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Engaging with museums, galleries and
heritage via Facebook
in the North East
Chiara Bonacchi & Areti Galani
International ...
• Increased use of social media for engagement
› financial constraints
• Lack of evidence base
› fragmented research and d...
• Methodology
• Make-up of the study
• Findings
• Conclusions for practice and research
Structure of the presentation
Methodology
• Mixed methods
› Qualitative and quantitative
• Focus groups
› Shipley Art Gallery, Great North Museum, Arbei...
Our survey respondents
The largest survey of this kind in the North East
526 respondents
Responses per institution
Shipley...
Differences between
types of institutions
Value
Lenses of interpretation
Situations
SITUATIONS
Who are the fans?
When and where do they engage
with MGH via Facebook?
With what motivations?
Who are the fans?
17 %
22%
24.5%
36 %
None
3 to 5
More than 5
1 or 2
Number of times fans have visited the
institutions th...
When and where are Facebook pages
used to engage with MGH?
In relation to in person visitation
Facebook is used to engage ...
4 %
20%
35 %
56 %
62%
iPod
Tablet
Desktop computer
Smartphone
Laptop
Devices used to engage online with MGH
Through what d...
What are the motivations for ‘liking’
MGH Facebook pages?
8%
9%
10%
18%
45%
47%
78%
79%
Wanted to connect with other peopl...
VALUE
How can social capital helps us
understand value in relation to
Facebook engagement with MGH?
Understanding value through social capital
Social capital
“the aggregate of the actual or potential resources which are
li...
Relationships built and sustained through
Facebook engagement with MGH
Connection with the institution
• 79% ‘liked’ the p...
Relationships built and sustained through
Facebook engagement with MGH
Connection with staff and fans
• built connections ...
• Facebook primarily as source of information about what
happens at the institution (e.g. exhibitions, events, etc.)
• Fac...
Visited in person
Attended events
Visited websitesDownloaded podcasts
Downloaded apps
What fans did to engage with MGH in ...
DIFFERENCES BETWEEN INSTITUTIONS
Is Facebook used differently by fans
of museums, galleries and heritage
sites?
To what ex...
Differences between types of institutions
ART GALLERIES
Shipley, Laing, Hatton, BALTIC
HERITAGE SITES
Arbeia, Segedunum, B...
Differences between types of institutions
Fans of heritage sites have a more subject-focussed
type of engagement
› Differe...
CONCLUSIONS
Differences between types of institutions
• Greater use of the Facebook pages of heritage sites in the
NE for knowledge sh...
Differences between types of institutions
What fans would like to see more of ...
• More photos of the institution’s colle...
Differences between types of institutions
• Research on the situation of engagement, leading to
more informed design pract...
• Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums
• Arts and Humanities Research Council
• Research participants
• All our survey hosts
We ...
THANK YOU!
Questions?
chiara.bonacchi@gmail.com
areti.galani@newcastle.ac.uk
http://digitalculturalengagement.wordpress.co...
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Engaging with museums, galleries and heritage via Facebook in the North East by Chiara Bonacchi and Areti Galani

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Presentation for: Users, fans and followers: Engaging with museums, galleries and heritage via social media, Newcastle University, 7 June 2013 (http://digitalculturalengagement.wordpress.com/). This research was funded by the AHRC Cultural Engagement Fund.

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Engaging with museums, galleries and heritage via Facebook in the North East by Chiara Bonacchi and Areti Galani

  1. 1. Engaging with museums, galleries and heritage via Facebook in the North East Chiara Bonacchi & Areti Galani International Centre for Cultural and Heritage Studies
  2. 2. • Increased use of social media for engagement › financial constraints • Lack of evidence base › fragmented research and data › desire for a people-centred approach Motivations for the project
  3. 3. • Methodology • Make-up of the study • Findings • Conclusions for practice and research Structure of the presentation
  4. 4. Methodology • Mixed methods › Qualitative and quantitative • Focus groups › Shipley Art Gallery, Great North Museum, Arbeia Roman Fort › Discussion-based and role-play • Facebook survey › 15 institutions in the NE › Art galleries, museums, heritage sites, science centre › Closed and open questions
  5. 5. Our survey respondents The largest survey of this kind in the North East 526 respondents Responses per institution Shipley Art Gallery Laing Art Gallery Segedunum Roman Fort Arbeia Roman Fort Stephenson Railway Museum South Shields Museum & Art Gallery Hatton Gallery Great North Museum Discovery Museum Woodhorn Museum BALTIC Centre for Life Bede's World Beamish Mima TWAM
  6. 6. Differences between types of institutions Value Lenses of interpretation Situations
  7. 7. SITUATIONS Who are the fans? When and where do they engage with MGH via Facebook? With what motivations?
  8. 8. Who are the fans? 17 % 22% 24.5% 36 % None 3 to 5 More than 5 1 or 2 Number of times fans have visited the institutions they 'liked' in the past 12 months The communities of fans of MGH Facebook pages coincide to a large extent with the communities of visitors to those institutions In the past 12 months … • 84% of respondents have visited the venue of which they are fans at least once • Half of them visited at least 3 times • No difference between fans of institutions with lower/higher numbers of local visitors
  9. 9. When and where are Facebook pages used to engage with MGH? In relation to in person visitation Facebook is used to engage with MGH primarily independently from visiting 15% 27% 81% Independently from visiting Right before visiting Right after visiting Everyday life situations Primarily at home (c. 3 in 5 respondents) Less at work & on the go (c. 1 in 5 respondents respectively)
  10. 10. 4 % 20% 35 % 56 % 62% iPod Tablet Desktop computer Smartphone Laptop Devices used to engage online with MGH Through what devices? A large proportion of online engagement with MGH is mobile • 80% uses handheld device • Higher levels of mobile access for art galleries
  11. 11. What are the motivations for ‘liking’ MGH Facebook pages? 8% 9% 10% 18% 45% 47% 78% 79% Wanted to connect with other people who 'like' the institution Some friends had also liked the page Like their online friends to know they are cultured Feel that institution reflects their views and tastes Impressed by a visit to institution and wanted to let friends know about it Driven by interest in collections Thought could obtain more info about what goes on at institution To support and promote the institution
  12. 12. VALUE How can social capital helps us understand value in relation to Facebook engagement with MGH?
  13. 13. Understanding value through social capital Social capital “the aggregate of the actual or potential resources which are linked to possession of a durable network” (Bourdieu 1986) • What relationships are built and sustained through Facebook engagement with MGH? • What cultural resources do these relationships mobilise? • How does Facebook engagement with MGH relate to other types of engagement?
  14. 14. Relationships built and sustained through Facebook engagement with MGH Connection with the institution • 79% ‘liked’ the page to support and promote the institution • 35% have increased the frequency of visitation as a result of their engagement with MGH via Facebook 90% 61% 27% 23% 2% How fans interact with the Facebook pages of MGH View Like Share Comment Message
  15. 15. Relationships built and sustained through Facebook engagement with MGH Connection with staff and fans • built connections useful for their profession (12%) • engaged with staff (8%) • met with people who share similar interests in the institution/relevant subjects (4%) • interaction with other fans online marginal (from focus group research) 90% 61% 27% 23% 2% How fans interact with the Facebook pages of MGH View Like Share Comment Message
  16. 16. • Facebook primarily as source of information about what happens at the institution (e.g. exhibitions, events, etc.) • Facebook helped to expand knowledge about subjects relevant to the institution (44%) › more so for people with lower education levels • Facebook as cultural index prompting visitation to the websites and Facebook pages of institutions similar to those ‘liked’ (47%) What resources are mobilised through these relationships?
  17. 17. Visited in person Attended events Visited websitesDownloaded podcasts Downloaded apps What fans did to engage with MGH in the past 12 months 93% 58% 89%8% 18% How does Facebook engagement relate to other forms of engagement with MGH?
  18. 18. DIFFERENCES BETWEEN INSTITUTIONS Is Facebook used differently by fans of museums, galleries and heritage sites? To what extent do these differences exist offline?
  19. 19. Differences between types of institutions ART GALLERIES Shipley, Laing, Hatton, BALTIC HERITAGE SITES Arbeia, Segedunum, Bede’s World, Beamish MUSEUMS Stephenson Railway Museum, GNM: Hancock, South Shields Museum & Art Gallery, Woodhorn Museum • Facebook pages of art galleries and museums are used more as platforms for receiving info through feeds • Facebook pages of heritage sites are identified more with the actual sites › Have greater interaction between fans and staff › Have higher levels of after visitation interaction › Have fans with greater interest in the job of staff Differences between types of institutions
  20. 20. Differences between types of institutions Fans of heritage sites have a more subject-focussed type of engagement › Differences between fans of the Shipley Art Gallery and GNM: Hancock vs. fans of Arbeia Roman Fort › My PhD showed that: based on a sample of 1,500 respondents internationally, people who engage with archaeology by visiting archaeological sites have significantly higher levels of interest in the subject than those who engage via museum visitation only To what extent do these differences exist offline?
  21. 21. CONCLUSIONS
  22. 22. Differences between types of institutions • Greater use of the Facebook pages of heritage sites in the NE for knowledge sharing • Art galleries in the NE can take greater advantage of higher levels of access via handheld devices in the design of their Facebook offering • The study suggested that there is value in Facebook as a tool to maintain awareness but other aspects of value should be investigated further • A question remains open on the value of Facebook in relation to other social media and modalities of engagement online Insights into practice
  23. 23. Differences between types of institutions What fans would like to see more of ... • More photos of the institution’s collections (70%) • More information about events taking place at the institution (64%) • Topicality of comments and updates But ... • Games and quizzes (12%) • Posts to invite Facebook fans to meet up in person (10%) Insights into practice
  24. 24. Differences between types of institutions • Research on the situation of engagement, leading to more informed design practice around MGH social media • Research on the processes through which cultural capital is mobilised via digital engagement with MGH › in relation to non digital forms of engagement with MGH › to other cultural practices › considering differences between institutions and subjects • Research on value of digital cultural engagment drawing on the construct of ‘social capital’ Research prospects
  25. 25. • Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums • Arts and Humanities Research Council • Research participants • All our survey hosts We would like to thank ...
  26. 26. THANK YOU! Questions? chiara.bonacchi@gmail.com areti.galani@newcastle.ac.uk http://digitalculturalengagement.wordpress.com/

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