Understanding audiences in York

Another conference trip for the SPARC team, to a one day symposium at the University of York, organised by Prof Sharon Macdonald and her amazing team of postgraduates and postdocs in the European Centre for Cultural Exploration, Department of Sociology.  Most of the papers were on museum studies, and it was fascinating to see the overlaps and differences between work in music and researching with the more transitory, mobile audiences of galleries and museums.  Lots of interesting research methods too, from analysing spatial relationships and their effects on visitors’ experiences of a gallery, to using Google glasses to get a real-time commentary on people’s viewing of an exhibition.  We presented our Cultural Value audience research, focusing particularly on the ‘audience exchanges’, in which we have taken first-time attenders to jazz, opera and classical music events.  Lots to think about, and some great conversations, including with other AHRC Collaborative Doctoral Award students, who shared experiences with Lucy and Sarah and are now plotting a support/therapy network across White Rose universities for others doing PhDs with external placements.