Arts Audience Insights CIC

Working to increase access to the arts for traditionally unengaged, underrepresented and discriminated audiences, we partner with arts organisations, in conjunction with community groups and charities, to conduct psychographic research into an audience’s participation with the arts.

Our research is conducted as an element of an established programme or through the design of an outcome-specific offering.

Our Work

Through research and close collaborations with arts organisations, we inform future approaches to audience development, allowing for more democratised participation with the arts; with the hope of contributing to Art Council England’s equality and public engagement work and future strategy.

Our work is supported through three pathways, Arts Council England grant funding, the hosting of audience engagement workshops for arts organisations and consultations with our Equality Advisory Board, for organisations wishing to develop their equality policy and practices.

Our Mission

Through the exploration of the psychological needs and preferences of traditionally unengaged, underrepresented and discriminated audiences, our mission is to widen access through increased opportunities for participation and active removal of barriers to engagement to ensure the arts remain relevant and essential to the wider public good.

Arts audiences have clear and determined psychologies influencing their engagement with the arts. Understanding this psychological make-up is essential to ensure the industry appreciates the personal, situational, cultural, institutional and historical factors of audience groups, that may be influencing their willingness to engage.

Our passion lies in working with niche and innovative people and projects to develop a wider body of audience engagement research and in turn enabling more people to choose, create and take part in brilliant arts experiences.

How Our Work is Beneficial

For arts and culture organisations

Through collaborative research, partnering organisations will have a better understanding of their audience and how to effectively engage and develop them, feeding into their equality and diversity planning. As a consequence, the organisation will begin/continue to meet Arts Council England’s equality and public development criteria, demonstrating a clearer public value in grant funding applications whilst their name is part of wider conversations.

For unengaged, discriminated & underrepresented audiences

Through specific projects and collaborations with community groups and charities, audiences will be presented with cultural offerings that are more relevant, easier to access and that deepen their experience with the arts. From this starting point, it is hoped continued engagement take place once barriers to participation have been reduced, new motivations introduced and pre-held misconceptions challenged.

For audience engagement theory & ACE audience participation strategy

All research findings will be made public and submitted to ACE as to contribute to their future public engagement planning. New areas of focus will be suggested to be included within long-term strategies to ensure that audiences remain the main beneficiaries of the industry.

Our Activity

Moving beyond dead-end data.

It’s a dangerous, ineffective and impersonal approach to be developing cultural experiences based upon census-style data and not recognising audiences as individuals. We cannot, after all, influence an individual’s socio-demographic characteristics. 

Grouping audiences solely through demographic data is not only extremely presumptuous of their psychographics but also boarders on prejudice and discrimination.

Allowing the future of the arts to be shaped through such a cold, analytical approach fills us with dread.

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Data-only based research leads to limited pictures of stereotypes and habitual behaviours that don’t reveal the narratives, hopes and dreams, and challenges that form the human experience and are so important to the appreciation of arts.

Currently available guidance over simplifies the process an individual go through in deciding to participate in the arts. Failing to take into account that the process involves more than one decision and that different factors determine the outcomes of each decision. 

“There should be a disdain for reducing audiences’ emotional response to relatively meaningless graphics. [It’s] the age-old adage that anything can be proven with statistics.”