Understanding and Developing Cinema Audiences

Understanding and Developing Cinema Audiences - Oxford

How can you persuade audiences to try unfamiliar films?

How can you encourage more of them to embrace the subtitles?

How can you get more people to buy their tickets in advance?

If your to-do list is as long as your arm, finding answers to questions like these seems a luxury. But if you understand your audiences better, you can focus on the tasks that work and forget about the ones that don’t.

This practical, two-day workshop will outline strategies for understanding, growing and deepening engagement with audiences for cultural cinema, all while working on a budget and keeping a manageable to-do list.

What will the course cover?

  • Bring the questions you and your colleagues have about your audiences and Sean Perkins, the BFI’s research and stats guru, will help you find the answers
  • Explore with audience development expert, Heather Maitland, what the answers mean for the way you communicate with your audiences
  • Understand the principles of audience development and decide where you should focus your efforts
  • Discover the 10 x 10-minute tasks that will dramatically improve your website and Facebook page
  • Start writing more persuasive copy more easily


Tue 26 Feb 2013 to Wed 27 Feb 2013
Worcester College, Walton Street, Oxford OX1 2HB
Day 1: registration opens at 10.30am, training - 11.00am - 5.45pm, followed by networking dinner until 8.00pm. Day 2 - 10.30am - 5.30pm
£180 + VAT = £216

Supported by

Creative Skillset
  • Find out what other cinemas are doing to develop loyalty and deepen engagement and tailor their top tips to suit your audiences
  • Leave the course with a practical and realistic action plan for building audiences and deepening engagement tailored to your own organisation’s needs.

Who is the course for?

Staff of independent cinemas, film festivals, non-traditional exhibitors and support agencies who are interested in building audiences and participation. Applicants should ideally have a minimum of three years’ experience in the film industry. If you have any queries about this, please get in touch.

Who are the speakers?

The course will be led by Heather Maitland, arts consultant, and Sean Perkins, the BFI’s Head of Research and Statistics. Guest speakers will include Claire Stewart, Deputy Communications Manager, Watershed.

Heather Maitland is an arts consultant, author and Associate Fellow at the Centre for Cultural Policy Studies at the University of Warwick. Heather has worked with over 100 cinemas, museums, galleries and performing arts organisations on audience, business and art form development as head of two of the UK’s audience development agencies. Her current projects include benchmarking audiences for arthouse cinema in the Republic of Ireland for the second year running and an EU funded project involving 31 contemporary classical music ensembles in 16 countries. Heather has a particular interest in developing practical ways small organisations can increase audience numbers within their limited resources. She has nine books on arts marketing and audience development to her credit and writes regular columns for the Journal of Arts Marketing. She has delivered seminars and training programmes throughout the UK, and worldwide, most recently for Irish Times Training and the British Council in Colombia and Syria. www.heathermaitland.co.uk

Sean Perkins is Head of the BFI’s Research and Statistics Unit, responsible for producing the Statistical Yearbook, official statistics releases and other research projects designed to contribute to evidence-based policy and provide market intelligence for the UK film industry. Sean transferred to the BFI from the UK Film Council, where he contributed to research projects on the development of audiences for specialised film, the economic and cultural impact of the British film industry and the local impact of independent cinemas. Prior to joining the UK Film Council, Sean was Research Associate at the Sir Norman Chester Centre for Football Research, University of Leicester, working on national fan surveys for the FA Premier League and Football League and a series of research projects for the national Football Task Force. Sean holds a PhD in Geography from Swansea University.

Fees and bursaries

£180 + VAT = £216. Fees include refreshments, lunches and networking dinner on Tuesday evening.

Bursaries are available towards fees, travel, accommodation and childcare subsidies for people from not-for-profit film exhibition organisations with an annual turnover of £200K or less who would not otherwise be able to attend. The first round of bursary applications will be assessed after Monday 4 February 2013 and then on a rolling basis if any funds remain.

Please see the bursary guidelines page or download the Bursary Form for full criteria and details on how to apply.

Booking your place

Please download a Registration Form and email it to sarah.bourne@independentcinemaoffice.org.uk or post it to us together with payment (or payment details) by Monday 11th February. Places will be allocated on a first-come, first-served basis, so early booking is recommended. We assess applicants for suitability so please wait for us to confirm your place before making payment.

Travel and accommodation

Training will take place in the Ruskin Lane room at Worcester College. The Main Gate to Worcester College is located on Walton Street and is approximately 8 minutes walk from Oxford Rail Station which has direct trains to and from London (Paddington), Reading, Birmingham and Manchester. The Gloucester Green Bus Station is located less than 5 minutes walk away and is the main bus and coach terminus in Oxford, used by major companies providing nationwide services including National Express, Megabus and Stagecoach. A limited number of car parking spaces are available at Worcester College but must be arranged in advance through the ICO, please note that priority will be given to anyone with access requirements. Alternatively, if you are arriving to Oxford by car, you can use the Oxford Park & Ride scheme; the Redbridge and Pear Tree car parks have bus connections to Gloucester Green Bus Station.

If you need somewhere to stay in Oxford, please see our list of nearby hotels.

Click here for a map of the local area.


All areas of Worcester College are accessible for wheelchair users, with the route from the main gate to the Ruskin Lane building accessible via a ramp and lift. A limited number of complementary parking spaces are available at the College upon request (in advance through the ICO).

We have an access fund for this course and we will endeavour to make a contribution to the costs of any additional requirements you may have (e.g. alternate print formats, BSL signers...). Please get in touch with us to discuss your needs so we can make arrangements.

Further information

If you have any questions or want to discuss whether the course is suitable for your needs, please email sarah.bourne@independentcinemaoffice.org.uk or call 020 7636 7120.

This course has been funded by the Creative Skillset Film Skills Fund as part of ‘A Bigger Future 2’, the UK film skills strategy. The Creative Skillset Film Skills Fund is supported by the National Lottery through the BFI and the film industry through the Skills Investment Fund.

"The opportunity to meet and learn from some of the main players working in cinema has proved invaluable, and greatly aided my career trajectory!"

Rob Baker, Cinema Marketing Manager, Barbican

Independent Cinema Office

3rd Floor, Kenilworth House, 79-80 Margaret Street, London W1W 8TA
T: 020 7636 7120 F: 020 7636 7121 E: info@independentcinemaoffice.org.uk

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