Understanding Audiences


Understanding Audiences was a programme of activity that enabled North East museums to increase knowledge of their audiences and build their confidence in using audience data to inform programming and planning.

During 2015/16 we supported seven local authority museums within the Tees Valley to gather baseline data about their audiences to better understand the visitor profile across the 5 local authority areas. The Audience Agency provided expertise during the visitor research, analysing the data, providing mapping and profiling reports and workshop opportunities to build staff awareness and skills.

Building on the success of this initial visitor research, all seven museums participated in Audience Finder in 2016, a national audience data and development tool enabling cultural organisations to understand, compare and apply audience insight.

Audience Finder helped to establish a common methodology of visitor data collection across this group of museums for the first time, supporting the development of wider audience development strategies such as Tees Valley’s bid for City of Culture in 2025. The Audience Agency supported museums over a two year period to further embed evidence gathering and audience research.

Participating museums:

‘Our visitor numbers have grown year on year and we’re obviously keen to make sure we can offer our visitors the best possible experience… by taking part in the Understanding Audiences project we hope to continue to develop what we can offer to ensure something for everyone’ Head of Steam, Darlington.

A press story about Head of Steam's rising visitor numbers, and their participation in the Understanding Audiences project, can be read here.