Audience Research in the Arts Conference

Posted on 18 July 2019

Members from the Experimental Concert Research (ECR) team attended the Audience Research in the Arts conference, organised by the Sheffield Performer & Audience Research Centre (SPARC).

Sheffield Performer & Audience Research Centre logo

Members from the Max Plank Institute for Empirical Aesthetis, York Music Psychology Group and Zeppelin University conducted a panel which investigated how empirical research methods can be successfully used to study audience experiences.

We presented three case studies from our research groups that employ a multitude of different methodologies, including qualitative interviews, measurement of retrospective and continuous subjective experience, physiological activations, and expressive behaviour (e.g. facial expressions). The possibilities and limitations of the corresponding methods were also discussed in conjuction with theoretical implications and research questions that can be studied with them.

The panel started with a practicle demonstration of a shimmer device and an interactive survey in responce to a recording of a previous concert experiment from York. The presentation then continued with research conducted with the Audience Response System that was developed within the York Music Psychology Group and how it has been used to test theories of aesthetic judgement of contemporary music. This was followed by a presentation of research in the ArtLab at the Max-Planck Institute of Empirical Aesthetics where they have staged a series of three concerts in which they tested how the members of the audience experienced the concert.

The panel closed with a presentation of the research project Experimental Concert Research that will be conducted in collaboration between all members of the panel. Here, we will test what constituents of the concert format bring about and shape the experience of classical music in a concert. To this end, we will conduct a series of different concerts. Each concert variation comes along with a specific, hypothesis-driven question in order to investigate and compare the resulting subjective experiences of the attendees. 

The conference drew together research from different arts disciplines and work of industry practitioners which resulted in a varied and stimulating conference. YMPG members would like to thank the organisers for a well organised and run conference.