RESEARCH: Underrepresented, under-engaged and discriminated-against people are being overlooked – Mapping ‘The Hidden’

Cancer Research on Church Street, Liverpool

A national investigation to identify ‘hidden’ audiences – the many niche, underrepresented, under-engaged and discriminated-against people being overlooked in current nationwide arts audience research, policies and long-term strategies.


Mapping ‘The Hidden’ is an unfunded passion project, run as a collaboration between Arts Audience Insights CIC and Disconnected Bodies Ltd, and with the support of generously committed and like-minded arts/cultural organisations and community groups.

To facilitate a conversation around arts audience engagement with Art Council England, we’re looking to conduct an extensive national investigation to identify ‘hidden’ audiences. These are the many niche, underrepresented, under-engaged and discriminated-against people being overlooked in current nationwide arts audience research, policies and long-term strategies – often viewed as too insignificant or difficult to track in the eyes of large scale research projects.


The project will culminate in the production of an interactive map – a similar resource to The Audience Agency mapping, however one that doesn’t overlook the limitations of data collection through ticketing only. As you’ll be aware many personal, situational, cultural, institutional and historical factors affect the ability for many to engage with ticketed programmes.

Mapping ‘The Hidden’ will –

  • Identify who is not being considered in national research through data collection via ticketing.
  • Support a case that umbrella audience segmentation is too broad for effective engagement of niche or hidden audiences.
  • Celebrate the work taking place to reach underrepresented, under-engaged and discriminated groups.
  • Identify gaps in engagement on a national level.
  • Provide an overview of engagement trends.
  • Provide a searchable database and directory for both industry professionals and the public.


Moving Audience Research Forward

Mapping ‘The Hidden’ is contributing to national audience research up to this point; that has focused solely on limited umbrella segmentation. Our belief is within each segment or demographic are niche ‘sub-segments’, defined by personal, situational, cultural, institutional and historical factors. For us, grouping audiences solely through these broad categorisations is not only extremely presumptuous of their psychographics but also boarders on prejudice and discrimination by not considering the nuances within each group.

Allowing the future of arts participation to be shaped through current approaches fills us with dread.

By taking a personalised approach to mapping these subtleties, through individually approaching organisations, this project works to go some way in shifting focus to a more nuanced engagement methodology; through a first essential stage of identification.

What We Require From You

Working to an intentionally simple methodology, as a consideration of participant capacity; we require the completion of a short spreadsheet to summarise your work and audience over the last 18-24 months. We estimate this will take 30-60 minutes to complete. (no confidential or operational data required).

We ask for –

Part A. (required)

Time to complete – 30 minutes.

  • Name of the organisation/charity/community group.
  • Identification of the audience/community group/demographic. i.e young homeless.
  • Name of the project/activity.
  • Summary of the project/activity. i.e housing estate mural.
  • Depth of engagement.
  • Initial Engagement – Largely facilitator/practitioner led. In most cases work was presented to an audience with limited participation, co-creation or dialogue elements.
  • Moderate Engagement – Usually facilitator/practitioner led, but with some active audience participation that included interaction, co-creation or dialogue elements.
  • Deep Engagement – Mostly audience/participant led, can be supported by a facilitator/practitioner. Engagement is multidimensional with several interaction, co-creation or dialogue elements/opportunities.
  • Location. i.e region, city, post code. (for digital work – please provide your location)
  • Means of engagement – in-person/digital.

Part B. (optional)

Time to complete – an additional 30 minutes.

  • Overview of the organisation/charity/community group. i.e about us, mission statement, ethos.
  • Engagement statistics. i.e approximate number of attendees.
  • Further reading links. i.e website, social media

Please email to participate.

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