Missing Audiences in Northern Ireland - Wave 2 findings

We have partnered with the Insights Alliance (Indigo Ltd, Baker Richards, One Further) at the end of 2021 to deliver the Missing Audiences survey in Northern Ireland. With this survey, we wanted to understand the impact of on-and-off restrictions, variants and changing narratives on Northern Ireland’s audiences’ engagement with arts and culture. We also wanted local organisations to benefit from those insights in their future planning to welcome audiences back into their space.

The second wave of results was gathered from audience members by 7 NI arts, culture and heritage organisations from 31 January – 22 February 2022.

The Missing Audiences survey is designed to find out:

  • What is holding some audiences and visitors back from attending cultural venues
  • What other social and leisure activities cultural audiences have felt comfortable doing since restrictions lifted
  • How those who have returned feel about reattending

Download the full report for Wave 2 or read our short summary below. You can also download the slides from our webinar here.

More people have been back to cultural venues since Wave 1. However, people’s priorities have changed and a considerable amount of respondents expect to attend cultural events LESS often in the future.

  • 62% of respondents said they have attended a cultural event, activity or venue in person since venues reopened in 2021. A majority of those who haven’t returned said it is mostly because of Covid concerns – avoiding crowds and not trusting other attendees will comply with Covid rules being their top reasons for not attending.
  • 25% of respondents who have already returned, expect to attend cultural events LESS often than pre-Covid.
  • 58% of respondents who haven’t yet returned expect to attend cultural events LESS often than pre-Covid.
  • Getting outdoors and seeing friends and family were perceived as more important than going to a cultural event.

On a more positive note, a majority of respondents have future bookings for cultural events. However, almost half prefer to wait before booking because of Covid concerns.

  • 60% have future bookings with 51% within the next month. 45% agree feeling confident booking now. Previous returners are planning to attend sooner than those who will be making their first visit
  • However, 45% prefer to wait before booking because of Covid concerns.
  • 32% are concerned they won’t get a refund if they get covid or need to self-isolate.
  • When considering booking a ticket for a cultural performance, audiences who have already returned consider the programme first, followed by the date and time of the event. Audiences who haven’t yet returned are more concerned about Covid safety measures in place at the venue.

All types of audiences still want some safety measures in place at venues, regardless of government guidance.

  • 58% of respondents said they want venues to require mask-wearing. 56%, the proof of a negative test and 48%, limited capacity.
  • 46% would be less likely to attend if there were no restrictions at all.

Audiences are still engaging with culture online.

  • 49% have engaged with culture online since venues reopened.
  • 28% said they would choose to engage online because they don’t feel confident enough to return in person yet.
  • 53% said they will enjoy engaging in a mixture of in-person and online cultural experiences.

Missing Audiences is supported by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland.

Discover the insights from the Missing Audiences for Northern Ireland - Wave 2 survey.

Missing Audiences NI Wave 2 Report c Insights Alliance

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(PDF 1,029KB)

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