20/07/2004

Conference to examine growth potential for arts audiences

Belfast is this week hosting one of the biggest groups of arts marketing professionals ever assembled in the UK.

More than 400 delegates will be attending the Arts Marketing Association’s annual conference, which takes place at Belfast's Waterfront Hall this coming Thursday and Friday.

The conference – the fastest selling in the AMA’s history – will have the theme, ‘How does your garden grow?’, and will explore the most effective means to develop audiences for the arts, including:
  • ‘Planting the Seeds’: what do we know about developing audiences and what does this mean?
  • ‘Encouraging Growth’: cultivating and broadening audiences; and
  • ‘Breaking New Ground’: diversifying in programming.


Commenting on the conference, Lord Mayor of Belfast, Councillor Tom Ekin, who is hosting a civic reception at City Hall for the delegates on Wednesday night, said: “Belfast City Council was particularly keen to support the Arts Marketing Association conference because of our commitment to enhancing access to cultural activity right across the city for local communities and visitors alike.

"We are also pleased to have provided ten partially subsidised bursary places to help Belfast-based arts professionals to attend the conference – because we value the commitment of professionals working in the sector and recognise the importance of investing in those individuals’ development.”

Among the leading speakers from the arts and commercial sectors is James Harkin, from the Demos Associates think tank, who contends that “50 is the new 30” for arts audiences. Local contributors include Mary Trainor, of the Ulster Orchestra; Sally Montgomery, of W5 Science and Discovery Centre; Pauline Hadaway, from Belfast Exposed; and Sean Kelly, of the Cathedral Quarter Arts Festival.

Further conference details and delegate list are available at http://www.a-m-a.co.uk/conference2004/.

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