Kia Ora. Attending this conference in Gisborne as a guest of Museums Aotearoa (kindly sponsored by the NZ Ministry for Culture & Heritage – a big thanks). Program looks fascinating and really looking forward to catching up with old friends, meeting new NZ colleagues and sharing some great Gisborne wines.
Today am attending the Visitor Research workshop looking at the needs of institutions, regions and the sector across NZ and how we can develop a framework so museums can see where they fit in, as well as a lobbying tool. The workshop was attended by around 35 people discussing what they currently do and what they'd like to do.
So what am I doing here? Putting in my two cents worth! (but really helping them work out a plan from my experience I suppose).
Simon opened by talking about the bigger picture aspects of what's happening in NZ/Australia and raised the following issues:
- Sharing information
- ICT – using it to gather info, share info and also looking at how visitors are talking about you on social networking sites
- Reducing costs (by sharing, using ICT)
- When/where to collect data
Some of what's happening across NZ:
- Te Papa: monthly surveys, motivations for visiting, as well as compliance reporting. Also mentioned key point that not only about gathering information but what we do with it
- Creative NZ: concentrate on performing arts as well as visual and digital arts. Survey called New Zealanders and the Arts (three-yearly survey, 2K visitors aged over 15 + booster samples with specific cultural groups) – attitudes, attendance and artists themselves to look at the health of the arts broadly. Found general support for the arts by NZers
- Massey University and non-visitor: defining this is hard, use social networks to define and research non-visitors (interesting idea, might pinch that one!), they can be eloquent about the purposes of institutions but when it comes to visiting it's about relevance, barriers (time and cost), some younger non-visitors felt too much emphasis on NZ identity and not broader, global issues (interesting observation, we have found this too)
Following general discussion, we then broke into small groups to look at four areas. Simon summed up with following key points:
- Need to build on the academia/museum relationship and strengthen. This will help reduce costs and foster innovation
- Need to focus on the impact of technology, both in user-generated content, reducing costs and as a way to disseminate information
- Need to identify both basic, quantitative building blocks of information, as well as the ,more 'fuzzy', qualitative areas of research to be done
- Overall a good start and will need to build on the forward momentum.
Notes from the session will be typed up and circulated via Museums Aotearoa. My next blog post presents a cautionary tale when embarking on a large program of sector-wide audience research...