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What’s your experience of new artworks?

Tell us in our new survey

Take part for your chance to win a £50 shopping voucher


What are the arts like where you live?

Would you go to a contemporary dance performance or would you run a mile?

Do you love modern art, or feel like a five-year-old could have made it?

Love art or hate it, or somewhere in between?

Have your say in our survey.

Click here to take part


If you would like us to post you a paper version of the survey, please call Elizabeth Dobson on 0114 222 0474 and leave a message or email sparc@sheffield.ac.uk.


Why are we launching a survey?

The ‘Understanding Audiences for the Contemporary Arts’ project is led by Professor Stephanie Pitts from the University of Sheffield’s Department of Music. Researchers are working with UK arts organisations to understand the choices that audiences make in attending new and challenging arts events. The survey is part of a 30-month project funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council. Partners include Birmingham Contemporary Music Group, Bush Theatre, London, Spike Island, Bristol, and Bluecoat, Liverpool.

As part of the project, researcher Dr Sarah Price has carried out over 100 in-depth interviews with audience members. She has found that even arts attenders who see themselves as open-minded have limits in their attendance. Everyone seeks some element of guarantee within their willingness to take a risk. This survey will investigate the factors driving people towards or away from contemporary arts and unfamiliar programming. It will contribute towards the production of a handbook for arts organisations, with practical advice on implementing audience development strategies.

Director of the Sheffield Performer and Audience Research Centre, Stephanie Pitts, said: ‘The first year of this project has shown that the boundaries between attenders and non-attenders are not fixed, and there are many factors that draw people towards contemporary arts or keep them away. In this survey, we’re hoping to find out more about what makes people take a risk in their arts attendance, and how that knowledge might be valuable to organisations who want to make their work more accessible to more people.’