“In tune with our culture”

How Late at Tate is changing perceptions of a gallery visit for young people.


Sabine Doolin, Audience Research & Insight Manager at Tate, reviews findings from audience research of Late at Tate.

Since 2015 Late at Tate is part of the Young People’s Programme and young people have central input into the programme content through Tate Collective London and through external partners. With a mix of music, participatory elements, interventions, discussions and debates, Late at Tate aims to create an open, relaxed and welcoming atmosphere in which young people can engage with, explore and enjoy the Tate collection as a more accessible way into art and Tate. It is targeted at people aged 18-25 years old, younger and more ethnically and socio-economically diverse than the usual Tate Britain audience.

In 2015 we ran six events and conducted audience research[i] to find out who is coming and to better understand the before, during and after of a visit to Late at Tate. In this and the next 3 posts will look review what we have learned.

Here is an overview of the research outcomes:


Who is coming – and identity

Late at Tate attracts different visitors than the usual Tate Britain audience. They are younger, more ethnically diverse, more local and more likely to be on a first time visit, showing that Late events can play a significant role in attracting a new and different audience.


The events also changed young people’s perceptions of art galleries as being interesting places to visit and Tate Britain as being relevant and more contemporary than they might usually think.

An interesting aspect emerged in several conversations, how young people are shaping their identity. Young people go through developmental changes in adolescence and early adulthood. Generally they develop a personal sense of identity around issues such as gender, physical attributes, sexuality, ethnicity, and explore issues such as Who am I? How do I fit in? How am I competent? Intellectual interests gain importance and self-involvement. As we have discovered in the earlier Source & Space research, self-expression and collaboration and the development of self-worth are important, too. Young people develop peer relationships, making new friends and emphasising their peer group. In the digital age, social media are an important way to shape identities. We saw in some of the research findings how attending events and communicating digitally contribute to this shaping of identity and it is worth considering this in our future work.


[i] The research was conducted by Sphere Insights (Angela Diakopoulou) using a mixed quantitative and qualitative methodology with 824 face-to-face surveys at the events, 30 in-depth friendship group interviews, one focus group and several depth telephone interviews.

Images copyright Dan Weill