Mixed Arts Venues (MAVs) have become increasingly visible in recent years presenting innovative programmes of independent film, digital and non digital arts, and running popular social spaces that serve local communities. A network of six MAV venues: Cornerhouse (Manchester), FACT (Liverpool), Watershed (Bristol), Broadway (Nottingham), Showroom (Sheffield) and Tyneside Cinema (Newcastle), was successfully awarded funding from the Cultural Leadership Programme to explore personalisation of audience experiences and its impact on cultural leadership. This article – the dissemination report – is part of the evaluation, and one of the outcomes of this project.
The project began by debating what we understood by personalisation and how it worked within our programmes and for audiences. John Knell describes personalisation where a soft ‘P’ is creating new customer experiences by using new channels to reach audiences and increased audience interactivity, and with hard ‘P’ where the audience co-produces the art with artists and organisations, often using open source principles. We felt that many of our venues already ran personalised projects. For example, a soft ‘P’ would be Showroom’s Sensoria festival that ran an audio tour around Sheffield, which people could download to their ipods and then use them to take themselves to (in)famous places in the city. Or a hard ‘P’ example is Cornerhouse’s LiveWire (a young people led programme that co-produces work with artists).