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What’s happening in the Culture Sector?

The social, education and wellbeing benefits of participation in artistic and cultural activities, whether it is participation in creative pursuits or attendance at events, are widely recognised. However, opportunities to participate are not equal across the population, indeed often the population groups who might benefit most from the arts have the fewest opportunities to engage. Furthermore, in Scotland our geography presents additional challenges with differences in opportunities between urban and rural areas.

For arts organisations retaining current audiences and attracting new audiences can be difficult in an increasingly challenging funding environment. Less public money is available for the sector than before so more needs to be done to find and sustain other revenue sources and to efficiently retain audiences.

How we can help

Given these challenges, organisations in the culture and arts sectors need to understand their audiences better than ever before. Ways we can support include:

• Using omnibus surveys to access nationally representative samples of the population and track levels of participation in the arts, potential to increase participation, motivations, barriers and other related attitudes.

• Conducting more focused surveys of arts audiences. With a range of survey methods available we can reach audiences for every art: from museum and gallery visitors, to theatre attendees and festival goers to those who enjoy more ‘niche’ activities. Our approaches provide insights on who audiences and participants are, their behaviours, their needs and their satisfaction levels.

• In depth approaches such as ethnography can uncover and provide a deeper understanding of the factors that motivate or present barriers to participation for particular audiences.

• Impact studies can provide a measure of the benefits of arts events – large and small – from the economic benefits to wider community and social benefits.


The team undertook a range of customer insights research for us over the last five years and have provided advice on evaluation and measurement. The work is always of excellent quality, on time and to budget. Duncan and Jim offer many years’ experience of qualitative and quantitative research and an excellent knowledge of tourism, heritage and culture. The findings helped us better understand our customers and stakeholders; influenced our performance measurement framework; and fed into our planning and decision making.
— Karen Robertson, Senior Research Manager, Historic Environment Scotland

Cultural clients we have worked with……..

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Our Latest Points of View on Culture

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Getting Behind Scotland’s Culture Club

3rd June 2019: With the development of a Culture Strategy for Scotland, never has it been more important for everyone working in the creative sector to know their audiences. Read more below….