Overview of Audience Data Work 2009-12

Commissioned by B&NES Arts Development and the CFBA, here’s a fascinating and informative summary of the work undertaken by the Audience Agency on audience data from CFBA members – downloadable as a PDF B&NES Overview Paper.

About this report

Our intention in commissioning the body of data contained in this report was to better understand who currently attends and participates in local arts activity. We also wanted to set a benchmark against which future changes and developments within the arts audience in Bath and North East Somerset can be measured.

The partners in this work, the Cultural Forum for the Bath Area and Bath & North East Somerset Council Arts Development team, and our funder, Arts Council England, recognised that many arts organisations in the area lack the capacity to collect audience data and analyse it effectively. Our aim is to provide this missing capacity, giving organisations the ability to know more about their audiences and to see them in a wider context alongside those of other arts providers in the area.

However, the aim of this report is not to compare one organisation against another. Its purpose is to provide a clearer and more comprehensive understanding of who our existing and potential arts audiences are, where they come from and what other arts activities they are inclined to attend. It also provides an insight into the kind of people who currently attend, and those we are not yet engaging.

This report marks the start rather than the end of a process. It is clear from the data presented here that there are actions that can be taken to help grow, develop and diversify the arts audience in the district. Continuing to survey and assess our audience in this way will allow us to see whether or not the actions we take make a real and positive difference. This is vitally important at a time when subsidy for the arts from all quarters is reducing significantly. Arts organisations will need more earned income in order to be sustainable. Consequently, we shall be looking at ways to continue and expand upon this work and to take strategic actions based upon its findings.

We would like to thank all the arts organisations who contributed their audience information and who helped to make this report possible. We particularly wish to thank Jim Brewster of the Audiences Agency for all his work in analysing and presenting the data.

We hope you find this report useful and interesting.

B&NES Arts Development & Cultural Forum for the Bath Area



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