KSO's pilot description in the Age-friendly orchestra manual
New manual prompts discussion on audience outreach work by orchestras aimed at senior citizens
What is an age-friendly orchestra? How can we produce services for those senior citizens who are no longer able to go to orchestra performances?
These questions and more are addressed in the manual just published by the Association of Finnish Symphony Orchestras, prepared as a tool for designing services provided by orchestras to senior citizens outside concert venues. The manual enables orchestras to improve their accessibility and their ability to produce meaningful musical experiences for people of all ages. The manual is also useful for other operators working with senior citizens in the arts and culture sector, and in the social welfare and health care sector.
The two-year Accessible Orchestras project involved orchestras developing activities aimed at senior citizens in Finland and in the UK. Coordinated by the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra with the Association of Finnish Symphony Orchestras, the project sought to improve equal access to arts and culture by finding ways of bringing orchestras to those who are no longer able to go to orchestra performances.
The manual focuses on visits to social welfare and health care institutions and on digital content produced by orchestras, these having been identified as essential ways of reaching those senior citizens who are no longer able to attend concerts at concert venues. The manual was written by Annika Kukkonen, Education Manager with the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra, and Maria Mäkinen, network designer and expert in cultural services for the elderly.
The manual and the underlying development efforts are rooted in partnerships and networks and based on a customer-oriented design concept. The participation of partner orchestras in the Accessible Orchestras project was vital for taking the work forward, in joint design work and in piloting the activities. Apart from the Helsinki Philharmonic, the project involved the Kuopio Symphony Orchestra, the Lapland Chamber Orchestra, the Tapiola Sinfonietta and the Turku Philharmonic Orchestra.
The pilots run by the partner orchestras in spring 2021 focused on residential care services (Turku Philharmonic and Helsinki Philharmonic), daytime activities for senior citizens (Kuopio Symphony Orchestra), home care services (Lapland Chamber Orchestra) and a hospital (Tapiola Sinfonietta). The pilots further involved developing digital content (Helsinki Philharmonic, Kuopio Symphony Orchestra, Tapiola Sinfonietta), creative group activities (Turku Philharmonic) and volunteer work (Lapland Chamber Orchestra). Descriptions of each pilot can be found in the Age-friendly orchestra manual.
Concluding in November 2021, the Accessible Orchestras project was awarded a special grant by the Finnish Ministry of Education and Culture in 2020. The Metropolia University of Applied Sciences in Helsinki provided assistance in project evaluation and research.
Annika Kukkonen, Education Manager, Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra, tel. +358 40 158 2223, annika.kukkonen(at)hel.fi