Young People’s Motivation

The Tate Research Centre: Learning has just published a great review of literature focusing on Young People’s Motivation towards Gallery Engagement by Claire Sowton, University of Edinburgh. It is an insightful collection of contemporary issues and thoughts around current conversations towards the motivations of young people to engage with galleries.

This literature review provides an overview of key research, policy and practice around the motivation of young people to engage with arts and cultural experiences taking place within the galleries and museums sector.

The purpose of this review is to provide an understanding of the literature in order to inform the development of a research proposal focused on the ARTIST ROOMS on tour exhibition.

Three areas are explored:

  • The motivation of young people to get involved.
  • The ways that galleries (and other cultural organisations) engage with young people.
  • The types of methodologies used when conducting research on young people’s motivation and engagement.

It fore fronts the role of trust and discusses the restrictions towards participation including cost, lack of motivation, parental influence, geography, time, and perceptions of galleries as well as the importance towards pedagogies of co-construction being central to the engagement.

Tzibazi uses Participatory Action Research (PAR) engaging young people in the process of the research. The advantage of the participatory approach lies in the nature of young people’s engagement with the research process as co-creators. The intention ofPAR, which is strongly connected to social justice movements, is the development of critical consciousness and agency. In order to avoid tokenistic gestures it is important that organisations utilising PAR must be committed and able to implement the recommendations of those involved in the process. PAR, when successfully implemented, offers opportunities for increasing confidence and contributing to identity development.

If museums are to create a participatory culture in which young people are co-creators of museum experiences they have to trust the participants’ abilities.

Gofman et al use a solution-oriented experiment referred to as Rule Developing Experimentation (RDE). RDE offers participants different conceptual prototypes (‘concepts’) that combine different aspects of an experience. These aspects might include emotional measures, specific museum features and services. Respondents then consider their preferences for these different concepts. Data generated fromRDE comprises a baseline understanding of a respondents likelihood of attending an exhibition and a conditional probability of attendance if a particular aspect was included. RDE is used to understand and develop ideas for marketing purposes.

(For all references and footnotes please see the article published on the Tate Research Centre: Learning)

This literature review was commissioned by ARTIST ROOMS. The ARTIST ROOMS Research Partnership is collaboration between Tate and National Galleries of Scotland with the Universities of Edinburgh, Glasgow and Newcastle.

We look forward to seeing your comments and feedback to the review.