Audience Development Programme

Project Name 

Audience Development Programme

Project Partners 

The Audience Agency and Galway Culture Company 

Role of Galway Culture Company 

Funder and Lead Partner 

Strategic Aim 

This project falls under our third strategic aim;
Provide Supports to the Cultural and Creative Sector

Project Description 

Audience Development has been an integral part of the ambition of the European Capital of Culture and for its legacy. This has included the active participation of the cultural organisations of Galway, with programmes and projects increasing and diversifying public engagement in arts, culture and heritage in the area.

Galway Culture Company would like to build on these successes with a professional development programme led by The Audience Agency. It will be delivered through a series of in-person workshops taking place over the course of four months in 2024. The Audience Agency will also be available for advice and support as necessary for organisations. 

The programme will be built on the concept of producing an audience development plan based on The Audience Agency’s ‘Guide to Audience Development’ and on two European projects – Adeste and Connect, the latter of which developed a coherent framework for audience development that can be used in a range of international contexts.

Features of the programme include: 

  • Five in-person workshops of 3-4 hours duration for 20 organisations selected through an open call
  • A mix of presentation and participatory elements
  • Practical in scope, with participants developing a plan of action over the course of the series, with case studies and examples included 
  • Appropriate for a range of organisations, covering visual and performing arts, venue and touring/community activity and of different scales. It is conceived of being for professional organisations with full-time staff that have at least some responsibility for audience engagement.
  • Delivered by Jonathan Goodacre and Penny Mills from The Audience Agency with other guest interventions from industry professionals

Workshop Structure: 

Workshop 1: The key principles of Audience Development

This first session will introduce the concept of Audience Development. It will match this with your vision and mission, looking at what your aims are for audience engagement.

Workshop 2: Understanding Audiences

This workshop will look at what we already know about our audiences, what we would like to find out about them and how to carry this out. We will also look at key concepts such as segmentation and targeting. 

Workshop 3: Developing Strategies

Having considered what it is that we want to achieve and gained knowledge about our audiences, we will develop these into workable strategies, inspired by examples of successful case studies.

Workshop 4: Implementing strategies

Given our worked-up strategies, we will look at the way that programming, communications, community interaction and other elements combine together to deliver audience development.

Workshop 5: Evaluation and Next Steps

In this final workshop we will investigate how we can assess how successful our audience development has been and what next steps might be. Participants will complete their audience development strategy.

Project Outcomes – what we expect from this project 

Through a very successful open call, 16 Galway organisations were selected to take part in the programme which will be delivered over 5 sessions. 

The selected organisations were Architecture at the Edge, Ardán, Blue Teapot Theatre Company, Branar, Crew Academy West, Culture Works, Fíbín sa Taibhdhearc, Galway Arts Centre, Galway City Council, Night Time Economy Programme, Galway Film Fleadh, Galway Film Society, Macnas, Music Generation Galway City, Music Generation Galway County, Pálás and Rise Choir.

Read more about the organisations selected here. 

How this project is funded 

This project is funded by Galway Culture Company, which is supported by the Government of Ireland under the National Development Plan through the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media.


The Audience Development Programme was delivered in 2024.