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Audience research

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					Project 7

Title of project          New methods in ‘audience’ research

                          l.whitaker.1@research.gla.ac
Contact person /
email address
                          melanie.selfe@glasgow.ac.uk (staff budget holder for event)

Funding required          £ 565

Target Audience (please tick all that apply)
PhD Researchers         X       Postdocs X         Other X wider research community

Arts & Humanties
Education      Social Sciences / Education

Provide a brief description of the project.

These two linked events will cover new developments in audience research by a renowned
specialist in the field: Professor Martin Barker. We envisage that the keynote lecture,
delivered on the evening of arrival will be of interest beyond the academic community, and
stakeholders from a variety of local arts and cultural organisations will be invited to attend.
The following morning Prof. Barker will run a practical workshop for postgraduate students
and academic staff on conducting this type of research.

In recent years the gap between commercial arts/cultural market research practices and
academic audience research practices has begun to narrow. Through the work of enlightened
consultants, such as Heather Maitland in the UK and Wolf Brown in the US, arts and cultural
organisations have begun to reach beyond the crucial data on user demographics and box
office statistics, to ask more complex questions of value, pleasure and user experience. As
arguments for evidence based policy drive funding decisions, the need to evidence the impact
of the arts will only grow. Conversely, in academic audience/user research circles, where
questions of subjective meaning are already central, there is increasing recognition of the
need to apply the principles of qualitative audience research to larger samples, in order to
build bigger, comparative pictures of the value of cultural experiences. Martin Barker had led
the way in designing such ambitious academic audience research projects, conducted
comparative research with multiple international academic partners and building working
relationships with companies and organisations outside academia.

In addition to providing cutting edge audience research training for interested postgraduates,
this session has two further aims: to raise the profile of Glasgow University in relation to
cultural audience research and to open up a conversation between staff and student
researchers and local organisations with an interest in understanding their audiences and
users. We envisage that this event will be of equal benefit to students pursuing academic
paths and to those considering careers in a wide range of arts and cultural management
roles, and that it will also provide transferable skills in project planning and market awareness
for those entering more commercial fields. The event will also connect with ideas raised on
the Issues in Audience Management postgraduate elective, which runs as part of the Media
Management Masters Programme.


The event reconsiders fundamental approaches to researching a wide range of cultural
audiences and user groups in the new media age-

    •   What constitutes an audience?
    •   How can we best reach cultural audiences and why might we want to?
    •   What is worth knowing? Going beyond the likes, habits and demographics of market
        research to explore the cultural investments that audiences make and the meanings
        they take away.
    •   Thinking about audiences as people who are part of multiple audiences.
    •   Questionnaire construction and design for qualitative data.
    •   Using the internet for surveys.
    •   What do you do with the data once you have it?
    •   The benefits of using mixed methods: adding depth through interviews and focus
        groups.
    •   Building the bigger picture through collaborative research.
    •   Ethical considerations and protocols.

Which areas of the Joint Skills Statement does this project align to? (see Appendix 1)
A x            B x        Cx         Dx           E x            F x           G x

Monitoring and Evaluation, please describe how you will evaluate this project

Feedback will be provided from workshop participants via a feedback form – we will also open
a separate place on the Moodle site for informal discussion and feedback. Postgraduate
participants will be contacted after three months to assess whether the training has impacted
on their research.

What is the intended timeframe for the project (include any key dates, project start and
end dates? Is it a one-off or likely to become an ongoing activity?)
In the first instance this is designed as a one off activity however the research connections
and inter-school links will continue via the Moodle site.

Jan – March 2011: Advertise and recruit the event via the various schools (using internal
email) and throughout the wider research and arts community via the Centre for Screen
Studies Network and relevant mailing lists. The event itself will take place in late March/April
or May depending on the availability of Professor Barker and bearing in mind the
postgraduate symposia which take place across the schools around this time.
The format for the event is structured across two days to allow travel to and from Aberystwyth
which is a seven and a half hour journey.

Evening session
5.15 – 6.30 Guest Lecture open to wider research community (open to other institutions and
organisations) followed by networking wine reception 6.30-7.30pm

Professor Martin Barker will give a talk on conducting large scale, in depth audience research
on cross-media audiences, a field he has pioneered, developing methodologies that straddle
the qualitative/quantitative divide. He directed the international study into the responses of
readers and filmgoers to the Lord of the Rings adaptations, creating a database of over 25,
000 responses from 22 countries. His most recent project considers the new complexities
raised by media convergence, as it addresses perceptions and understandings of ‘liveness’
for audiences experiencing National Theatre and Opera performances through digital
simulcasts in cinemas.
Following the lecture, all attendees will be given the opportunity to network at an informal
wine reception; for postgraduates, in particular, this will be an opportunity to promote their
research within the professional community.

Morning session (next day)
10am – 12.30pm Postgrad and Researcher Training Workshop on Research and analysis
design.

Building on the ideas and objectives outlined in the talk, this session will focus on practical
aspects of the methodology, seeking to demystify the process of large scale audience
research through hands-on exploration of examples. Using the now publicly available data
from the Lord of the Rings study, attendees will discover the relationship between conceptual
design, project structure, and data management and analysis.

We have initially identified a cluster of potential participants drawn from fields of education,
music, museum and heritage, readerships, gallery usage, gaming, as well as fields more
traditionally understood to contain ‘audiences’, such as theatre and screen studies.


Please provide a breakdown of costs
Professor Barker’s travel, accommodation and subsistence (from Aberystwyth)
Train travel £220
B&B £50
Meals 2 x £15 = £30

Coffee and Baked item for Workshop participants £1.80 x20 = £36
Wine for 60 (reception) 12 bottles House Wine (£8.36 + 20% VAT = £10.91) = £130
Janitorial Overtime (3hr x £33) = £99
Total £565

				
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