When I first mentioned in my Twitter stream that I was traveling to Ghent for Audiences Europe's New Technologies for New Audiences quite a few of my network responded to tell me what a beautiful city it was. That shouldn't have seemed unusual however there did seem to be a lot of business connections to the Belgian city. I discovered that Nottingham is twinned with Ghent.
"Nottingham is twinned with four cities around the world. Ghent was twinned with Nottingham in 1985. Ghent is a city in the North East of Belgium, between Brussels and the North Sea. Its population is around 244,000 people. Local football teams from around Nottingham regularly play in tournaments in Ghent." http://bit.ly/rzGfS6
"Modern Ghent has a thriving digital economy and Nottingham has links with the Digipolis organisation which leads on the city's ICT strategies." http://bit.ly/sj9PX4
Connecting globally is an important as local engagement. The cultures which divide us can inform and educate us making diversity integral to ethical thinking. Working with Audiences Europe the necessity to understand what motivates a participatory customer base for cultural reward seems to be the objective of members. The emergence of social media, social networking and mobile technologies to make cultural participation richer beyond the activity of attendance is a great tool. Audience development marketing specialists are asking questions and learning how to reach and maintain connections with their audiences.
Audiences Europe has it's own social network called AEN Audiences Europe Network. A small team use this network to collate resources and develop knowledge for the profession is in it's infancy. With EU funding it is running off line events to encourage audience development agencies and their staff from across Europe to come together and share findings.
Audiences Europe Network http://www.audienceseurope.net