SuSy – Zsófia Gacsal in Budapest
The main task of our intern was a research on WSF’s related artists and the more effective connection with them. Based on interviews and questionnaries, the Foundation decided to create and start a new Facebook-page for only professinal dancers and artist (WSF PRO https://www.facebook.com/wsfpro/).
From the born of the bilingual page, it gained 460 followers from 33 different countries. We are constatnly working on to increase the number of our followers, because based on the feedbacks that platform is the fastest and the most effective communication form of the Foundation.
Between 22nd August 2016 and 22nd February 2017, I took part in the SuSy - Support System programme of Life Long Burning at Workshop Foundation (WSF) in Budapest, Hungary:
“My main focus was mapping the wants and needs of dancers and choreographers with regards to social media and implementing these changes on Facebook and WSF’s official website. The Foundation is dedicated to the professionals works with and thus WSF wants to provide them with all the necessary information to further their careers. Dancers and choreographers alike expressed a need for more direct information about opportunities for professionals so that they can connect more with local and foreign (especially EU) dancers and companies and also because they deem it important to develop within their chosen career-path.
My first action was to talk to the Managing Director, Gergely Talló about the then-current state of WSF’s Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/wsf.hu/) and its website (http://wsf.hu/) - how they were managed, what content was being shared and with what frequency. Most importantly, we talked about what content was shown as interesting/most clicked by visitors in the graphs. Based on these discussions, I could get a general picture of what type of posts could mainly be the centre of attention for dancers and choreographers.
However, since these pages are not only for professionals, but amateurs and dance-enthusiasts alike, the data was not reliable. I asked for the help of Tünde Moravcsik, a paid contractor, who is responsible for the artistic content. From the first moment on, she served an artistic mentor for me for this project. It was with her with whom I started to talk to artists who use our studios (both on the Buda and the Pest side of the city) for creating a new piece, renewing one or for practicing for entrance exams for higher dance education.
In the research phase, not only did we talk to the dancers, but we also “looked around” in the EU. Meaning that we went on popular EU-based websites, such as the LLB partners’ websites and Facebook pages, to see what works and what practices should we also implement on our online surfaces. Moreover, we researched comprehensive information providing organisations, for instance, On the Move.
We drew the conclusions based on the gathered information together with Tünde. Several ideas came up as we looked through our list, with sometimes very person-specific needs, but three thoughts were shared by everyone:
1. Concerning the website: it was not always up-to-date, so it was not used as much. Moreover, the English version of the website did not have as much information as the Hungarian one, so English-speaking dancers could not get the same level of service as Hungarian-speakers.
2. Concerning connecting with local and foreign companies: dancers were and are very much interested in each other’s work. Going to someone’s showing or performance can mean the beginning of new collaborations or invitations to companies. They were in need of a source that would provide them with all the necessary information so that dancers and choreographers had more chances to meet.
3. Concerning our FB page: since we do have regular classes for amateurs in our studios, we have to share news about those. This meant that our FB feed was filled with information not relevant to professional dancers and they missed some of the vital information.
Based on the feedback, the first step I took was to update the website, with language relevant content (this means that if something is only meant for Hungarian-speaking participants or applicants, then it only appears on the Hungarian version), and I archived old, not “click-worthy” sub-pages.
The second step I took was to restart the Dance Recommendatory (Táncajánló in Hungarian). The Dance Recommendatory is a collection of performances, focusing on Budapest-based showings, for the coming month. In this, we include premiers, foreign performances, and even dance programmes for childrens so the youngest members of society have the chance to see dance. We do not impose restrictions with regards to genre, which helps dancers from all walks of life to connect and to see each other’s work.
The third and most important step was to go live with WSF PRO in the beginning of October 2016, a Facebook page dedicated to professional dancers (https://www.facebook.com/wsfpro/). It is international, so regardless of language, one can join the community, but first and foremost the page is for Hungarian dancers. Here, we share (most from countries of the EU) news, calls, residency opportunities, and developmental possibilities for professional dancers and choreographers strictly. This is also the online surface which we use as a means of advertising our workshops and masterclasses (such as the ones with TAO Dance Theatre, Meg Stuart, Anton Lachky Company etc.).
The pilot-period of the Facebook page was successful, since a lot of the dancers we work with now could receive the information necessary for their career development and they could apply for residencies, masterclasses etc. in time.
The other reason we deemed the pilot lucrative was because more and more foreign dancers who do not reside in Hungary are signing up on our page. We have followers from a lot of countries, who are members of the EU, just like Germany, the UK, Italy, Austria, Spain, and France amongst many other countries. We have followers outside of the EU as well: for example, from the USA, India, Switzerland, and the United Arab Emirates. These professionals either heard of us through one of our workshop calls or they contacted us about practice-possibilities in the city while they are in Hungary and they saw the link in our signature. This means that we are widening our perspective and it is easier for dancers to communicate with each other.
All in all, in my opinion, the needs of the artists concerning online content were successfully identified and we could implement changes in our website and FB pages that help them in realising their goals. They can easily apply for calls, masterclasses, residencies etc. and they also have the chance to connect more with professionals with similar interests.”
22.08.16 - 22.03.17