Slover Linett's e-newsletter about audiences and culture—from the arts to informal science learning.


At Slover Linett, we spend a lot of time thinking about social media and participatory engagement. Our clients often ask us how they should be evaluating the impact of their social media efforts, or how the new technologies can become research tools to track and understand audiences.

Great questions. But the implications are broader than that. In the socially networked, participatory era, institutions may have to change the way they think about their constituents and how they invite them into a dialogue. Traditional market research, evaluation, and assessment methods treat the audience as “respondents” whose job is to answer questions the organization thinks are important, “research subjects” under the microscope.

These days, that can feel a As our culture becomes more collaborative, informal, and diverse, we need to approach all kinds of research — from surveys to in-depth interviews to focus groups — as a natural extension of the participatory impulse.

Maybe that’s why we’re doing more audience panels lately. Unlike a standard focus group, panels put you in the room with the participants, so your team can talk and work with them elbow-to-elbow, grappling with the questions and possibilities together. Panels aren’t right for every research challenge, but they’re an exciting, participatory technique that educational and cultural institutions should have in their repertoire.

(Stay tuned for details on Sarah Lee’s session on audience panels at the joint conference of the Visitor Studies Association and the Association of Midwest Museums in Chicago this summer.)

If you’d like to talk about how panels and other emerging research methods can help turn your audiences into collaborators, drop us a line. Meanwhile, check out our latest news and blog posts, below.

— The Slover Linett Team

What's New?
March 30, 2011

Join Us at the CultureLab Emerging Practice Seminar on April 29

CultureLab, a partnership between the Cultural Policy Center at the University of Chicago and a consortium of leading arts consultants from the U.S., U.K., and Australia, is coming to Chicago for a public exploration of new practices in the cultural sector. Slover Linett partners Cheryl Slover-Linett and Peter Linett are proud to be members of CultureLab, and we invite you to join us for a stimulating, participatory day of ideas. More »
March 15, 2011

Year of Multi-Audience Research for Hofstra Law Wraps Up

Hofstra Law School, a top-100 institution located near New York City, engaged Slover Linett a year ago to conduct a brand-perceptions study of their various audiences. The school has already put our findings and recommendations to good use in a number of areas. More »
March 02, 2011

Research Fellow Rachelle L. Brooks Published

Our research fellow, Dr. Rachelle L. Brooks of Northwestern University, wrote a chapter in a new book about student learning assessment in higher ed. In the book, Literary Study, Measurement, and the Sublime: Disciplinary Assessment, just published by the Teagle Foundation, Rachelle argues we should assess student learning within specific academic disciplines rather than generically. More »

March 28, 2011

Are science museums teaching ideas or just definitions?

A few weeks ago, I took my daughters to a program for girls at Argonne National Labs, a legendary facility near Chicago whose gates I’d never crossed. The half-day of tours and activities culminated in a terrific lecture-demonstration that set me thinking (not for the first time) about what it feels like to really get a science concept. More »
March 21, 2011

Nastygram from the NY Times on visitor research

Maybe the Times arts critics have it in for the Brooklyn Museum. Or maybe they just don’t believe museum curators should get to know the audiences they’re creating exhibitions for. Then again, some museums don’t believe that either, which is why “front end” evaluation is often a botched job. More »
March 14, 2011

NEA report #2: Declining arts education, declining audiences

Last week I wrote about one of the three new reports that the National Endowment for the Arts released, each of which looks at the Survey of Public Participation in the Arts through a different lens. Today we’ll turn to Nick Rabkin’s eye-opening analysis of trends in arts education. We all knew the picture wouldn’t be pretty, but… More »
March 07, 2011

Shining brighter light on the arts participation data

The NEA has just released three new reports it commissioned to look more closely at the Survey of Public Participation in the Arts from different perspectives. I’ll blog about all three of them this week and next, starting today with a quick look at the terrific paper by our friends Jennifer Novak-Leonard and Alan Brown about why we need to look “beyond attendance.” More »

Slover Linett is a research & assessment firm for the cultural sector, broadly defined. From art museums to dance companies to zoos, we help institutions become more successful by understanding their audiences. We do it through rigorous research and evaluation...More »

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