Is there an app for that? A case study of the potentials and limitations of the participator turn and networked publics for classical music audience engagement

Crawford, Garry, Gosling, Victoria, Bagnall, Gaynor, & Light, Ben (2014) Is there an app for that? A case study of the potentials and limitations of the participator turn and networked publics for classical music audience engagement. Information, Communication and Society, 17(9), pp. 1072-1085.

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The participatory turn, fuelled by discourses and rhetoric regarding social media, and in the aftermath of the crash of the early 2000s, enrols to some extent an idea of being able to deploy networks to achieve institutional aims. The arts and cultural sector in the UK, in the face of funding cuts, has been keen to engage with such ideas in order to demonstrate value for money; by improving the efficiency of their operations, improving their respective audience experience and ultimately increasing audience size and engagement. Drawing on a case study compiled via a collaborative research project with a UK-based symphony orchestra (UKSO) we interrogate the potentials of social media engagement for audience development work through participatory media and networked publics. We argue that the literature related to mobile phones and applications (‘apps’) has focused primarily on marketing for engagement where institutional contexts are concerned. In contrast, our analysis elucidates the broader potentials and limitations of social-media-enabled apps for audience development and engagement beyond a marketing paradigm. In the case of UKSO, it appears that the technologically deterministic discourses often associated with institutional enrolment of participatory media and networked publics may not necessarily apply due to classical music culture. More generally, this work raises the contradictory nature of networked publics and argues for increased critical engagement with the concept.

Impact and interest:

3 citations in Scopus
3 citations in Web of Science®
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ID Code: 68422
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Additional Information: This project was funded as part of the Digital R&D Fund for the Arts, supported by the AHRC, NESTA and the Arts Council England.
Keywords: Classical Music, Networked Publics, Social Media, Web 2.0, Apps, Audiences, Mobile Telephones, Networked Publics
DOI: 10.1080/1369118X.2013.877953
ISSN: 1369-118X
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > LANGUAGES COMMUNICATION AND CULTURE (200000) > CULTURAL STUDIES (200200)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Creative Industries Faculty
Past > Schools > School of Media, Entertainment & Creative Arts
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2014 The Author(s). Published by Taylor & Francis.
Copyright Statement: This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. The moral rights of the named author(s) have been asserted.
Deposited On: 14 Mar 2014 01:37
Last Modified: 30 Sep 2016 04:50

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