Since 2014, four studies have allowed us to complement the surveys about our public that Avignon Université has been conducting since 1990 in collaboration with the Festival d’Avignon. The first results indicated that the public sees the Festival at once as “a guardian of our dramatic heritage” and a discoverer of “new experimental paths.” Those studies also reveal that the public chooses to see “challenging works that can’t leave you cold, one way or the other.” Seen like “an international celebration of the performing arts” and an opportunity to see “shows from other countries and cultures,” the Festival d’Avignon is also described as an event “which reproduces with talent the complexity of today’s world.”
For more information about the studies on the public of the Festival d’Avignon: email@example.com
2015 questionnaire of the study © Festival d'Avignon
The Public of the Festival d'Avignon at the Cloître Saint-Louis, 2016 © Festival d'Avignon © Festival d'Avignon
Debate: “The performing arts, data, and the public », 15 July, 2016 © Festival d'Avignon © Festival d'Avignon
Presentation of the results of the study, 2014 © Festival d'Avignon © Festival d'Avignon
Collecting the questionnaires, 2014 © Festival d'Avignon © Festival d'Avignon
From May to September 2014, a study conducted by the agency L'Œil du public and Avignon Université collected almost 3,000 responses via paper and digital questionnaires. This massive work in terms of choosing the themes and questions as well as making the data about spectators available immediately gave us a general idea of who our public was. The main takeaways of the study were the age of the festivalgoers, their previous experience with the festival, how many shows they see during the festival, and how eager they are to look for exchanges and debates, which allowed us to understand the passionate dialogue between the Festival and its public.
This study was presented during the first Culture convention on 28 November, 2014, at the Avignon School of Art.
On 20 and 21 November, 2014, the Festival d’Avignon welcomed at the FabricA the public relations services of structures participating to the European Vescos project Villes en Scène / Cities on Stage. On the agenda: studies about audiences, methodology, and exchanges about what we’d learnt. Thanks to the knowledge of the Avignon Université staff about sociology of publics and as part of the Vescos seminars about professional practices, those two days allowed us to compare and contrast the various ways of tackling the question of the public in Sweden, Belgium, France, Spain, Italy, and Romania.
The Festival d’Avignon and Avignon Université decided to focus their new study on communication by tackling the way people use paper and digital tools and their impact during the 69th edition. By continuing their dialogue with festivalgoers thanks to 2,073 questionnaires, they were able to study the changes to the digital world, to understand how media complement each other, and how people use them in the long run. The questions of choice, of the relationship to the written word or to the image, of how to plan one’s stay at the Festival and the following experience, and of the desire to come back once the Festival is over were key points in the study. The experience of the Festival begins with the first elements of communication (in particular the press conference) but does not end, as could be expected, in late July.
2015 was also the year we launched the Galerie des festivals (Gafes) project, with the help of the Centre Norbert Elias and the Laboratoire Informatique de Avignon Université, and funded by the Agence Nationale de la Recherche. Thanks to a collaborative effort by sociologists and computer scientists, the goal was to create within the next three years an Observatory based on a number of festivals. Among them are the Festival d’Avignon, the Rencontres Trans Musicales in Rennes, the Marché du Film in Cannes, the Vieilles Charrues, and the Lumière festival.
Several steps were made public:
- on 8 July, 2015: presentation at the Université d’Avignon et des Pays de Vaucluse of the first graphs about the Festival d’Avignon thanks to the analysis of descriptive words, followed by a debate about “Retrospective and prospective analysis in the digital era,”
- on 5 December, during the Rencontres Trans Musicales in Rennes: round-table discussion entitled “What the festivals are doing to the digital” about how the experience of the festival can be extended beyond the space-time of the event itself, and about the digital content produced by the public before, during, and after the festival.
In July 2016, for the third study co-created with Avignon Université, over 1,800 questionnaires were analysed. The study about communication delved deeper into questions about the relationship to the digital and the image. Social networking, the use of messaging systems, the use of recommendations, of the website, of the Nave of images, etc., were so many fields where the study tackled the question of the memory of the performing arts thanks to recording, broadcasting, and non-linear communication.
On 15 July, as part of the House of Performing arts professionals, a debate entitled “The performing arts, data, and the public”, organised by the Festival d’avignon, the Théâtre Gérard Philipe-Saint-Denis, Avignon Université, the Université Paris XIII-Nord, and the TMNlab tackled the work done by different structures about the way data is used, especially when it comes to selling tickets. What does the data about spectators tell us? How to use it, but also protect it?
Our move towards a fully digital ticket office in 2017 was the focus of our new study. Based on over 1,700 questionnaires, the way people make choices and how they book tickets were particularly explored. In parallel, we also focused on artistic and cultural education in order to understand why people come to the Festival, what their relationship to their culture (within the family circle, at school, or among their peers) is, and how that translates into their feelings about the Festival.
These studies are made in partnership with the team Culture & Communication of the Norbert Elias Centre at Avignon Université and the Festival d'Avignon. Scientific direction : Emmanuel Ethis, Damien Malinas and Raphaël Roth - Survey and writing : Lauriane Guillou.
1,700 spectators filled out the questionnaire we sent them at the end of the 72nd edition.
This questionnaire was the last in a cycle of studies part of the research programme “Galerie de festivals”. This year, questions about artistic and amateur practices, environmental responsibility, and accessibility will allow us to cast a different look on the interests of the public during the Festival.
The results are currently being analysed and will be made public in 2019.