Visitor voices can raise the volume

Audiences’ experiences can be as powerful as economic data in arguing a case for culture, writes Jane Earl, chief of Rich Mix arts centre

Running an arts venue means you often spend a lot of time dealing with the minutiae of everyday life. When your focus is on getting grant applications and reports out on time, keeping the board up to speed, sorting out annual staff appraisals and making sure the toilets are working, it is sometimes easy to forget that our impact is wider than we can ever know.

For those of us who are lucky enough to be funded by Arts Council England, much of our reporting focuses on our economic impact, the way we develop our workforce and skills for the future, our contribution to the diversity agenda and the quality of our programme as measured by external assessors. All of these things are very important.

But sometimes we have a series of circumstances that enables us to find out what we really mean to the people who come through our doors – and to the people who see our buildings and programmes as a significant contribution to their community and their cultural lives.

Read this article in full on the Guardian Culture Professionals Network site