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The core audience for contemporary music overwhelmingly belongs to an educational elite and audience members’ experiences can vary strongly according to their knowledge of the art form. Recent audience research has emphasised the need to broaden and diversify the audience base for contemporary music, calling for greater participation and more attention to be paid to creating positive, inclusive concert-going experiences.

The central aim of this workshop is to consider how we relate to audiences in the field of contemporary music and to encourage reflection on the ways in which greater audience diversity could be reached. Do existing concert and presentation formats need to be rethought in order to speak more effectively to new audiences? In how far does the music itself need to adapt? Should the audience already be taken into account when developing an artistic idea or are informative/outreach events or alternative formats enough to stimulate curiosity and impart knowledge about the art form?

Taking demographic data and research on the interests and views of audience members as a foundation, we would like to encourage discussion on these topics and develop ways of connecting with new audiences from different social backgrounds and walks of life.


In this workshop, we will seek to develop strategies that encourage participation from audiences and bring them into a dialogue. The first part of the day will present a practical, step-by-step guide to creating and implementing a strategy, drawing on statistics and concepts from research on contemporary music audiences and from the audience development literature. Gina Emerson will additionally present insights from her recent doctoral dissertation on the audience experience of contemporary music. Participants can either bring an existing project idea to work on or choose to develop a new idea at the workshop.

In the second half, Meriel Price will lead a creative group work session and offer ideas for new ways of reaching and connecting effectively with audiences. The workshop will overall take a general view of audience development, one that is centred around encouraging practices that consider the audience’s viewpoint and look to creatively and sustainably engage new audience members in the realm of contemporary music.

What is Audience Development?

Audience development is a broad term for activities carried out by arts organisations with the aim of directly addressing and attracting attendees. It encompasses tasks from different organisational areas, covering aspects of marketing and PR, programming and education projects. Audience development strategies can focus on strengthening connections with existing audience members or on seeking to establish relationships with new attendees, or both. While marketing as a practice typically places more of an emphasis on quantity and increasing visitor numbers, audience development centres on the qualitative aspects of the institution-audience or artist-audience relationship and takes into account many aspects of the audience experience.

  • When: 05.06.2020
  • Where: online via Zoom
  • Language: english
  • Mentors: Gina Emerson und Meriel Price
  • Registration required: Please register by 01 June 2020 at marketing [​at​]
  • Costs: none
  • target group: The workshop is directed at members of the free contemporary music scene but is open to interested parties from other art forms.
  • Veranstalter: field notes / inm


9am - 1pm Theory/Strategy Design with Gina Emerson
1pm - 2pm Lunch
2pm - 5pm Creative Session with Meriel Price

Workshop Leaders

Gina Emerson is a researcher and writer on contemporary music, based in Berlin. She is a PhD candidate in Musicology at the Institute for Cultural Innovation Research (IKI) at Hamburg University of Music and Drama. She has been working with the Ulysses Network for contemporary music since November 2016 and recently completed her doctoral thesis, Between the ‘Experimental’ and the ‘Accessible’: Investigating the Audience Experience of Contemporary Classical Music, as part of the Network’s Audience Research project. For this, she conducted audience surveys at contemporary classical music concerts from a range of institutions across Europe, including IRCAM, the Darmstadt Summer Course for New Music, Snape Maltings and the Ultima Festival.

Prior to this, she was a Research Associate with the 3DMIN (Design, Development and Dissemination of New Musical Instruments) project at the Technical University of Berlin. Her research interests include audience experience, cultural participation, empirical aesthetics and the reception of contemporary music and new music technologies.

Meriel Price makes music theatre works is a saxophonist, actress/performer & visual artist. Her music theatre work staring at the bin is commissioned by the Munich Biennale 2016. She performs with the Berlin Philharmonic, MDR Symphony Orchestra, stargaze, Redux a.o. As a soloist she works closely with composers on works written for her. She often combines her visual art with music such as illustrating Wer ist der Mächtigste auf Erden?, a book with CD published by NordSüd, performed at the Lucerne Festival. Her illustrations were also made into puppets by the Basler Marionettentheater. She produced shadow puppets for the Schlossmediale, Switzerland & installations for the Tempelhof Theaterfest, Martinu Festtage, Basel a.o. She regularly performs in music theatre a.o. in the Berliner Ensemble, Munich Biennale, Radial System, Theater Basel. She founded the music theatre duo Aside & is a member of DieOrdnungDerDinge.