Audience Research in the Arts Conference

3–5th July 2019, The University of Sheffield

Sheffield Performer and Audience Research Centre (SPARC) is hosting a conference in partnership with the International Network for Audience Research in the Performing Arts (iNARPA)The Audience Agency, Routledge, The University of Leeds and Deakin University, to bring together researchers and industry professionals who investigate audience engagement with the arts. This conference comes at the culmination of two substantive contributions to the field of audience research at The University of Sheffield; the Understanding Audiences for the Contemporary Arts (UACA) study and the Modern Fairies project. The conference will also celebrate the publication of a Cultural Trends special double issue on ‘Audience Data and Research’ and launch a sector-facing handbook from the UACA project. It will feature sharing sessions from the two research projects and papers from contributors to the special issue.Download the Audience Research in the Arts CfP.pdf

Call for papers

Contributors are encouraged to present their work to a broad audience, so it can be readily understood by industry professionals, arts practitioners, policy-makers and the general public, as well as academics. Proposals are invited on the following themes:

  • Considerations of how audiences find meaning in the works that they see, and the relationship this has to the artists’ intended meaning
  • Artist and audience communication, and ways in which the audience can feed into the creative process
  • The place of cultural intermediaries (which could be artists or arts managers) in shaping audience experience
  • Reflections on collaborative audience research, considering the role of partners and gatekeepers, means of knowledge exchange and collaborative learning.
  • Innovative or emerging audience research methodologies, how can we make our research accessible and meaningful to participants?
  • How audience research might better drive sectoral change and impact on arts policy

Papers addressing these themes are especially welcome, but the committee will consider any submissions relating to audience research and arts audiences today.

We are seeking proposals for:

  • Papers (20 minutes with 10 minutes for questions)
  • Collaborative presentations (or combination of two papers, one from an academic and one from a practitioner they work with)
  • Panels (3 or 4 linked papers around a theme, totalling 1.5 or 2 hours)
  • Round tables (3 or 4 shorter presentations, around 15 minutes each, followed by a chaired discussion, totalling 1.5 or 2 hours)
  • Lightning talks (7-minute unscripted talks, usually accompanied by slides)
  • Posters
  • Films or other media presentations

The conference will also include PGR panels and workshops from the board of Cultural Trends; a separate call for papers for will be announced shortly.

Please send proposals to including: an abstract (250 words), your name, institutional affiliation (if any), email address, short biography (100 words) and any special AV requirements.

Deadline: 7th January 2019
Contributors notified by the end of January