Interpreting Audience Development: A Comparative Study of the Approaches and Practices of the National Gallery and the Pinacoteca Di Brera Towards Audience Development

Giulia Errico

Student thesis: Master thesis

Abstract

This thesis represents a comparative study of the approaches and practices of the National Gallery and the Pinacoteca di Brera towards audience development.
Audience development strategies are gaining popularity in the museum sector, but our knowledge about their characteristics, benefits and best practices is limited. The aim of this thesis is threefold: (i) to describe the interpretation that the National Gallery and the Pinacoteca di Brera give of audience development; (ii) to explain their understanding of the audience – the visitor segments, their needs and ways to address them – and how this influences their strategy and, consequently, their public programmes; (iii) to infer common best practices through the comparison of the approaches of the two galleries.
This project undertakes qualitative research focusing on two case studies, the National Gallery in London (UK) and the Pinacoteca di Brera in Milan (Italy). The research followed an iterative approach and literature about audience development provided the background for the comparative analysis of the two museums. Information was gathered from primary and secondary data sources. Qualitative interviews with six employees of the galleries, holding managerial positions, gave insights about each museum’s strategy and practices. Newspaper articles, reports, websites and published interviews enriched and complemented the primary data.
The results reveal that, despite administrative and national policy differences, the two galleries have a similar understanding of their audience and recognise common values and principles, such as communication, collaboration and openness. The comparative study shows ten best practices, shared by both museums, which can enhance the quality of their audience development strategies and help their long-term sustainability. Further research is needed to generalise a behavioural paradigm, but the cross-case comparison assures that said best practices are not idiosyncratic to one singular organisation.

EducationsMSocSc in Management of Creative Business Processes , (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
LanguageEnglish
Publication date2017
Number of pages97
SupervisorsIda Lunde Jørgensen