Lydia Johnson recently posted a thought-provoking piece at http://westmuse.wordpress.com/ entitled ‘The A word’. It discusses the rise of authenticity in discussions at AAM this year. While I didn’t get a chance to be there, I wonder whether anyone was talking about Pine and Gilmore’s recent book: Authenticity: What Consumers Really Want
One of the points Pine and Gilmore make is that while audiences crave authentic experiences, in our contemporary times, we cannot assume they will equate them to the cultural sector. They suggest that we need to re-imagine our audiences and ask ourselves ‘why’ they would want to connect with us and indeed, what it is that we offer that is valuable in this age of instant access. As contentious as some of their ideas may be, I think it is incredibly valuable to genuinely ask ourselves what someone who isn’t in the cultural sector might get from connecting with us. Pine and Gilmore suggest that in re-imagining our audiences, we need to explore new partnerships and relationships with and through them.
I would add that it is broader than social media. While this gives us the tools to connect, the value of participation and the expectations of new associations are deeper and more serious concerns. I consider this to be an exciting time to be in the sector – a time when transformations in governance and guardianship have the potential to establish notions of authenticity for future, not just past or existing audiences.