The Visitor Studies Group: Championing excellent visitor experiences
The VSG is managed by a committee elected from the Membership.
Chair: Beth Bryan
Barbican Futures Planning Officer (Audience Strategy) & Freelance Audience Research and Evaluation Consultant
Beth is currently supporting the organisational strategic change and leading on the Audience Strategy at the Barbican Centre in London. One of her current projects is to review data collection across the organisation. Her work has largely been connected to National Lottery Heritage Fund projects and Arts Council England NPO funding, but has wide reaching audiences and research purposes across the spectrum. Beth holds a B.A. in History with a minor in Classical Civilisations from the University of Michigan and a M.A. in Museum Studies from UCL.
Deputy Chair and Treasurer: Ellen Stuart
Public Participation and Engagement Manager for the Scottish Covid-19 Inquiry
Ellen is currently working for the Scottish Covid-19 Inquiry as a Public Participation and Engagement Manager, following nine years at the Museum of London, carrying out audience analysis, front-end and summative evaluation, developing engagement strategies for the new London Museum, plus a stint in marketing. She holds a BA in History from Durham University, an MA in Heritage Education and Interpretation from the University of Newcastle, and the MRS Advanced Certificate in Market and Social Research Practice. Her professional interests include deliberative methods, consultative panels and inclusive research design. Ellen lives in Scotland.
Conference Lead: Ogo Okafor
Audience Insights Manager, Southbank Centre
Ogo is the Audience Insights Manager at the Southbank Centre. Her work includes using a mix of quantitative and qualitative methods to understand who their audiences are. She is engaged in long term research projects such as analysing new audiences, mapping against public datasets and collaborating with industry peers to establish best practices for asking for sensitive information in surveys. Previously she has been an arts marketer, developing and executing campaigns for the Southbank Centre, the Museum of London, Film Africa and Africa Writes. She has a Law LLB (Hons) from Keele University and an IDM Professional Diploma in Direct and Digital Marketing.
Conference Support: Kitty Yiu
Kitty is a recent graduate of MA Museum Studies in United College London. She has finished her dissertation which involved an audience research at the National Railway Museum, exploring the potential for learning in museum open storage. She is an early career audience researcher with a wealth of experience in different fields – media, education and culture. Previously she worked with a small team to develop a site-wide interpretation for the Canons House and Grounds Project. She assisted in evaluation sessions with the local community and people with disabilities. Kitty also developed an exhibition which is currently on display in the Leventis Gallery, UCL. She led the Audience Research Team to carry out both front-end and formative evaluations to inform the development of the exhibition’s content and design. Kitty specifically focuses on qualitative research with a mixture of methods, including focused discussions, interviews, observations and accompanied visits.
Conference Support: Laura Thomson Turnage
Senior Learning Manager, Museum of London and Museum of London Docklands
As Senior Learning Manager at the Museum of London Laura oversees all schools and family audience programming leading a team that organises activities for a variety audiences over multiple sites. She has over 10 years’ experience of working with schools and families in museums and is an advocate for programming that is driven by the needs and desires of the participants. Her current projects focus on engaging schools with sensitive and challenging topics and contributing to the new London Museum project as a Learning Specialist.
Communications Lead: Carol Chung (Maternity Leave)
Research Support Officer based at the Science Museum, London
Carol is Research Support Officer based at the Science Museum, London. She is responsible for developing budgets for research grants and managing post-award project finance and reporting. She is the key contact for the research events programme, liaising with external and internal stakeholders to deliver research events. Carol is also Project Manager for AHRC project Congruence Engine, which explores digital linkages across national collections. Carol is a UCL-trained museum researcher specialising in audience research and museum learning and is experienced in managing international cultural projects and developing research in East Asian museum context. She has successfully delivered two AHRC projects on UK-China cultural collaboration. Carol will be Co-Investigator for a new project ‘Communicating Time and Culture: Championing a global perspective in science and technology through public engagement’, starting in May 2023.
Communications Lead: Tiggy Allen
Impact & Evaluation Manager, London Transport Museum
Tiggy is a museum professional with experience in community-led engagement, audience research and impact evaluation spanning museums in India and the UK. She is currently responsible for designing, managing and delivering evaluation of learning and inter-departmental engagement programmes, championing participatory evaluation practice, audience development and funder reporting. Previously, as Operations & Programmes Manager at ReReeti Foundation, she led on two of India’s first publicly available audience research and community engagement projects – one for the Museum of Art & Photography, Bangalore segmenting the Indian population, and another for the Indian Music Experience Museum, Bangalore which sought to use front-end evaluation to create bespoke accessible museum experiences for children from socially disadvantaged backgrounds, and children with additional needs. Tiggy holds an MA by Research from the University of Leeds in History, with her research focussing on exploring how anti-colonial resistance is represented in heritage sites in India and the UK in the present day. In her spare time, she is a heritage writer, as has been published by Sahapedia, Scroll.in and the South Asia Monitor.
Communications Support: Rebecca Prentice
Rebecca is Curator at The R&A World Golf Museum. Her role also encompasses the heritage of The R&A and The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews. She works to ensure that the R&A values of courage, integrity and inclusivity are integrated within all areas of museum life. She recently managed ‘Fore! Driving Inclusivity’, an audience development project seeking to engage local audiences with the Collection. Prior to working in golf, Rebecca was Assistant Curator in Learning and Access at the University of St Andrews Museum Collections and Moray Art Centre in the north of Scotland. She is currently looking at developing a digital guide for an museum app.
Networking and Events Lead: Josie Wood
Networking and Events Support: Julia Riley
Networking and Events Support: Hudson Ray
Audience Researcher (Sound and Vision), The National Science and Media Museum, Bradford.
Hudson is an early career audience researcher on the Sound & Vision project, a major redevelopment of the museum’s main gallery spaces set to open in 2025. This project requires a jack-of-all-trades approach to audience research to ensure the interpretation, interactives, and supported learning programmes serve audiences’ needs for its 25-year lifespan. With the museum remaining closed until 2024, this work is based primarily within local community groups, ensuring that the needs of our closest priority audiences are integral to the design of the galleries. Hudson holds a BSc in Astrophysics and an MSc in the History of Science from the University of Manchester. As an ex- SMG explainer, they remain devoted to delivering and understanding the impact of accessible STEAM experiences.
Committee Member: Jenny Ruddock (Maternity Leave)
Audience Development and Insights Manager in the Chamber and Participation team at UK Parliament
Jenny is the Audience Development and Insights Manager in the Chamber and Participation Team at UK Parliament. Her role involves looking at audience data, insights and targeting across Participation’s apolitical role in encouraging democratic engagement, including school visits, community outreach, public tours and events. Her previous role was in the audience insights at St Paul’s Cathedral, working on broadening their secular audiences and improving their evaluation and monitoring. She has also spent several years as a Grants Manager working on London-based projects at the National Lottery Heritage Fund, and prior to this worked in heritage learning, with an MA in Museum Studies from Leicester.
Group Administrator: Lucy Moriarty
Lucy is the Visitor Studies Group Administrator. She is also Community Action Manager at Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust. She holds a BA in History and an MA in Socially Engaged Practice in Museums and Galleries. She works half a day per week for VSG, and all emails sent to firstname.lastname@example.org reach her inbox.