Baltic Audience Links
Baltic Audience Links aims at connecting cultural actors around the Baltic Sea, strengthening the civil society and its organisations as well as developing and building, through culture, the Baltic Sea Region society’s identity, both at local and regional levels. The idea is to connect a network of organisations, institutions and experts working with local development, culture, and social innovation to look strategically at the audiences they connect with on everyday basis. The aim is to contribute to complex common regional Baltic Sea cultural identity but also, on a macro level, to European identity. We want to bridge the Baltic Sea Region with European Union through joining efforts of two existing networks and one European project. We want to create a new constellation of actors within BSR and strengthen cooperation with BSR. The specific aim of this project is to widen and strengthen the existing networks: River//Cities and Access Europa, giving them a clear Baltic dimension.
Recently, in the cities of the Baltic Sea Region we observe a growing number of bottom-up initiatives that foster local networks in neighbourhoods and across the cities through cultural activities. In some cases these local initiatives turn into movements and aim to bring structural changes into governmental practices in the cities, providing direct links between decision makers and urban communities. By launching the Baltic Audience Links network we focused on the possibilities, challenges, approaches and cases in the field of participatory urban culture. By mapping the experience of the NGOs and practitioners, active in developing interconnections between people in the neighbourhoods and across the city through the cultural and non-formal educational activities, we seek to contribute into understanding of participatory approaches in audience development. In the perspective we seek to expand a small network that we managed to build by connecting it to the existing networks in the field of culture and non-formal education in the BSR region and EU. We see the potential of this pilot to become a growing network of cultural organisations, active in participatory urban development and experiences in developing tools for inclusive decision-making. The model, based on regular events in the cities, where partnering organisations are based, appeared to be very effective.
During this period the participants:
- Gathered at 4 big events in Sweden, Lithuania and Poland
- Formed working groups and applied for two EU and two BSR projects, focused on participatory urban culture. One of them, School of Citizen Artist for Social Transformation (organisations from Kaunas, Vilnius, Stockholm, Riga), approved by the Nordic Council in Lithuania, has just finished successfully.
- Took part in the discussions and workshops visiting each other’s event as invited experts.
- Published an Audience Development report on the BSR region
- Gathered extensive materials (case studies, reference articles, ogdanisations profiles) on the dedicated website www.balticaudiencelinks.eu and subsite of www.river-cities.eu
- Actively seek for new opportunities to continue collaboration and come up with new initiatives together! ☺