Working Session at the University of Chicago for New Research Study on Campus Art Museums

October 26, 2010

On Tuesday, November 2, Slover Linett partner Peter Linett will co-lead a public lunch at the University of Chicago’s Cultural Policy Center to discuss a new study of the multiple audiences served by campus-based art museums. Linett and project colleagues Tom Shapiro, Betty Farrell, and Tony Hirschel, will solicit input on the design and priorities of the research from academic museum practitioners and others interested in the sector.

The working session, entitled The Multiple Audiences of Campus-Based Art Museums — What Do We Need to Know?, will be held from 12:00 noon to 1:30pm at the University of Chicago’s Harris School of Public Policy, 1155 E. 60th St., Room 224.

The event is part of the Cultural Policy Center’s ongoing workshop series and is free and open to all. Lunch will be provided.

The audience ecology of campus-based art museums is unusually complex: it includes not only faculty, students, staff, and alumni of the university, but also visitors, members, donors, and other constituencies not otherwise affiliated with the university. These “gown” and “town” audiences, with their multiplicity of needs, perceptions, motivations, and expectations, represent potentially competing “pulls” on the museum’s limited resources and programs.

Linett and Tom Shapiro, a strategist and planner for cultural institutions, have begun to develop a research study to help illuminate those multiple audiences. The study will involve a small group of leading campus-based art museums around the U.S., which will serve as collaborators and sites for rigorous, in-depth audience research. The findings that emerge will help not only the participating few museums, but many other campus-based art museums and perhaps some non-campus museums, as well, operate more successfully in their complex environments.

Linett and Shapiro will be joined by Tony Hirschel, director of the Smart Museum of Art at the University of Chicago, which will be one of the participating museums, and by Betty Farrell, who directs the Cultural Policy Center, a key partner in the study.

“We’re eager to get a sense of what other practitioners want to learn from this process,” says Linett. “We’re doing this at the earliest stages of designing the study because we want to make sure it’s framed in a way that will be useful to the whole field. So we’re inviting other campus art museum directors from around Chicago, and we’re looking forward to a broad conversation about what we need to know.”

If you’re interested in the relationship between art museums, universities, and the public, we hope you’ll join us on November 2. No reservations are required, but feel free to let us know you’ll be attending.


Category: Museums

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