Visitor & Audience Research
Understanding your audience and visitors is essential to designing effective programmes, audience development strategies, marketing programmes, exhibition design and interpretation. Tricolor can develop visitor and audience research plans that will help you get the most from your research. We are experts at consultation design and delivery, resulting in your organisation having access to helpful visitor and audience research which will give you a better idea of who your audiences are, or aren’t, and how they can be developed.
At Bury St Edmunds Guildhall, our team undertook a comprehensive assessment of all interpretation opportunities at this historic building, audited local museum collections for relevant objects, developed a range of interpretation themes and approaches then consulted widely on them.
The theme of time and ‘time travel’ through 1000 years of the building’s history became the basis of the interpretation strategy, a key aspect of which was costumed volunteers assuming the roles of characters from Bury’s past. This was an approach that had to be tested thoroughly. To best illustrate the proposal, Tricolor created a film that featured local volunteers in costume, in character and promoted its online access widely among the local community. Local people got to comment and vote on the characters they liked most as well as on proposed interpretation themes and the way they could be presented – community co-production was a key part of developing the strategy.
This audience feedback enabled us to refine the interpretation plan and develop a scheme for the entire historic building that helped secure funding from HLF for the delivery of this ambitious project with designs developed from RIBA 0 to 3. The building is a unique mix of rare early medieval architecture, a Tudor kitchen, a Victorian courtroom, a Regency ballroom and Second World War Royal Observer Corps Operations Room. This required research and creativity to find themes and stories to link apparently disparate elements.
During our time working for Ely Museum, Tricolor’s audience research began with researching and understanding the local and strategic context for the project, establishing baseline audience data and learning about the needs and interests of the local community. Common consultation ensured that both the Interpretation and Activity documents spoke with a common voice and provided a wide range of ways for the target audiences to get involved in the museum. The activities were therefore designed to meet the needs of the identified target audiences – Young people aged 15-25; local adults aged 30-50; people with disabilities; the local Polish community. Engagement was seen through volunteering, training and re-skilling existing staff, informal learning and formal learning and the project set up a Heritage Hub that now acts as a district repository for all of the content and resources created by other now-complete local HLF-funded projects.
The Unlocking the Potential of the Old Gaol project allowed Tricolor and the team to completely revitalise its interaction with visitors. The key to developing and delivering the project objectives was a commitment to open dialogue and community consultation. Focal points during this project included: Barriers to engagement and participation; consultation and development; vision and visitor experience; management and maintenance, evaluation. The project development phase gave current and potential audiences the chance to take part in consultation so that the ultimate visitor experience was one that responded to the needs and interests of the end users, the people who will be visiting the new Ely Museum.