Challenges of cultural industry knowledge exchange in live performance audience research

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With live performance audience research frequently relying on cultural organisations to facilitate access to their audiences, this article addresses the issues involved in evidencing spectators’ responses via discursive methodologies. Recalling a series of empirical projects conducted over the past ten years with a range of theatre practitioners, it examines the conflicts involved in carrying out scholarly studies of audience reception against cultural organisations’ pressures to produce their own ongoing audience evaluations. Examining key concerns about audience research raised by creative practitioners in varying theatrical contexts, from site-specific to building-based work, it addresses the difficulties of understanding live performance reception and aesthetic experience via impact frameworks. It begins by situating these three operations in the context of Knowledge Exchange (KE) between academics within Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) and those in the creative industry sector.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)103-117
Number of pages15
JournalCultural Trends
Issue number2-3
Early online date21 May 2019
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 21 May 2019


  • Audience research
  • cultural value
  • impact
  • knowledge exchange
  • live performance
  • theatre

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  • Projects


    • 1 Invited talk

    SPARC Audience Research in the Performing Arts

    Kirsty Sedgman (Invited speaker)

    3 Jul 2019

    Activity: Participating in or organising an event typesInvited talk

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