Sometimes it’s useful to recruit an external evaluator to independently assess whether a project has achieved what it set out to do. Or you might need to consult with existing and potential audiences before or during a project. I specialise in audience research and evaluation for museums, libraries and archives and use a range of creative and participatory methods in my work. I also run museum evaluation training workshops.

Fountains abbey & studley royal (National trust)

Independent evaluation of folly!, a contemporary art programme at this National Trust and UNESCO World Heritage site. The project included:

  • Developing an evaluation framework with the staff team
  • Aligning the methodology with National Trust evaluation guidelines
  • Primary research with visitors, volunteers, artists and staff
  • Analysis and interpretation
  • Final report and presentation.

Silverstone heritage experience

Consultation with potential audiences to inform HLF Activity and Interpretation Plans. This included:

  • Identifying existing and potential audiences
  • Designing primary research methodologies
  • Recruitment of consultation groups
  • Designing an online survey for Silverstone fans
  • Primary qualitative research with non-user families
  • Analysis and interpretation
  • Final report and presentation.

St helens libraries

Consultation with existing and potential audiences to identify barriers and drivers for the Cultural Hubs programme. This included:

  • Developing discussion guides
  • Conducting qualitative consultation with existing users
  • Depth interviews with non-users at libraries across the borough
  • Training staff in audience development
  • Analysis and interpretation
  • Final report and presentation.

Other previous research & evaluation clients include:
London Transport Museum, Scottish Book Trust, Aik Saath, More Music, Cheshire Archives, LeftCoast, Children & the Arts, Cheshire Dance, Royal Exchange Theatre, Arts Council England, Bronte Parsonage Museum, Signal Film & Media, Manchester Art Gallery, Macclesfield Museums, Canal & Rivers Trust, Manchester Museum, Tottenham Hotspur FC, Music in the Round, Signal Film & Media, Rosehill Theatre.

‘Marge Ainsley seriously knows her stuff. Frankly, if you’re serious about evaluation or measuring any project that you do, you should consider her as your first port of call.’

Ian Anstice, Time to Read Co-ordinator