So for the event that we ran on March 17th (Circuit Spring Art Party) myself and the young evaluators team came up with a small ‘to fill in’ letter entitled “Dear Whitworth”. The questions that we are getting answered in the evaluation process are as follows:
- I travelled from
- What did I come to see
- Who told me about the event
- Favourite thing at the event & why
- Art / Social / Entertainment aspects are the reason I came
- I also loved
- Next time I’d like to see
The evaluation sheet that we devised looked a little something like this with thanks to our Gallery designer Ian for adding in the branding to make sure that the event and evaluation worked in uniform.
How did we decide on this format?
The group and I began to discuss different ways of evaluation that they personally thought they liked, and worked well with events that they have visited with Circuit or on their own. Some techniques mentioned kept people occupied whilst they completed the evaluation for example having a caricature drawn of you whilst you answer questions. Other techniques involved creating a collaborative artwork for example posting all your feedback onto a tree stump and over the event the piece becomes more and more complex as people want to add to it.
We asked how we thought we could entice people into completing our surveys. The group mentioned that getting something in response to completing a task is always a good way to get people participating. The theme of the event that we were evaluating was based around story telling (loosely based to our new Ben Rivers installation).
Creating some form of letter seemed to be a great idea and meant we could work with one of our artists in residence Caveman to help word the letter. As a giveaway and yet still linking into the theme I developed the idea we could give away origami paper, with instructions on how to create your own small envelope (referring back to theme of the event).
After meeting with the group and discussing the ideas we all agree’d that this technique will work with the event, after showing the group a map of the gallery and where the different activities will be taking place we began to discuss where is most suitable for our evaluation to take place.
In the event we have films being shown in our grand hall, Which meant that most of the public will be coming into the gallery via our Oxford Road entrance.
As a standard we will be doing 2 other evaluation techniques during the event; Circuit surveys on our iPads and also the thumbprint map that Charlotte Davies (previous lead evaluator) developed.
The map technique will be placed in our Oxford Road entrance to catch people as they enter the building, and the iPads will be with our WYC group walking around the building catching people as they travel from event to event around the gallery.
With help from two members of the core group, we managed to get all 50 sheets of ‘Dear Whitworth’ filled in in under 2 hours, helped by the fact that the evaluation took less than a minute to complete. The small origami added bonus meant that people filled out our evaluation, and then begin to socialise with the people who are also participating. I have since digitalised all the data into a spreadsheet to breakdown the questions and people’s response’s into a workable format.
The thumbprint map was filled in thoroughly as well which is a great success, I will be digitalising the data from this in the coming week and lots of iPad surveys were filled out as well with thanks from the student producers and the core group.
The information from the map will be digitalised soon so that we can then start to review what areas of Manchester we need to spend further time reaching too.
One of the main points was that feedback on the night of the event, was that the evaluation techniques were far too focused together. This is one thing I have fed back too the group that next time we need to change where in the gallery we are based. Even though the idea of having everything where most people were entering the building worked well on getting the data we needed yet felt an annoyance to people coming to the event. This was also expressed from the core group so next time we will approach the location of the evaluation differently.
The letter & origami technique worked really well, the main high point being that it only takes a minute to fill in. The group have communicated that as it was so short, people were happy to fill out the sheet where as most evaluation (especially iPad surveys) take a while to complete.
Event as a whole:
The event as a whole brought a really good varied group of the public into the gallery. Lots of different style events around the gallery kept everyone entertained and sociable. Jason Singh’s performance in the portrait gallery was a great way to fill the gallery with sound as soon as you entered the building. The film entitled ‘Digital Peel 3’ was a great premier as well. Having attended the last 2 premieres of previous editions of the series, I can confidently say that the event at the Whitworth had just as much if not more energy and good vibes as any of the others.