smARTplaces - A European Audience Development Project

smARTplaces is a visionary, long-term European audience development project aiming to revolutionise the way culture and art can be perceived and consumed, using digital technology and new forms of cultural mediation. It is a larger scale cooperation project delivered by a partnership of 8 museums and cultural institutions from 6 different countries in Europe (supported by 2 research partners) and co-funded by the Creative Europe Programme of the European Union. From 2016 to 2020 more than 55 different activities with a distinctive digital link are aiming to address diverse segments within the existing and prospective audiences of each institution.

The project focuses on developing and testing new approaches to audience development, audience engagement, co-creation, capacity building within the institutions, international exposure of art exhibitions and new creative works. With a coherent and multi-layered use of digital technology,social web tools, adaptive storytelling techniques as well as joint exhibitions and on- and offline activities, the partnering institutions will be turned into smARTplaces: Cultural spaces with features that will enable them to communicate with and engage audiences across Europe and within the international partner network.

The project will move away from the passive visitor experience and instead will connect audiences by creating a new digital cultural space which will grow to become an innovative European Cultural Site Network, that is: dialogic, linked, interactive, educational, integrated, accessible, audience engaging and involving.

To succeed with the overall ambitions the project also focuses on change management and emphasizes the inclusion of cultural mediation, staff training and knowledge exchange. A set of internal training activities will augment internal perception as well as increase the capabilities for digital media usage within a cultural, content-management and creative context.

The project network comprises eight cultural institutions and two universities from eight countries:

  • Dortmunder U - Centre for Art and Creativity, Dortmund (Germany)
  • Musée de Picardie, Amiens (France)
  • WIELS Contemporary Art Centre, Brussels (Belgium)
  • ETOPIA - Centre for Art and Technology, Zaragoza (Spain)
  • Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven (Netherlands)
  • ZKM I Center for Art and Media, Karlsruhe (Germany)
  • Azkuna Zentroa, Bilbao (Spain)
  • Research Partner: Birmingham Centre for Media and Cultural Research, Birmingham City University (UK)
  • Technology Partner: Oulu University of Applied Sciences (Finland)
  • Associated partner: Liechtenstein National Museum, Vaduz (Liechtenstein)

Co-funded by the Creative Europe Programme of the European Union


With the smARTplaces app, you’ll effectively have seven European museums in your pocket and you’ll be able to visit five countries in a single day. Discover the Van Abbemuseum and the other smARTplaces partner museums in various ways: go on a virtual Art Hunt, find your way to the museum with the AR Compass and discover the museum collection in different story worlds. The app is now available for iOS and Android. smARTplaces is a large European development project involving 7 cultural institutions and 2 research partners from 7 countries. These partners have a common goal: to revolutionise the way people perceive and consume culture and art, using digital technology and new forms of cultural mediation. smARTplaces was made possible by the Creative Europe Program of the European Union.