As part of 2013’s development-phase works we have been trying to get a grip on who the audiences should be for the Ouse Washes Landscape Partnership scheme. Here I aim to give you a better understanding of where we are with this.
Understanding our audience
The Heritage Lottery Fund’s definition of an audience is ‘a group of people with identifiable characteristics who may be involved with your heritage now or who could be involved in future’.
Understanding your audience profile is important for any organisation or business, perhaps even more so for time-limited projects such as the Ouse Washes Landscape Partnership scheme: getting the right people engaged means that the scheme can deliver more benefits, there where they are needed most.
As such, work on defining our audience has been an essential part of the commissioned Audience & Access Development work and was also a central theme at our September conference. Talking to a wide range of stakeholders has further refined our understanding.
The population in the OWLP area
The OWLP area. Map created by Sheils Flynn for OWLP. Contains Ordnance Survey data © Crown copyright and database right 2013 – not to be reproduced
The resident population within the OWLP area is approximately 33,000; 95% of the population is white British. In addition, the surrounding market towns and cities of Downham Market, Littleport, Ely, Chatteris, March, St Ives, Huntingdon and Cambridge have a collective resident population of c237,000.
Who are we targeting?
The Ouse Washes Landscape Partnership scheme is directed at all people living in, working in and visiting the Ouse Washes LP area and its surrounding communities. Realistically, though, we will have to focus our work – hence:
Our Audience Profile
What has come out of all our research? Well, for one, we have been able to identify eight key audience types:
Most people living in or around the OWLP area belong to at least one of these categories. If you want to know more about each audience type, their specific needs and how the OWLP will target each group, see this document: Ouse Washes Landscape Partnership scheme_Target Audience
Below are a few quotes taken from this document which we have received from people who can either be classed as belonging to or who are referring to each of these audience types, showing the wide range of knowledge, values and engagement within each group, with information about the different issues that people have highlighted.
The quotes and other information collated has provided us with a good range of baseline data against we can measure change over time in people’s perception, knowledge, use of the landscape and heritage participation [On an aside, see also this post about the perception of and values attached to the OWLP landscape].
1. People who are uninspired by the landscape:
“I don’t find it particularly attractive, certainly the lack of trees”
“It’s flat. It seems to lack interest. There’s not much to do there”
“You have to discover beauty – it took me a few years to realise it is really pretty”
“I think it’s magical when it floods down the Gault”
Flooding at Sutton Gault, January 2014. Source: @SuttonIsle
2. Young People & Families:
“The old people will know about it [The Washes] but the incomers and youngsters couldn’t care less, they haven’t been educated about it”
“My children kayak on the Ouse, really enjoyable”
“The birds are lovely to see and my children love spotting the bugs and lizards. It’s great to walk for a few minutes from my house and I’m in the countryside”
Family enjoying their day out at RSPB Fen Drayton Lakes. Image by Pete Johnstone, for Cambridgeshire ACRE
3. Incomers & New Communities:
“I don’t think many people know about [the Ouse Washes]. I didn’t know a thing about it until moving here a year ago”
“It [the Ouse Washes area] is a piece of green space in a country which is rapidly growing and developing”
4. Heritage Supporters:
“I love it all. The flatness with the beautiful sky-scapes. The history. The waterways”
“I enjoy finding out about the history of places”
“I come up here [Fen Drayton Lakes] 365 days a year”
Enjoying the countryside. Image by Pete Johnstone, for Cambridgeshire ACRE
5. Farmers and landowners:
“On the whole the less visitors the better – less damage to the wildlife”
“[…]The landscape looks very much like private land used for agricultural or other purposes and so it is not clear where we can get out of a vehicle or other and roam without fear of being challenged”
Cattle along the Ouse, near Denver. Image by Pete Johnstone, for Cambridgeshire ACRE
6. Deprived Communities:
“We could have a nice circular walk that takes you down to the river and this would help relieve the stresses of modern life”
“It is very isolated unless you have a car”
7. Migrant Communities:
“I like the Englishness of the countryside [..]”
“Vermuyden did it [created the Washes] and used French prisoners of war”
“Denver Sluice is a lovely place to take visitors as part of a tour of the local area, e.g.,
including Denver Mill, Denver Church and the pub”
“The washes needs to be made much more distinctive so you know when you are in the Ouse Washes […] It should be a local ‘brand’ that all local people are proud of and identify with”
“I think it is unique but it would be far better if people knew about it and opening up would attract more people”
Denver Windmill. Image: Cambridgeshire ACRE
What do you think about this?
Are we on the right track, or would there still be room for improvement? let us know what you think – Thanks.