Studies about the public

Since 2014, studies have allowed us to complement the surveys about our public that Avignon Université has been conducting since 1990 in collaboration with the Festival d’Avignon.

STUDIES ABOUT THE PUBLIC © DR

The first results indicated that the public sees the Festival at once as “a guardian of our dramatic heritage” and a discoverer of “new experimental paths.” Those studies also reveal that the public chooses to see “challenging works that can’t leave you cold, one way or the other.” Seen like “an international celebration of the performing arts” and an opportunity to see “shows from other countries and cultures,” the Festival d’Avignon is also described as an event “which reproduces with talent the complexity of today’s world.”

For more information about the studies on the public of the Festival d’Avignon:
etude.public@festival-avignon.com

2021

Study of the audience of the 75th edition

The survey proposed for this 75th edition gives the opportunity to the different teams to continue the dialogue with all the spectators and to draw up a first assessment of these past months. It's part of a research program launched in 1995 by Emmanuel Ethis, Damien Malinas (CNAM - INSEAC) and Jean-Louis Fabiani (CEU). The results will enrich the thesis started by Laure-Hélène Swinnen (Avignon University - Culture and Communication Laboratory) in September 2019, under the direction of Emmanuel Ethis, Damien Malinas and Raphaël Roth, which focuses on Artistic and Cultural Education at the Festival d’Avignon.

Access to the questionnaire

2020

Un Rêve d'Avignon et Une Semaine d'art en Avignon

Suite à l’annulation du la 74e édition, et à la transformation des propositions du Festival – organisation d’un Rêve d’Avignon en juillet (évènement numérique en partenariat avec l’audiovisuel public et des projections de spectacles dans la Cour d’honneur avec Avignon Tourisme) et d’une Semaine d’art en Avignon en octobre (7 spectacles, 11 débats et rencontres), l’étude 2020 a été alors pensée en deux parties. Interrogeant le public à l’issue de chaque des événements, les synthèses publiées ici ont pour objectifs de comprendre les ressorts de la participation et de la perception des « festivaliers » dans une période de changements et d’inventions. Quelle fidélité et quelle confiance témoignent-ils au Festival ? Les pratiques se réinventent-elles elles aussi ?

Pour un juste compréhension, l’ensemble du Rêve d’Avignon et de la Semaine d’art figurent sur notre site internet mais il faut s’avoir que la planification de la Semaine d’art a été mise à mal : modification des horaires des séances du soir (couvre-feu à 21h dès le 22 octobre), annulation d’un spectacle suite à des personnes malades au sein de l’équipe artistique, arrêt de l’événement en baissant le rideau deux jours avant la fin initialement prévue (confinement dès le 29 octobre). Malgré les contraintes sanitaires et les entraves imposées à l’organisation, les spectateurs ont répondu favorablement à l’événement. 4475 entrées ont été comptabilisées.

2019

Après les études de 2017 et de 2018 qui ont déjà abordé cette question, celle de 2019 s'inscrit dans la continuité en interrogeant plus précisément la dimension de l'Éducation Artistique et Culturelle (EAC).

Les festivals sont des espaces de construction de soi et de son autonomie culturelle, des espaces de transmission et d'échanges et sont des lieux privilégiés pour observer les dynamiques de l'EAC. Cette synthèse est le résultat d'une sélection de données issues de l'étude menée sur le terrain lors la 73e édition du Festival d'Avignon. Elle est une étape inaugurale de l'observation de l'EAC dans les parcours et la formation des festivaliers et elle a pour vocation de rendre accessibles les connaissances sur le public du Festival depuis une articulation de plusieurs thématiques.

2015-2016-2017-2018

The Festival d’Avignon and Avignon Université decided to focus their new study on communication by tackling the way people use paper and digital tools and their impact during the 69th edition. By continuing their dialogue with festivalgoers thanks to 2,073 questionnaires, they were able to study the changes to the digital world, to understand how media complement each other, and how people use them in the long run. The questions of choice, of the relationship to the written word or to the image, of how to plan one’s stay at the Festival and the following experience, and of the desire to come back once the Festival is over were key points in the study. The experience of the Festival begins with the first elements of communication (in particular the press conference) but does not end, as could be expected, in late July.  

2015 was also the year we launched the Galerie des festivals (Gafes) project, with the help of the Centre Norbert Elias and the Laboratoire Informatique de Avignon Université, and funded by the Agence Nationale de la Recherche. Thanks to a collaborative effort by sociologists and computer scientists, the goal was to create within the next three years an Observatory based on a number of festivals. Among them are the Festival d’Avignon, the Rencontres Trans Musicales in Rennes, the Marché du Film in Cannes, the Vieilles Charrues, and the Lumière festival.

Several steps were made public:

- on 8 July, 2015: presentation at Avignon Université of the first graphs about the Festival d’Avignon thanks to the analysis of descriptive words, followed by a debate about “Retrospective and prospective analysis in the digital era,”
- on 5 December, during the Rencontres Trans Musicales in Rennes: round-table discussion entitled “What the festivals are doing to the digital” about how the experience of the festival can be extended beyond the space-time of the event itself, and about the digital content produced by the public before, during, and after the festival.

In July 2016, for the third study co-created with Avignon Université, over 1,800 questionnaires were analysed. The study about communication delved deeper into questions about the relationship to the digital and the image. Social networking, the use of messaging systems, the use of recommendations, of the website, of the Nave of images, etc., was so many fields where the study tackled the question of the memory of the performing arts thanks to recording, broadcasting, and non-linear communication.

On 15 July, as part of the House of Performing arts professionals, a debate entitled “The performing arts, data, and the public”, organised by the Festival d’avignon, the Théâtre Gérard Philipe-Saint-Denis, Avignon Université, the Université Paris XIII-Nord, and the TMNlab tackled the work done by different structures about the way data is used, especially when it comes to selling tickets. What does the data about spectators tell us? How to use it, but also protect it?

Our move towards a fully digital ticket office in 2017 was the focus of our new study. Based on over 1,700 questionnaires, the way people make choices and how they book tickets were particularly explored. In parallel, we also focused on artistic and cultural education in order to understand why people come to the Festival, what their relationship to their culture (within the family circle, at school, or among their peers) is, and how that translates into their feelings about the Festival.

In 2018, 1,700 spectators filled out the questionnaire we sent them at the end of the 72nd edition. This questionnaire was the last in a cycle of studies part of the research programme “Galerie de festivals”. This year, questions about artistic and amateur practices, environmental responsibility, and accessibility will allow us to cast a different look on the interests of the public during the Festival.

These studies are made in partnership with the team Culture & Communication of the Norbert Elias Centre at Avignon Université and the Festival d'Avignon. Scientific direction : Emmanuel Ethis,  Damien Malinas and Raphaël Roth - Survey and writing : Lauriane Guillou.

2014

From May to September 2014, a study conducted by the agency L'Œil du public and Avignon Université collected almost 3,000 responses via paper and digital questionnaires. This massive work in terms of choosing the themes and questions as well as making the data about spectators available immediately gave us a general idea of who our public was. The main takeaways of the study were the age of the festivalgoers, their previous experience with the Festival, how many shows they see during the Festival, and how eager they are to look for exchanges and debates, which allowed us to understand the passionate dialogue between the Festival and its public.

This study was presented during the first Culture convention on 28 November, 2014, at the Avignon School of Art.

On 20 and 21 November, 2014, the Festival d’Avignon welcomed at the FabricA the public relations services of structures participating to the European Vescos project Villes en Scène / Cities on Stage. On the agenda: studies about audiences, methodology, and exchanges about what we had learnt. Thanks to the knowledge of the Avignon Université staff about sociology of publics and as part of the Vescos seminars about professional practices, those two days allowed us to compare and contrast the various ways of tackling the question of the public in Sweden, Belgium, France, Spain, Italy, and Romania.