CultureHive > Research > A digest of information available on audiences in the North East
19th April 2013 Sara Lock

A digest of information available on audiences in the North East

By: Morris Hargreaves McIntyre

A report exploring existing research on museum and gallery audiences in the UK, with a particular emphasis on the North East. The digest includes factors informing people’s decisions about leisure time, how families make the decision to visit, advance planning and incidental visiting, frequency of visits, and the barriers to attendance.


The North East Museums Hub led by Tyne & Wear Museums commissioned Morris Hargreaves McIntyre to undertake a survey of existing research on museum and gallery audiences in the UK, with a particular focus where possible on the North East region.

The aim of this project is to provide the North East with a digest of the wealth of information currently available nationally on audiences, to avoid unnecessary duplication of extant knowledge and help to focus the hub's future research plans.

In particular, the digest would cover:

Drivers to visiting

  • Factors informing people's decisions on how they spend their leisure time
  • How families make the decision to visit
  • Advance planning and incidental visiting
  • The prompts for visiting, including the role of special events and exhibitions and the types of exhibitions and events that appeal to visitors
  • How often visitors visit
  • What the barriers to attendance are for infrequent/non-attenders

  • Promotional tools

  • Which promotional tools are most effective in reaching specific audiences (this is general audiences, but specifically older people, young people and people from lower socio-economic grades)
  • Exploration of new methods used to reach wider audiences
  • The potential role of emerging communications tools within the museum sector
  • Tyne & Wear museums were particularly interested in gaining practical insight into the potential for marketing exhibitions, events and the general offer to current and potential audiences. We have used case studies to illustrate examples of marketing good practice where possible.

    Trends in leisure time and the factors affecting how it is spent

    Leisure time in the UK: time pressured

    The UK has the longest working week in Europe: UK adults have 60 hours of free time per week on average. The average number of hours of free time has reduced over the past three decades (The Henley Centre 2000a).

    There is a need to balance the exertion of work by seeking and enjoying leisure time as an end in its own right (Nvision 2006b).

    Lots of leisure pursuits are now competing for limited free time. Time has become a currency for many people; value for time is just as important as value for money (The Henley Centre 2000a).

    Download the report to read more

    | Published:2013

    Smart tags: visitors museum museums audience development barriers behaviour