An empirical study of family group visitors to a millennium art gallery in the UK
This thesis describes the results of an empirical study addressing the nature of family group visitors to a recently built art gallery. Specifically, the aims of this research were: To clarify what 'family' means in the context of family group visitors to a new art gallery * To explore the motivations of family group visitors in new art galleries * To explore the experience of family group visitors looking at modem art in new art galleries * To observe the behaviour of family group visitors looking at modem art in new art galleries * To provide evidence about family groups by collecting empirical data rather than relying on assumptions about family group visitors The research findings were obtained using qualitative and qualitative methods, analysis of interviews, survey data and statistical analysis, empirical observation, from the literature, from the researcher's own interpretation and the comments and quotations gathered throughout the research. The study begins by presenting a comprehensive taxonomy of family visitor studies research to date. A case study then tests seven hypotheses, shedding light on aspects of family group visiting that have been only partially illuminated in previous studies. The case study demonstrates the significance of the demographic findings; defining, accurately measuring and describing family group visitors to temporary exhibitions of modern art and makes an original contribution to methodology by advancing previous video observational research, harnessing the potential of CCTV film footage as an observational tool using existing in-house surveillance technology. Conclusions include: *A high proportion of grandparent family visitor groups within the sample, with important implications for the future development of the over 50 age group and their grandchildren, as an audience for contemporary art. * Family group visitors expect to enjoy looking at modem art, and typically visit several times, without however, increasing their knowledge of modem art; the study shows that family visitors are 'perpetual beginners' despite previous visits to modern art exhibitions. * Children are instrumental in the visit and engage in 'teaching behaviour' towards adult family members, showing and discussing the exhibits with parents and particularly, grandparents. The significance of the research is highlighted and future research topics are suggested.