Audience Sandbox

Sandbox (noun): An isolated testing environment providing a tightly controlled set of resources.

Sandbox is our set of industry-leading models and frameworks designed to provide a complete understanding of arts audience psychology and engagement.

Sandbox’s value lies in the ability to simplify the complex dynamics of arts engagement, allowing cultural organisations to better influence engagement behaviour through the use of the most comprehensive audience profiling available and a fresh approach to an audience’s participation journey. 

Developed from collaborations with psychologists, sociologists, arts professionals and over three thousand audience interactions, Sandbox is genuinely becoming a game changer for the wider cultural sector, and is only available via Disconnected Bodies.

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 goes 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.”

The Audience Engagement Journey

We recognize the complexity of an audience’s engagement process can never be fully captured. That being said, our modelling as been developed from over three-thousand conversations with audience groups and provides us satellite perspective on the journey audiences routinely take.

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We Dive Deeper

Here’s 25% of the contents of our Sandbox – with 112 frameworks, models and engagement flowcharts available in total. (We’ve kept the best to ourselves. Naughty people in the past have tried passing our approach off as theirs…. tut!)

For the full list and how the Sandbox can be customised for your audience work, please arrange a free call where we’ll be happy to talk you through what the Sandbox has to offer.

Example contents

  • Baseline Psychology
    • Thinking Preference and Process
    • Motivations
    • Motivation Direction
  • Cultural Baseline
    • Visible Culture
    • Invisible Culture
    • Ethnocentricity
    • Intercultural Competence
    • Psychological Foundations of a Culture
    • Stigma and Group Inequality
  • Barriers
    • Practical, technical, cultural, situational, personal, attitudinal and perceptual.
  • Decision Making
    • Speed
    • Planning Style
    • Influence Preference
    • Stimuli
  • Artistic Exchange
    • Engagement Pathway
    • Engagement Direction
    • Entry Point
    • Gamification
    • Importance of Modelling
    • Psychology of Meaning
    • Small Group Psychology
  • Post-Engagement
    • Selective Remembering
    • Misremembering

Where others fall short

  • Oversimplify the process audiences go through when deciding to participate.
  • Is limited to a set number of segments with very fixed profiling – how can 67 million people fit into a handful of predefined segments?
  • Fails to consider the engagement process involves more than one decision and that different factors determine the outcomes of each decision. 
  • Arts organisations are not provided with enough correct information to determine what strategies may be appropriate and when to use them.
  • Doesn’t consider the complete audience journey including artistic exchange or post-engagement impact.
  • Over reliance on an audience’s socio-demographics rather than their personal, situational, cultural, institutional and historical factors;  not providing the practical guidance needed to influence engagement behaviour.

How to use Sandbox

More than abstract ideas, Sandbox has several practical uses depending upon the intended outcome.

Like a child’s sandbox, the Engagement Journey should be seen as the box (a structure), with frameworks and models being the sand and toys inside, to be moulded and played with.

Each of the 112 frameworks and models have multiple uses depending on the stage of the Engagement Journey being explored.

Refocus existing audiences

Identify any kinks in the flow of an existing audience’s journey thats causing poorer quality engagement, and be proactive in providing new access points, deepening satisfaction and extending impact.

Develop new or under-engaged audiences

Sandbox provides a structure to guide intuition about new or under-engaged audiences to anticipate sticking points and in turn plan engagement strategies that address these. Sandbox can also be used as a structure to guide conversations with new audiences.

Understand Lived experiences

Appreciate the personal, situational, cultural, institutional and historical factors of audience groups, that may be influencing their willingness to engage.

Sandbox can explore the psychological needs and preferences of traditionally unengaged, underrepresented and discriminated audiences 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.


With a wide range of adaptable frameworks and models to implement and a clearly defined audience engagement journey, research planning becomes a personalised and efficient process. Methodologies become highly relevant to the intended outcome.

Audience dialogue and focus group structures

Sandbox can be used as a structure to follow when speaking directly with audiences. As conversation prompts that hone in on the nuance psychology of their engagement, especially useful when they find it difficult to verbalise this engagement; ensuring the complete audience journey is explored and maximum benefit is gained from time spent with audiences.

Structure Communication and PR strategies

Be efficient despite limited resources by designing communication and PR strategies around an audience’s ‘engagement priming’ process of awareness, contextualisation, decision making, preparation and anticipatory meaning making.

Design your offer based upon audience Profiling

When considering new offers Sandbox can be used as the exploration tool to determine an audience’s profile around which future programming can be designed.

Begin with the intended impact

By beginning with the intended impact of your work (the final stage of the audience journey), Sandbox can provide the guidelines to design an offer or programme’s artistic exchange and communication/PR/reach strategies.

Ensure accessibility and inclusion

Consider not only practical and physical accessibility and inclusion across the complete audience journey, but also psychological accessibility, i.e raising participation confidence.

Book a Free 30-Minute Video Consultation.

A complimentary chat to discuss your requirements or any current engagement sticking points you may be facing. 

We’re happy to provide free guidance that may resolve your questions within the half hour, or discuss how we can work together longer term.