About this theme

The national pilots made a significant contribution to the capacity of a wide range of arts and cultural organisations to understand and engage audiences. The capacity to create audience development and marketing partnerships was a particular strength.

The creation and testing of toolkits has enhanced the capacity of arts and cultural organisations to build engagement particularly with the two segments Dinner and a show and Family and community focused. Similarly, the arts and cultural sector will gain capacity from the learning contained in project case studies that are available for download.

With ever greater demands on limited resources, it is increasingly important for organisations to better understand audiences in order to retain the ones they have and to engage with new audiences and participants.

&Co's work in Thirsk is a good example of how short training sessions can increase the capacity of largely volunteer arts producers to think strategically about audience development and to understand how to collect audience data and feedback.

Related case studies

  • Arts Nation, North - North East, North West, Yorkshire
    New toolkits for reaching Dinner and a show and Family and community focused

Collecting and analysing audience data

Even where arts organisations are staffed by professionals with audience development and marketing expertise, there may be skills gaps or insufficient resource available for the systematic collection and analysis of audience and market data.

At the Bringing data segmentation to life audience workshops, 75 per cent of local authority participants reported that they had little or no previous knowledge of the Arts Audiences Insight model and similar finding for arts organisations were noted by Audiences Development Agencies in the North and West Midlands.

The Arts Nation pilot responded imaginatively to the challenge of increasing audience development and marketing capacity. A good example is All About Audiences which worked with five arts venues in the north east supporting them in the use of post code data and marketing initiatives' that focused on the Dinner and a show segment.

Capacity-building is particularly valuable when it is bespoke. In the East of England one-to-one and group workshops helped build capacity in data analysis, qualitative research and evidence-based strategic planning. Nationally, the Bringing data segmentation to life project improved the understanding of local authority arts officers by allowing them to 'meet the segments'.