Panel held: "Museums for the Future: how to develop audience"

On Thursday, February 22, a panel discussion titled "Museums for the Future: Audience Development" was held at the packed AMZ Gallery in Zagreb. The event focused on key cultural sector issues such as attracting and retaining audiences, enhancing cultural participation, and maintaining audience engagement.

Cultural institutions and initiatives, both private and public, must continually self-evaluate to strengthen or maintain their roles. Communication is increasingly important for these institutions, which justify their actions and social purposes through effective interaction with the public. Permanent exhibitions and displays are the most direct forms of communicating ideas in public spaces.

The panel featured speakers who discussed audience development as a strategic process used by organizations to broaden and engage their target audiences. The approaches to audience development were presented by:

  • Wilhelmina Zelić Debeljak on behalf of the Director of the Zagreb City Museum, Aleksandra Berberih Slana
  • Daniel Tomičić and Tina Marković from Zagreb Design Week
  • Laura Orlić and Mate Marić from Artivist Company, moderated by Marija Jurić from Brodoto

The Zagreb City Museum showcased various activities aimed at making their museum and exhibitions more accessible to different social groups, highlighting educational programs such as "Living Pictures" and "The Third Saturday," which targets students.

Representatives from Zagreb Design Week discussed their journey in developing what is now recognized as the largest Croatian design festival, emphasizing audience needs and engagement strategies for future editions.

Artivist Company introduced the demo version of the "My Museum Experience" app, which uses digital technologies and storytelling to enhance museum interactions and provide personalized experiences that encourage repeat visits.

Following the presentations, a discussion highlighted the necessity of further democratizing museums through physical and social openness, cultural education, and collaboration between museums and educational institutions. Emphasizing cultural heritage as a collective good, the discussion underscored the role of heritage in shaping identities and understanding history and values, promoting education, economic progress, and intercultural dialogue.

The event was attended by representatives from numerous cultural institutions and initiatives and was co-financed by the Erasmus+ program as part of the COOLTOUR - Millennials for Cultural Heritage project. Other project outputs, you can see here.

You can watch the entire event recording below: