Measuring the unmeasurable at Tate Britain

How effective is Tate Britain’s interpretation? Do visitors read the wall text panels and labels? And does it extend their engagement, deepen understanding or illuminate meaning? What other things would help them to engage further?

Morris Hargreaves McIntyre and Tate undertook a study of visitor behaviour in two different galleries at Tate Britain for comparison.

The study combined visitor observation, recording of behaviour against our widely used model of Browsers, Followers, Choosers and Searchers and impromptu interviews to determine why visitors made certain choices and not others.

The in-gallery results were supported by accompanied visits and focus groups that explored vistors' behaviour in the context of their motivations for visiting, their knowledge and levels of confidence.

The findings have challenged institutional beliefs and are informing decisions on future interpretation.

Gerri is one of the country’s leading arts management consultants having been working at a...