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Audience development

Developing audiences is a role that requires experience in applying research to develop new content, products or services and increase patronage.

It involves much more than naming ‘target audiences’.  We find out the significance or interest that new developments have for audiences and how they are likely to use them.

Increasing participation can involve a few hours’ work or involvement in projects over a longer period. The work is unique to each organisation and place.



‘Patricia worked with Boroondara City Council on three projects over three years, to improve our communication to ratepayers and residents. We changed the format of the newsletter to be focussed on local people’s interests and activities. We also changed forms of engagement, especially with Planning Services, to anticipate and directly address people’s needs.’

Deb Ganderton, Executive Manager Communications and Engagement, Boroondara City Council


The most immersive audience development work was conducted by Patricia as a Fulbright fellow at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History, Washington. She conducted formative research with groups visiting the museum and with a group of tertiary Museum Studies students.

Results were applied in the design work of the consultants and the Web team to shape the website, History Wired and choose its name. When it was launched in August 2001, History Wired attracted many more visitors than any previous Smithsonian website.

A small team of researchers conducted sociocultural analysis as well as audience interviews to assist in the design of the National Library of Australia’s Picture Australia website (now Trove). This website has provided access to the picture collections of many other cultural institutions in Australia. Our earliest work of this kind was with the State Library of Victoria’s Pictoria collection in 1997.

It’s inspiring to work on audience development with creative people and to see innovative services created through this kind of collaboration.

Keep up to date with our findings and insights by joining our mailing list.

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