Do we ever learn?

I’ve just uploaded the final report of the 4-year Circuit programme led by Tate, here. It has a chapter by me covering the marketing and audience development aspects of the different galleries’ experiences: what they learned, what helped and hindered. There are also many other research papers sprung from Circuit with valuable insights, here. Do take a look.


A little while ago I also uploaded my report of the evaluation of the Concept youth music project from Pedestrian, here


Both reports are chock-full of insights that would help any organisation thinking of embarking on a project with young people – or indeed any audience development project – conceptualise best practice and plan ahead to avoid pitfalls.


But will anyone in such a position get time to read reports like these, so they are forewarned and forearmed? There are so many fantastic resources out there to help us, and so little time to read them, especially when bids for project funding are made to such ridiculously tight deadlines. And once funding has been granted, it’s much harder to go back over and change your proposed approach.


Let alone the pressure of so many funding pots to ‘innovate’, and try new approaches in the hunt for best practice. It’s much rarer to see funding given for an organisation to implement the best practice someone else learned the hard way.


So, project after project, organisations with very little slack fall into the same traps and re-learn the same lessons by the end, as so many before them.


My advice? Read what you can before you put pen to paper on a new project idea.


Or – call in expert freelancers early in the process. We’re the ones who make sure we make time to read the reports so we can pass on the best practice to you, ahead of time.