The Visitor Studies Group: Championing excellent visitor experiences

Marge Ainsley


  • independent evaluation
  • visitor research
  • user and non-user consultation
  • online evaluation
  • audience development planning
  • training and mentoring


Marge is a well-respected cultural consultant with specialist expertise in research and evaluation. A Member of the Market Research Society and The Evaluation Society, she was previously voted one of the 50 best freelancers in the UK by marketing magazine, The Drum. Since launching her consultancy in 2008, she’s worked with a range of libraries, museums and archives across the UK and internationally on a range of projects which seek to evidence insight and impact. These have ranged from evaluation of major grants programmes (often funded by Arts Council England or NHLF) through to delivering training and facilitation in monitoring, evaluation and research for organisations with limited in-house expertise.

She supports organisations by:

  • advising how to understand their audiences and use data strategically for marketing and audience
    development planning
  • conducting primary independent exploratory research, for example with non-users
  • working collaboratively to develop robust evaluation frameworks (logic models)
  • conducting independent evaluation of their projects
  • advising how to conduct online evaluation
  • training staff and volunteers in evaluation, research and best practice methods of data collection.


Marge began her career in 2001 at Museums Sheffield. Following marketing and visitor research roles she went freelance in 2008. Since then, she’s worked with numerous arts organisations across the UK including Manchester International Festival, Museums Development Northwest, Museums Development Yorkshire, National Museums Liverpool, Cumbria Archives, Cheshire Archives, Signal Film & Media, Manchester Museum, Manchester Art Gallery, The Whitworth, Dales Countryside Museum, Macclesfield Museums Trust, West Cheshire Museums, Scottish Book Trust, London Transport Museum, Arts Council England and Fountains Abbey (National Trust, Ripon).

Further details regarding her work approach, testimonials and client-base can be found at

Contact Info

Telephone: 07816 296218



Photo credit: Chris Payne

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