Artistic Reflection Kit
“Audience engagement and stimulation” refers to the impact of an arts organisation’s work on its audience.
An organisation’s work impacts on its audience in different ways. The audience experience could be enjoyable, inspiring, thought provoking, challenging or some combination of these.
Audience impact does not mean that an arts organisation should always provide an audience with accessible or just enjoyable work. It can have a number of facets. To be artistically vibrant, an organisation should understand which of these facets it is striving for and then ask for feedback from its audience to find out if it is achieving them.
Audience impacts, also known as “intrinsic impacts” include:
- Captivation: Was the audience engrossed and absorbed in the performance?
- Intellectual stimulation: Was the audience mentally engaged? Did it make the audience think?
- Emotional resonance: Did the audience have an emotional response? What was the degree of empathy the audience had with the performers? Did the work have therapeutic value in an emotional sense?
- Aesthetic growth: Did the work expose the audience to a new type or style of art? Did the work aesthetically stretch the audience?
- Social bonding: Did the performance connect individuals with others in the audience? Did it allow people to celebrate cultural heritage or learn?
An organisation can reflect on audience engagement and stimulation in different ways. One of the best ways is to measure these impacts through a survey, known as an “audience impact survey.” This survey goes far beyond “satisfaction” or market research surveys done with audience members. It unpacks the actual impact of a performance or work on its audience. To find out more, click here.
To measure your organisation’s impact on its audience, you will need to gather the views of the following:
- Audience – includes attendees in person, via broadcast and online
Management and artistic leaders will also need to reflect on their aims and expectations of audience engagement.