What experiences do visitors look for?

What experiences do visitors look for?

By Sarah Boiling


Based on research conducted on more than 10,000 visitors across 65 galleries in England and Wales, this document provides insights into what different audiences and visitor groups expect from their cultural experiences.

I am going to talk about some visitor research we undertook last year across the country about gallery visitors. It is based on quantitative research and I hope it will have practical relevance to your own organisations. We wanted to explore how different visitors behave.

Data capture in the visual arts sector presents some challenges: for many exhibitions there is no ticketing so no data capture is carried out. Free admission also means there is no relation between the success of a particular exhibition and the success of the gallery.

Many galleries judge their success by how they engage with quite a narrow band of people who are other curators, their peers and people in the arts world and sometimes the audience comes a little low down that list. Despite that, lots of people are doing fantastic audience research in galleries and are enthusiastic to know more about audiences. There is also a keenness amongst many galleries to collaborate and share insights about visitors.

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Experience Galleries Research
Resource type: Research | Published: 2013