My essential reads: co-creating value though audience engagement

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My essential reads: co-creating value though audience engagement

Older people and young girl facing camera with hands crossed over their chests
© To the Beat of a Different Drum, co-produced by RJC Dance and Yorkshire Dance. Photography: David Lindsay

By Ben Walmsley, Centre for Cultural Value


How can cultural value be co-created with audiences in a democratic and collaborative way? Ben Walmsley shares seven recommended reads with ideas from leading practitioners and researchers.

All of the seven essential reads act as provocations or calls to action – to engage in meaningful ways with audiences so we can generate the kinds of individual and collective meanings that make our lives special and purposeful.

He says: "I have always been fascinated not only by the value that audiences incur by engaging with arts and culture but also by the value of what they bring to arts and cultural activities in return – by questions of meaning-making, catharsis, artistic insight and interpretation. But I was often (and still am) frustrated by the fact that audiences are systematically left out of the meaning-making phases of arts and cultural activities. I believe that opportunities for collective meaning-making will enable cultural organisations to build stronger relationships with their audiences, which will be vital if they are to recover and rebuild from the devastation wreaked by the Covid-19 crisis. So I have chosen the following pieces because they all offer unique insights into how co-creating value can radically enhance cultural experiences for both cultural producers and audiences."

Our series of My Essential Reads features academics and practitioners sharing their top recommended reading in an area of cultural value.

Published: 2020
Resource type: Essential reads