G39 is Cardiff’s foremost artist-led gallery.
A gathering place for Cardiff’s visual arts community and its audiences, it runs a varied programme spanning major contemporary arts exhibitions, symposiums, experimental projects and small intimate events. It’s also a training space for its local artists.
For non-ticketed venues like G39, data capture to allow better insights into audiences and their needs is an ongoing challenge. So, they’ll be exploring how digital technology can respond to the different ways visual arts audiences interact with artistic spaces to creatively capture data that can be used to build relationships with audiences, benchmark across the sector and provide a robust blueprint for strategic decision making.
Chris Brown talks us through the project in a bit more detail :
Visual arts are free at the point of access, and we’re committed to reducing the barriers that exist to engaging with visual arts at every possible juncture. But that poses a real problem for us. We want to be knowledgeable and insightful about the people who chose to engage with us. But while other organisations can gather data via a transaction – a ticket, a service or goods – we can’t connect the names that sit on our database with the people who come through our doors. We’re in the dark about how much we can attribute our footfall to our efforts in communicating and talking about what we do. We need to find a solution to that problem.
But the solution can’t simply be about capturing data. It has to be designed with a meaningful exchange of value at the heart of it. So, we’re looking to explore how we can use digital technology to develop a creative transaction between us as a gallery and our visitors. Through the project we’re researching what that exchange can look like, whether its additional content to contextualise a piece of work and provide extra insight, or something that allows exploration of people’s emotional responses to specific artworks through a form of interactive digital experience.
data capture for better insights
Has this process shaped or changed your relationship with digital technology?
I’m really conscious of how far my understanding of digital technology has come as a result of the process. Identifying the tech partners, and being able to download their knowledge has been a really accelerated learning experience. It’s given us a broad scope of understanding about the tech that exists out there already in order to explore appropriate solutions for us. It’s also opened up a whole new world of customer relationship management tools and tech to us. Exploring how arts organisations across the world use that tech in different ways has been fascinating.
What impact do you think this project could have on your organisation?
The project has already had a profound impact. It’s injected a confidence into what we do. The first phase alone has upskilled us and broadened our understanding to a point where we feel we could partly address the issue, even without going into this R&D phase. But, yes, if all goes to plan the impact of this could be transformative. It has to power to move us away from a relying on anecdotal evidence towards a clear insight about our audiences’ needs. This can help us develop targeted people-focused communications, and take a strategic approach to programming. All these things will give us robust evidence for funders and supporters, particularly for our audience development projects.
Has the innovation process shaped or changed your understanding of the problem?
The process has taken us through a number of learning stages. And at each juncture in the process you can see indicators of how the project has changed; influenced and informed by all the experts and interventions that we’ve come into contact with along the way. The project has moved fluidly, and had we been set on a solution at the beginning rather than staying open to possibilities, we may not have ended up with the nuanced proposal that we’re taking into the R&D phase. We’re excited about where we’re going next.