Ashley Smith-Hammond

Glasgow Film Theatre is doing a great job of making themselves more accessible to a wide range of audiences. We worked with them to evaluate the success and reach of their existing access and equalities measures and to scope further audience groups with potential for increased engagement.

Glasgow Film encompasses Glasgow Film Theatre and Glasgow Film Festivals. The organisation received funding from the Creative Scotland Promoting Equalities Programme, a three year programme which funded “seven organisations over three years, and challenged them to mainstream equalities, develop best practice delivery models and share their learning with the wider sector”.

As part of the programme, Glasgow Film Theatre (GFT) developed pilot projects to test and develop models of best practice, with new engagement routes and new creative programmes.

Culture Republic worked with GFT to evaluate three audience development projects which focused on increasing access for particular audience segments:

  • Access Film Club – Organised together with Scottish Autism, Access Film Club hosts monthly film screenings and post event discussions in a friendly and welcoming environment.
  • Visible Cinema – In partnership with Film Hub Scotland and Solar Bear, and funded by Creative Scotland, Visible Cinema is a film club where those who are deaf or hard of hearing can enjoy a range of films.
  • Refugee Festival Screening – As part of the Refugee Festival Scotland 2015, GFT hosted a community screening of Buena Vista Social Club at the Kinning Park Complex.

Culture Republic examined the attendee profile and customer satisfaction of the three projects and the findings showed that audiences responded positively across the board.

The research demonstrated the varied profiles of attendees, in terms of gender, age and access requirements. In fact there were some attendees at Visible Cinema that hadn’t even realised they were attending a Visible Cinema screening.  All attendees, including those with no hearing impairments, enjoyed their experiences at Visible Cinema and said they would attend a screening again; which goes to show increasing accessibility for one sector of the audience can benefit everyone.

The research also highlighted the importance of partnership. For example, the majority of attendees at Access Film Club had heard about the screenings via project partners Scottish Autism or from Dates-N-Mates, a dating and friendship agency run by and for adults with learning disabilities.

Evaluation of these projects was part of a wider piece of research which focused on improving access and equalities. In addition to the project evaluation Culture Republic also worked with GFT to:

Profile and map their general audience. Before reaching out to new groups GFT needed to know who their existing audience was. Culture Republic gathered box office data and assessed it to show exactly who was attending GFT and where they came from.

Assess the organisation’s access and equalities measures. In order to improve accessibility GFT wanted a better understanding of where they were and what they could do better.  Culture Republic surveyed their general audience to find out if they were aware of the access and equalities measures, if they used them and what they thought of them.

Identify other groups with potential for future interaction with the GFT. Culture Republic scoped prospective audience groups, looking at how GFT could encourage attendance from these groups and what  GFT could do to be more accessible. GFT are now developing two further strands for 2016: older audience screenings, which incorporates becoming the first dementia friendly cinema in Scotland, and screenings for socially excluded groups, with particular interest placed on migrant audiences and families.


Main image credit: Is this seat taken? by Blondinrikard Fröberg (CC BY 2.0)