Tuesday 3 February 2015

You talkin' to me?

I’ve been thinking a lot about audiences/visitors/public/s recently, and trying to answer the question: ‘Who are we talking to?’ Of course, it’s not a simple question to answer as we’re talking to all sorts of audiences/visitors etc. Perhaps I should be asking: ‘Who do I want us to be talking to?’ But then that begs the question: ‘What do I want us to be saying?’

And then there’s the question: ‘How many audiences/visitors etc. can you talk to at once?’ The obvious answer might be: ‘One’, but even at the cinema there are different types of audience viewing a single film, let alone the different films that a cinema shows. I suppose those audiences etc. are varied because they want to get different things out of going to the cinema, and that’s the trick: to offer a single thing that appeals to, and satisfies, a range of audiences. But it’s not that straightforward. Cinemas just show films, theatres just plays and galleries just art. We're trying to 'show' lots of things.

We often talk about engaging ‘new audiences’, but do they exist? And what of existing audiences? A ‘new audience’ means a new audience to us – they’re not new new - but they probably already exist, it’s just that they’re going somewhere else for their enjoyment/engagement.

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