“It makes art more approachable”

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.

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.

Part 4:

After the event – staying connected

Late at Tate research shows an interest in a different way to engage with art; it also underlined what we found in previous research[ii] with young people – events are often at the start of a relationship. There is an opportunity to communicate more of the gallery’s permanent offer and what else there is for young people at the event. We also saw a desire to join in and stay connected with Tate/the young people’s programme.

When I came I thought it would be cool to get involved with an event like that and I did not find a way of doing that. And if I am to get involved, it is that word of mouth again, because then all my friends would know about it.


In terms of frequency, they wanted Late at Tate to stay be as infrequent as it is (as opposed to fortnightly for example) – again, it adds to the exclusivity and related fear-of-missing-out that are key visit drivers.

While Facebook was a key communication tool before the event, during the event Snapchat was more popular and Twitter and Instagram after the event. However, on Twitter respondents were more likely to follow people (friends, artists, news, media) than organisations (“…feels more personal…”). After the event pictures and clips are appreciated, reminding of the event and adding to their identity:

“If your photo was on the Tate website you are cool”.

Late at Tate projects a different image of art galleries and of Tate Britain.

It changed young people’s perceptions of art galleries as being interesting places to visit even if they might not be particularly interested in art in the first place.

It is changing the impressions we have about museums. It is not something you will do on a school trip and have to listen to the guide and be bored, you can have fun there and find something interesting for you.


“The term museum for a lot of people of my age has a lot of negative connotations… boring, static, old people. An event like Late at Tate completely rubbishes all these connotations.”

“Very rarely I decide it is Saturday morning, I will go to a museum.”

“It makes art more approachable to a younger audience. If you are interested in art you visit museums but if you are not interested in art you may find yourself there and you may develop an interest.”

The Late events also showed Tate Britain as being relevant and more contemporary than they would usually think.

“They understand what they need to do to approach young people… when it makes it fun for someone who is 18.”

“I know Tate Britain is more classical but Late at Tate shows they also appreciate more contemporary art.”

[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.

[ii] https://circuit.tate.org.uk/2015/03/source-space-at-tate-britain/

Images copyright Dan Weill