, the memory and the heritage in two neighborhoods in Madrid
  • Tom Spurgin, Philharmonia Orchestra (London, UK) - How do we find relevance to an LGBTQ+ audience?
  • Silvia Bovio & Valeria La Corte, Triennale Milano Teatro (Milan, Italy) – How we have engaged the team?

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Picture 9: One of the tables during the World Café

Finally, after lunch, Anne Torreggiani (The Audience Agency) led the session “Looking into the future” where participants had a moment to reflect on their learnings and to think about our network and how to sustain it in the future. As a result, some days after the Bilbao mobility a public group on Facebook was created: the CONNECT Europe group was born. Long live the CONNECT group!!!

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Picture 10: Anne Torreggiani leading the session “Looking into the future”

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