In advance of my independent evaluation of ‘folly!’, an on-site contemporary art programme in 2018, I’m working with the Fountains Abbey & Studley Royal Water Garden team to try out new methods of visitor feedback.

Getting ‘scrappy’ by using basic prototypes is allowing us to figure out what works – and doesn’t – across this large outdoor site. It’s also allowing us to capture baselines and produce a structured evaluation framework. It’s helping staff to challenge their ideas about what is possible in the space; including how participating in feedback can ‘enhance’ rather than impede the overall visitor experience.

I have to admit, it’s a real luxury to have an opportunity in advance to put these research instruments through their paces.

Following testing in 2017, my role will be to:

  • develop the final evaluation framework with clear outputs, outcomes, indicators and methods (working with the National Trust’s evaluation guidelines and expectations)
  • undertake primary research during folly! 2018
  • analysis of data (including against targets and benchmarks)
  • reporting and recommendations.

Image: Bank Holiday Weekend 2017 prototyping voting board