Investigating lapsed arts participation – volunteers needed

Investigating lapsed arts participation – volunteers needed

Dr Stephanie Pitts is working on an AHRC Cultural Value project investigating lapsed and partial arts engagement, and exploring the reasons why people stop playing a musical instrument as adults, or intend to go to the theatre but never quite get round to it.

Working as part of the Sheffield Performer and Audience Research Centre with the support of research assistant Katy Robinson (a BMus and MA Psychology of Music graduate from the department), Stephanie has launched online surveys that aim to reach Sheffield arts audiences and the many amateur musicians and singers in the city, some of whom might have had gaps in their past arts involvement, or know of others who have left their ensemble or ceased to play their instrument.

She is taking the opportunity to explore attitudes to Sheffield as a city for the arts, and so to contribute to the political and academic debate on how the arts contribute to people’s lives, and how they might be better promoted and supported.

The next phase of the research will involve life history interviews with audience members and past performers, as well as an ‘audience exchange’, where regular concert-goers are taken to see contemporary dance, or cinema-goers transplanted to the theatre. Through these varied methods, the research aims to understand audience loyalty to specific genres or venues, and whether there is any such thing as a cross-arts audience, to which arts organisations could market their events in a more collaborative way.

The online surveys still need more responses to help make this research a significant contribution to the ‘Cultural Value’ debate. If you or your friends fit the categories of regular or occasional arts attenders, or current or lapsed musical participants, please go online to complete the survey or spread the word by passing on the link below.

Complete the survey.

For more information contact Dr Stephanie Pitts on or Katy Robinson on