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Our new Audience Development Strategy will result in institutional transformation as well as informing our programme choices.
When the Irish Architecture Foundation was founded seventeen years ago, the intention was that this new cultural organisation would be independent, formative and – above all else – ensure that architecture served all of the people.
For nearly two decades, the IAF has established a network and track record of delivering major projects, primarily aimed at developing audiences for architecture in Ireland, while also raising the profile of Irish architecture abroad. We have an audience that is engaged and growing, a network that is national and international, a sector that is active and responsive, a following that is in need of innovative solutions and creative responses to urgent issues in the contemporary built world.
Of course, we are jubilant that we are surpassing audience targets with high profile projects, but our audience was not diversifying as fast as it was growing. The demographic landscape of our cities, towns and villages is changing as fast as our populations grow. As cultural and creative practitioners, we must respond to this demographic challenge and provide equal access to opportunities and resources for people who might otherwise be excluded or marginalised.
Mentored by Tilting the Lens and Blue Line Consulting we focused our attention on the people that we have not been engaging with and opened a much-needed discussion with them about the IAF and architecture in general. Through their generosity they helped us begin a process of critical self-reflection and acknowledgment of the gaps in our experience and practice. The intended outcome goes beyond audience development and will result in institutional transformation as well as informing our programme choices.
Like the Arts Council’s Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Toolkit, also published this year, we hope our Audience Development Strategy and the critical path to create it will serve as a template, guide and resource for other organisations in their journey to more equitably deliver their work and programmes.
This document is a statement of intent – the first step in a longer journey. As such, it is essential to everything we do.
Download the new IAF Audience Development Strategy (PDF, 590 KB).