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Opt-In Surveys

The IDEA Study

A Study of Audience Attitudes About Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Access

Updated January 27, 2023



WolfBrown launched Audience Outlook Monitor in 2020 as an on-demand research service. Through this program, arts organizations are able to select from a menu of surveys to deploy to their ticket buyers at a low cost, with results available through the WolfBrown dashboard. Over 650 cultural organizations participated in the Covid-19 Study, which ran from May 2020 to December 2022.


In 2023-24, Audience Outlook Monitor will host a special research initiative called The IDEA Study – a quantitative survey of audience attitudes about inclusion, diversity, equity, and access.

Why the IDEA Study?

Many arts organizations have taken significant steps to address lack of diversity in staffing and board membership, and have adopted more equitable HR policies and practices. Some organizations have moved towards more pluralistic models of artistic leadership and have diversified programming with the aim of serving a broader public.


Many questions remain, however, as to the extent to which audience members understand themselves as stakeholders in this work, their expectations of arts organizations in this regard, and their preferences and tastes for a more diverse palette of artistic work. Through this field-wide collaborative study, we hope to learn how arts organizations can activate audiences in their work to be more inclusive, more diverse, and more equitable.

Two Phases of Investigation


The first phase of the study in 2023 will explore audience attitudes about inclusion, diversity, and equity. Questions will cover both general attitudes and evaluative questions pertaining to participating arts organizations. The second phase of the study in 2024 will delve deeply into the accessibility needs of arts audiences.


Emerging Research Questions for Phase 1 (2023)

  • Do audience members see themselves as stakeholders in arts organizations’ EDI work?   

  • How might arts organizations more deeply enfranchise audience members in this work?

  • How do audience members feel about efforts by arts organizations to diversify their artistic offerings and production practices?

  • What is the appetite for programs that center the artistry and stories of historically marginalized populations?

  • How far do audience members think individual arts organizations should go in acknowledging, deconstructing, and redressing structures of cultural production that privilege some and exclude others?


The study also represents an opportunity for participating arts organizations to develop evaluative indicators of audience support for their work in the areas of diversity, equity, inclusion - indicators that organizations can use to monitor the degree to which their EDI work is legible to, and supported by, their audience. In this way, we hope the study will lead to a more sustained practice of audience engagement around EDI work.

Study Roll-out in 2023 


The IDEA Study will roll out as follows:

Orchestra cohort (in partnership with the League of American Orchestras)

January 29, 2023 Registration opens

February 13, 4:00 - 5:00 ET Informational webinar

March 17, 2023 Registration closes

April 11, 2023 Survey deploys 

April - May Cohort learning activities

Open Cohort

July 10, 2023 Registration opens

August 11, 2023 ​Registration closes

September 12, 2023 Survey deploys  

​Other cohorts to be announced.

To maximize cohort learning, participants in all cohorts must agree to share their results with other participating organizations through the WolfBrown dashboard. After the cohort study concludes, aggregated results will be shared with the larger field through the Audience Outlook Monitor Community.

For more information about the IDEA study, contact Alan Kline, Director of Audience Research Programs at WolfBrown at

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