Smart Culture minor creates great experiences

A digital smart tour for people with low literacy skills, a Zuiderzee experience for families with young children and a chatbot with podcasts for young performers Over the past semester, fourth year Leisure & Events Management students taking the Smart Culture minor have devised interesting solutions to problems in the culture sector. 'I can work with your communication plan. My compliments!' said an enthusiastic Mariella Schohaus from Amsterdam Public Library at the final presentations.

In the Smart Culture minor, students conduct research in groups into an issue from the culture sector, and then develop an innovative concept as a solution. This can be anything from performing arts and entertainment to museums, games, artists and dance festivals. The term Smart refers to the focus on effective ways of creating experiences which are interactive and meaningful.

Over the past six months, seven groups have gone through a complete design thinking process in four sprints. After research and concept development, they tested prototypes among the target group and experts. Ultimately, they had to produce an implementation plan that included consumer appeal, marketing, (financial) viability and budget.

Smart Tour of Amsterdam Public library
The Live and Learn Hub (leef- en leerpunt) of Amsterdam Public Library (OBA) wants to develop a smart tour for people with low literacy skills on the website of OBA Bijlmerplein. This aim is to involve them more in the Librarys activities and to encourage them to come back for future initiatives. The group of students who worked on this decided to focus on immigrants who want to learn Dutch. After extensive desk and field research and the creation of a number of personas, the group produced subtitled videos in combination with photos and short texts in a 360o tour. The concept has already been successfully tested on the target group.

Young Roots
The Amsterdam Roots Festival wants to engage more with young people. How do they do this? By letting young people organise small-scale events themselves, thought the Young Roots group. Young people themselves know best what they enjoy. And they also have their own network, so it’s easy to create a community in which the young organisers are micro-influencers. Creating your dream event sounds easier than it is. Suddenly you’re no longer a follower, you have to design and set up an event yourself. 'It’s a good idea to start small', explains student Elisa. 'You have to take things slowly.' Amsterdam Roots Festival has now offered one of the students a job to implement this concept. Great news!

Broader audience
Many theatres are looking to appeal to a broader audience. It’s not easy to attract young people or people with a different cultural background to cultural venues. But the student teams have successfully produced end products for the arts venue De Vorstin in Hilversum and the collaborating arts venues Podium Mozaïek in Amsterdam West and Bijlmer Parktheater in Amsterdam Zuidoost which the clients will be able to implement in practice.

The ultimate indoor festival experience with lots of input from local youngsters in 'Create your own festival', and personal communication by giving the theatre a face through a number of different marketing activities and social media, are impressive results. Young people use blogs to encourage style and pleasure seekers of their own age to attend specific events.

Zuiderzee Experience
SAIL Amsterdam 2020 wants to give visitors an unforgettable and, at the same time, an educational experience. The Zuiderzee Experience group devised the Modern Treasure Hunter game, whereby children visiting SAIL can earn treasure by completing a number of fun learning tasks, supported by an app and actors with treasure cards.

Local talent
The two other teams also presented interesting concepts. The Moon Jelly group devised a fun way of transferring knowledge using a chatbot in combination with podcasts on an online platform for young musicians for the music marketing agency of the same name. Next year, the small-scale Festimi festival can organise a bigger event involving local residents, local talent and the local authority.

As well as being a lecturer, coordinator Marie-Ange de Kort is also associated, as a researcher, with the Urban Leisure & Tourism Lab and is therefore involved in the development of Campus on the IJ, the future network of living labs of Inholland Amsterdam/Diemen. She reflects: 'In this minor, research and design process go hand in hand. The issues are complex, so a few individual ideas are not enough. Luckily, over the past six months, our students have demonstrated that they can produce a coherent concept. I'm proud of the end result!'

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