The Visitor Studies Group: Championing excellent visitor experiences

News & Events

The latest news and upcoming events from The Visitor Studies Group (VSG). To find out more or make a booking please see the events posted below.

Visitor Studies Group Mentorship Programme Launched!

Who are VSG?

The Visitor Studies Group is a volunteer-run membership organisation that aims to promote dialogue, facilitate debate and provide high quality training to support the professional development of those working in or engaging with audience research, evaluation, audience development, learning, community engagement and more in the cultural sector.

What is the mentorship programme?

This has been a year of great change, uncertainty and reflection. In light of this, Visitor Studies Group is launching its new mentorship scheme. With advice and guidance from sector specialists this is a chance to try something new and receive personalised one-to-one mentor support.

Connecting with a mentor could help you hone your skills, push your practice, extend your network and broaden your knowledge and understanding about this way of researching with visitors.

What do you get from the connecting with a mentor?

  • Access to an experienced specialist to support an area of your professional development.
  • Deepen your knowledge of audience and evidence-based audience focused practice.
  • Advice and guidance on the development and delivery of a new audience research or evaluation initiative at your organisation.
  • Tips and techniques for making the most of your evidence and making sure it’s effectively implemented and actioned.
  • An opportunity to engage in reflective practice with an experienced sector professional.

Who can apply?

This programme is open to all – you don’t need to be a current VSG member – but is best suited to those in the early years of their career and whose work, or interests, have an emphasis on audience research, evaluation or audience insight. This can be based around your current role or where you would like to take your career.

We think it might be useful, but not essential, for mentees to have an area of practice or upcoming project they want to learn about or for so there can be focus to the partnership.

We at VSG would like to play our part in supporting colleagues from BAME and other underrepresented backgrounds in the UK cultural heritage sector. We will therefore prioritise applicants from these backgrounds. At VSG we try to be as inclusive as possible but recognise that we may not have done enough in the past – this is a small step to try to be better and build, with intent, a more diverse membership and network.

When will it happen?

Open from September 2020 to August 2021, the structure of the mentorship will be designed to suit the mentorship pair. It can be either short or long term and will involve the pair speaking (online, by phone, in person if local) up to four times a year.

How do you apply?

To apply please fill out the accompanying application form which can be found here

Details of the potential mentors can be found here

Please submit you application no later than 12pm on Monday September 14th.

If you have any queries, please email

Virtual Tea with VSG (2 June 2020)

Tea with VSG Tuesday, 2nd June 2020, 3-4pm via Zoom  Join us for an informal hour of conversation over tea/coffee. We will be discussing as a group burning questions about the current situation and visitor studies more generally as well as provide support and direction to participants. We will also be listening to your needsContinue Reading

2020 conference programme announced!

  Today, we are delighted to release the VSG Conference 2020 Programme !   This year’s annual conference, Co-Creating the Future: Participation and the Role of Visitor Studies will take place 5 & 6th March 2020 at the Museum of London.   Tickets can be purchased via Eventbrite and there is a 10% early bird offer available until Friday 24th January (enterContinue Reading

2020 Conference – tickets on sale!

  We are delighted to open our 2020 conference for booking. Co-Creating the Future: Participation and the Role of Visitor Studies will take place 5 & 6th March 2020 at the Museum of London. Tickets can be purchased via Eventbrite . Over two days, we will explore, interrogate and understand how emerging research and evaluation around participatoryContinue Reading

2020 conference bursary opportunity!

Each year the Visitor Studies Group offers one bursary to support one person to attend our annual conference. This year we are offering one full (two-day) ticket for the conference plus £100 towards travel and accommodation. We are welcoming applications now. To apply, we ask that you send us one or two paragraphs demonstrating whyContinue Reading

Visitor Studies Group Conference 2020

  We are delighted to announce the call for papers for our annual conference 2020. The topic of our 2020 conference is Co-Creating the Future: Participation and the Role of Visitor Studies. The conference will take place at the Museum of London, March 5th & 6th, 2020. Over these two days, we will explore, interrogateContinue Reading

Big data toolkit

As part of the VSG 2018 Conference, ‘Big Data, Big Opportunities’, delegates were invited to contribute ideas to a ‘Big Data Toolkit’.  We have compiled notes collected from the conference into the toolkit, which we are sharing with VSG members.  This includes examples of ‘big’ and ‘bigger’ data used in the sector, examples of ‘bigContinue Reading

Masterclass -Commissioning audience research: a practical guide

23 January 2019, 15:00 – 17:30, Dana Research Centre and Library, Science Museum Tickets are free for Visitor Studies Group members or cost £30 for non-members and £20 for independent freelancers or students. Book via Eventbrite . The amount of audience research that the museums, culture and tourism sectors commission from external evaluators and agencies is everContinue Reading

#VSGConf19 tickets on sale!

Tickets for the Visitor Studies Group conference, 2019, have been released. Book via Eventbrite . ***Use discount code ERLYBRD for 10% off before 18th January.*** “Visitor studies: reflecting the wider world, advocating for change?” March 7th and 8th, 2019, National Gallery, London As visitor studies practitioners seeking to understand the broad identities of our visitors, how canContinue Reading

Networking drinks – Sept 2018

Please join us on Tuesday 11th September at the Somers Town Coffee House from 6.30-8pm for networking drinks. Meet members of the committee and other audience researchers to discuss the latest happenings in the world of visitor studies as well as ideas for #VSGConf19’s  call for papers . If you are planning on attending, please email:  so we canContinue Reading

#VSGConf19 – Call for Papers

We are delighted to open up submissions for our 2019 conference: “Visitor studies: reflecting the wider world, advocating for change?” Taking place March 7th and 8th at the National Gallery London, we are looking for sessions that explore, interrogate and understand how emerging trends – especially those borne from audience research both within and outside theContinue Reading

‘Big data, big opportunities?’ – Reflections

  This year’s VSG Conference, ‘Big data, big opportunities?’ took place March 8th and 9th in London’s Natural History Museum.  Our bursary recipient, Elena Trimarchi, reflects on a busy two days: The theme of this year’s conference was Big Data. One of the things that most struck me was the variety of the speakers’ backgrounds:Continue Reading

The Visitor Studies Survival Kit training workshop

Training event, Inverness, 19th March 2018 The Visitor Studies Group has partnered with GEM  to offer ‘The Visitor Studies Survival Kit’ to be held in Inverness next year. Presenting an overview of qualitative and quantitative research techniques that can be delivered on limited budgets with limited resources, this event will give GEM and Visitor Studies Group membersContinue Reading

Conference 2018

  ***Tickets can be purchased via Eventbrite .*** The full programme is available for download here:  VSG Conference 2018 Programme . In visitor studies, we are constantly striving to respond to an ever-changing socio-political landscape. We are frequently tasked with helping our organisations understand and support evidence-informed decision making, in response to these often complex areas. As populations and communitiesContinue Reading

Conference 2018: Call for Papers

  We are excited to announce the theme for our 2018 annual conference and issue our call for papers . The theme will be: ‘Big data, big opportunities?’ In visitor studies, we are constantly striving to respond to an ever-changing socio-political landscape. We are frequently tasked with helping our organisations understand and support evidence-informed decision making, in responseContinue Reading

Bursary applications open!

Applications for the 2017 Alison James Professional Development Bursary are now open.  In 2017 the VSG annual bursary will provide financial assistance to those in the early stages of their career to provide support and encouragement in their professional development. The closing date for applications this year is Monday 8 May 2017. Applicants will be expectedContinue Reading

Conference reflections

This year, the Visitor Studies Group were happy to be able to offer a bursary to assist one person to attend our conference.  Louise Treble of Glasgow Museums was the deserving recipient and through the bursary was able to attend the full two day conference.  Louise has kindly summarised her experience of the conference: As theContinue Reading

Conference programme announced!

The full programme  for the Visitor Studies Group’s 2017 conference, ”Measuring up”: ways of capturing social value and more intangible outcomes’ is available to view now. We think this is one of our most exciting programmes yet, featuring speakers from a diverse range of organisations and institutions both within and outside of the heritage sector. A sample ofContinue Reading

December socials!

We are planning two festive social events in December, one in London and one in Glasgow.  We would love to see you at either, or both!   Glasgow, 1st December Come along to Brewdog (1397 Argyle St) at 6pm for a wee drink and some friendly visitor studies chat.   Kelvin Hall is just around the cornerContinue Reading

Social event in London!

Join VSG committee members to catch up on all things visitor studies over a drink or two.  Find out what others are up to and share questions, thoughts and experiences on research and evaluation, or anything else that’s on your mind.  Plus we’ll be chatting about our 2017 conference theme, hot off the press! When:Continue Reading