Šibenik's fortresses Friends Club recognized as an example of best practice in audience development at European level


In the context of the 2018 European Year of Cultural Heritage, Economía Creativa, the international team of experts in the field of cultural tourism, creative industries, digital and creative economics has conducted a study Cultural Heritage: Innovative Audience Development Best Practices.

The recently published study presents a total of 12 projects from 12 European countries (Spain, Portugal, Czech Republic, Poland, Italy, Romania, Sweden, United Kingdom, Germany, Hungary, Greece and Croatia), which have been designed and implemented by cultural stakeholders, from the public sector heritage managers, entrepreneurs and civil servants

Among the 12 identified best practice examples, as the only example from Croatia is the Šibenik's Fortresses Friends Club, project of a Public Institution in Culture Fortress of Culture Šibenik. Friends Club project shows that the process of audience development requires planning and designing innovative content, continuous and bidirectional communication with the audience, implementation of content on a high level and ultimately performance evaluation to enhance available contents, on which the institution continues to work.

"In the European Year of Cultural Heritage, participation in this study represents an excellent opportunity for sharing ideas and exchanging experiences with the other participants of the study, as well as spreading the recognition of the Fortresses beyond the borders of Croatia", said Gorana Barišić Bačelić, manager of the Institution.

Fortress of Culture Šibenik manages the revitalized St. Michael’s and Barone fortresses in Šibenik. Friends Club was founded in 2014, immediately after opening of the revitalized St. Michael’s fortress. Today, it counts over 5000 active members and makes an unavoidable part of the everyday life of named fortresses. The annual membership of Friends Club implies unlimited daily entrances on both revitalized fortresses, and much more. During the year, fortresses host numerous cultural and entertainment programs among which some are created especially for member - most of them are free of charge, and some are available at preferential prices - precisely aiming on developing of the audience and bringing cultural heritage closer to the local population. Part of the annual membership fee income is directed in preserving Šibenik's cultural heritage, for example the renovation of material cultural assets by the choice of Club members. Communication with members is continuous, bidirectional and takes place through various communication channels, with a view to their active participation, tracking and co-creation of specific contents. With listed activities and contents, Friends Club has become an example of successful community involvement in activities related to cultural heritage, or an example of how heritage can be a catalyst in community development, which is also recognized in the Economía Creativa's study. By the study, Fortress of Culture Šibenik has been presented to stakeholders in culture across Europe as well as to the wider European public, which once again confirmed the importance of the renewed Šibenik’s Fortresses in the promotion of Šibenik as a recognizable destination of cultural tourism.

The results of the study and identified examples of best practice in the audience development are officially presented in Poland, while on the website you can find all the details of the conducted research and watch the promotional video that came from it.

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