SPARC’s bid for an AHRC research grant to extend our work with contemporary arts organisations and their audiences has been successful, and a 30 month project funded by a £428,500 grant will begin on 1st May 2017. ‘Understanding audiences for the contemporary arts’ (UACA) will build on the pilot study undertaken in Birmingham in 2014-15, returning to the organisations we worked with then to assess the long-term impact of their audience development strategies, and building new networks with organisations in Bristol, Liverpool and London. By working across the arts, and across four diverse cities, we hope to uncover trends in audience experience and engagement, and so to understand more clearly the meaning of contemporary arts engagement for audience members and their wider communities. Full details of the project are outlined in the case for support that was submitted to the AHRC – making this a good moment to thank Tim Rushby (BCMG), Jonathan Gross (post-doc on the pilot project, now working at King’s College London) and the research support services at the University of Sheffield, who have all contributed to this success.
The UACA project will shortly be advertising for a post-doctoral research associate and a project administrator, with further details to follow here shortly.