Mortiz von Rappard is the Project Director of Kultureprojekte Berlin Ltd., a not-for-profit organisation that works for the promotion, networking and mediation of culture. The organisation creates and manages cultural events in the Berlin region and works in close assocation with various projects and museums across the city. It is also responsible for the development of a cultural education programme and for hosting and/or funding venues and festivals. ADESTE sat down with Mortiz to learn more about his experience and lessons learned from working in audience development.
How is audience development perceived in your professional context and country?
Audience development in Germany seems to me pretty much lik a martketing task, although it is still not too widely spread. Germany has all these highly subsidised cultural institutions and festivals, where productions and programmes are valued according to their ingenious innovative qualities. Therefore, it unfortunately does not happen too often, that one would ask, "What are we presenting to which audience and is this already matching the richness of our society?"
What is an example of a successful or inspiring audience development project, programme or initiative your organisation has implemented?
This summer we presented the Interventionen, a crossing festival and conference focusing on refugees in arts and education. We successfully created a platform, where different people felt comfortable to meet: people who just made it to Germany met with people who are already here for longer. People with all sorts of backgrounds from the arts, politics, administration, education, social work, etc. realised they are all dealing with the same change. And we did our best to provide a really open and respectful space which focused not so much on big success or practical results, but on the process itself - the question of how we can proceed together.
What are some challenges you have encountered while working in audience development at Kultureprojekte?
At Interventionen we were working with refugees and being funded by the government. This make it pretty clear that things which seem to be obvious for one side are not necessarily clear at all for the other side. This gap was everywhere or at least assumed to be all over the place - from questions about planning the formats to pr and marketing.
Knowing what you know now, what advice or lessons learned would you share with professionals who are new to audience development?
Audience development always has two dimensions. It is not only about inviting people to become your audience. In addition to that it is about programming, presentation and the whole institutional context. So it is much less pr, but requires serious reflecting: what are you offering? Why should it be interesting for the people you would like to connect with? In the best case, you should just be getting to know them and together work out what is supposed to be next.
If you could sit down for a cup of coffee with peers across Europe who also work in audience development, what are some questions you would ask them?
I'd be interested to hear what they think about what are the limits of audience development: How far you would like to go in order to develop an audience? What is the ultimate audience? Is it finally one audience or is it a huge variety of very different audiences? What are suitable adjustments and what does beyond acceptance? How much is the audience itself supposed to be involved? How much is the audience itself involved in the process of audience development? Is it really the audience which whas to be developed?
Mortiz von Rappard studied drama research, German language and pedagogics at the University of Cologne. He understands himself as a mediator and works as a concept developer, dramaturg, creator and director at the border between scientific reseracher and artistic work. Our of that background he develops solutions for very different tasks and audiences. The spectrum ranges from exhibitions over radio programmes and urban projects to workshops and complex sereies of various events. Currently, Mortiz is developping different formats and events for the cultural education department of Kultureprojekte Berlin.