This blog is no longer being updated

This blog is no longer being updated and is an archive.

Audiences London have now become The Audience Agency, in alliance with All About Audiences. As the Audience Agency we help museums, arts, heritage, libraries and other cultural organisations understand and grow audiences.

For more details visit




State of the arts

Together with hundreds of other arts professionals I was at the State of the Arts conference last week. A number of the discussions were better than last year, and I liked the format of the first session with the audience tasked to answer and devise a question at their round table.

I lucked out for this, as I had Andrew Nairne and Laura Dyer from ACE, Jo Healy from Photographers Gallery and Gavin Stride from Farnham Maltings at my table – so we had a great discusson. Our answer to the question ‘what needs to change’  – Arts organisations need to listen to their audiences.

I found the parallel panel Where are the new audiences a frustrating experience –  the panel members weren’t well placed to address the question and despite the chair’s best efforts, the audience contribution didn’t really get us anywhere.

Back to some positives – Deborah Bull from the ROH was great talking about how we need to place audiences and artists at the heart of what we do, and I like Phil Redmond’s trajectory for arts orgnisations to

1st – survive

2nd -listen

3rd – become self aware

Plus he had a wonderful John, Paul, George and Ringo response… finishing with his prefered  philosphical response from George  that all things must pass…

Note to orgnisers –

Next year, I’d like to see fewer politicians on the panels (5 was too many, and 2 on the same panel the kiss of death) as this led to a not very sophisticated political point scoring style of debate.

Please bring back Matthew Taylor, who is a brilliant chair and John Knell who effortlessly combines being clever with being clear.

Arts Legacy Fundraising Report

Arts Quarter in partnership with Legacy Foresight have just published their report on Arts Legacy Fundraising. You may be aware that Jeremy Hunt, Secretary of State, DCMS highlighted the potential of legacy giving as a fundamental source of arts funding in his plans. The report points out that legacy fundraising is still very much in its infancy with very little awareness from arts organisations in promoting legacy giving or receiving gifts in wills.

Read a summary of the report by following this link:
Legacy Fundraising in the UK Cultural Sector

Orchestral audiences ‘more loyal’ than other artforms

RPO and Julian Lloyd Webber at Cadogan HallWe’ve just issued a press release  letting people know what we’ve found out following a research project with 12 orchestral organisations in London. These are Barbican Centre, BBC Proms, BBC Symphony Orchestra, Cadogan Hall, London Philharmonic Orchestra, London Sinfonietta, London Symphony Orchestra, Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, Philharmonia Orchestra, Royal Albert Hall, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and Southbank Centre.

Among the findings:

  • over the six years, 36% of the households represented went to an orchestral performance more than once, compared to just over 21% of households attending all ticketed artforms in an average year (shown in the ‘Snapshot London Benchmark’);
  • income from the events totalled £35 million, of which some 70% was generated by people who attended more than once – demonstrating the significant value of repeat attenders to the orchestral marketplace;
  • people tend to travel further for orchestral concerts (54.2% came from within 10 miles of the venue compared to 59.1% for Snapshot London Benchmark, while 17.5% came from over 50 miles away compared to 13.8% for Snapshot Benchmark);
  • orchestral audiences are also more likely to book in advance. In each of the time spans of 2-7, 8-14, 15-28 and 29-60 days ahead, orchestral audiences showed a greater tendency to book earlier than the Snapshot London Benchmark. Just 8% of households booked on the day for orchestral concerts compared to 15.7% of households for all artforms in the Benchmark.OAE's Night Shift at the Queen Elizabeth Hall - photo Joe Plommer (all rights reserved)

So there’s potential for the orchestras to improve their long-term position by converting more first- and second-time audience members into frequent attenders – and that’s what the group is moving on to.

You can take a look at the full press release on our website here.

How culture contributes to life in the Capital

London Councils have just published their ‘Playing Their Part: culture and sport’s contribution to local life in the capital’ factsheets. These are free to download and provide good success stories, useful figures and interesting details of how Londoners and London benefit from a vibrant cultural and sporting offer.

Cultural Sector Data Generator

Have you ever wondered how many people work in your sector? How that breaks down by region, gender, age or ethnicity? Well you can now with this useful Data Generator website created by Creative Choices. The stats tells us more about who’s working in the creative and cultural sectors and can be useful for adding into your presentations, reports and funding bids. It’s free for the time being so make sure you sign up!

Whatever sparks your creativity

I had my nephews to visit over the weekend. A big deal for all as we only get round to it once a year. They’re five years apart in age, and now that those ages are 17 and 12, the five years seem an even bigger gap to bridge.

Image of Enron programme

Enron at the Noel Coward Theatre, London

So we thought we’d take them to see Enron, and treat the older one like a grown-up. He thought it great, was really into the satire and came away suitably steaming about the injustices of the world.

I’d been a bit worried the younger nephew would be bored out of his mind. But he was buzzing: in a 20-minute expose of exactly how he would re-design light sabres to make them even more lethal, and the additional features the corporate ‘monsters’ could have, the moral of this blog became clear. So long as you have light sabres and scary monsters to spark your own creativity, who cares if the satire goes way over your head?