The Culture Data & Research Network (CDRN) is a network of researchers and data practitioners working within public-facing arts and cultural institutions and heritage organisations across the UK.
CDRN operates independently of any research or data agency, database provider or funding body and is operated by a voluntary steering group who share a passion for data.
The network supports those who work with all kinds of data, which in turn supports the arts sector. CDRN aims to strengthen data and research practice and skills within the sector by providing members with a forum to exchange experiences, share best practice, debate current issues and form new collaborative partnerships.
Marie-Lisa is the Research, Data and Insights’ Manager for the Royal Shakespeare Company. She has a background in Anthropology, and an MSc in Policy Analysis and Evaluation, and this, combined with her research career foundation at the Office of National Statistics, has given her an understanding of the relevance and place of both qualitative and quantitative data. Marie-Lisa has worked in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and at Oxfam GB, advocating for, and shifting mind-sets to, a focus on making communication campaigns audience-led. With a passion for high quality, realistic research, she now champions audience-led marketing within the arts, focusing on using research to support campaigns that are founded in a knowledge of the audience; so as to prove impact, and take that impact forward.
Rishi Coupland is a creative industries strategist and leader with over fifteen years’ experience in delivering research and strategic programmes, spanning both Third Sector and Commercial enterprise. He is currently Head of Research and Insight at the BFI, where he leads the Research and Statistics Unit. Prior to this, he held the roles of Head of Data Intelligence at the National Theatre, where he launched and lead the sector flagship Data Studio, Head of Audience Strategy (National Theatre), Marketing Services Manager (Southbank Centre), and Creative Producer (Buzz-erk Productions). Rishi began his career as a technologist and engineer with multinational companies including British Airways and Kimberly-Clark, in locations across the UK and Europe. In 2017 Rishi was awarded a Clore Fellowship, and is currently a board member of the London Arts and Health Forum.
Kate is an experienced Arts Insights professional, who worked as Head of Visitor Insights at The Lowry before going independent in late 2020. With over 18 years’ experience, Kate has a proven track record of devising and delivering data-driven projects, from evaluation frameworks to visitor research, using intelligence to make recommendations and encourage business and audience growth. Kate is also passionate about data protection and often works to support clients with their UK-GDPR compliance. Kate is based in Manchester and works across the UK with a range of arts, cultural and heritage organisations and those working in the sector.
Dr Susan Oman
Susan is a Lecturer in Data, AI and Society at The University of Sheffield and co-Investigator on the Living With Data project, also based at The University of Sheffield. She also holds the position Research, Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Lead.
Prior to her lectureship, Susan held two consecutive AHRC fellowships looking at data and diversity in the creative economy, working with Arts Council England to improve equality monitoring data processes and begin measuring social class. An overview of Susan’s research on data can be found on the on the Living With Data website.
Susan completed her interdisciplinary PhD, based in Sociology and the Centre for Research on Socio-Cultural Change (CRESC) at the University of Manchester in 2017. This investigated the cultural politics of participation and well-being; it was specifically concerned with the contexts of metrics and knowledge production for policy. Her MA was in Cultural Policy and Management and her BA was in Art History at the Courtauld Institute of Art.
Susan’s monograph, Understanding Wellbeing Data: Improving Social and cultural policy, practice and research will be published open access by Palgrave Macmillan in Autumn 2021.
Meriel works as an Audience Analyst at the V&A Museum, and previously worked as an Audience Researcher at the National Gallery and an Audience Analyst for Imperial War Museums. She also runs a freelance insight consultancy called Culture Bulb on the side of her day job, helping cultural and creative organisations to bring their audiences to life through data, insight and audience-centred thinking. She is passionate about helping arts organisations putting their users – whether visitors, physical visitors, digital users or retail customers – at the heart of their strategy and decision making. Meriel specialises in audience development strategies, creative evaluation techniques, mixed-methods research, evaluation frameworks and design thinking.
Established in 2018, the Culture Data and Research Network (CDRN)* emerged as a passion project from a partnership between Dr. Susan Oman (University of Sheffield) and colleagues from The Lowry (Kate Fitzgerald), Manchester Museums and Galleries Partnership (Helen Mark), the National Gallery (Meriel Royal), the National Theatre (Rishi Coupland), and the Royal Shakespeare Company (Becky Loftus).
CDRN is a network of researchers and data practitioners working within public-facing arts and cultural institutions and heritage organisations in the UK. The network supports those who work with all kinds of data, which in turn supports the arts sector. CDRN aims to strengthen data and research practice and skills within the sector by providing members with a forum to exchange experiences, share best practice, debate current issues and form new collaborative partnerships.
To date, the network has held two in-person conferences, featuring presentations from a wide variety of members and group discussions. Workshops provided by the network have offered members the opportunities to present their own research and data insights, whilst also receiving training on UK-GDPR, and how to collect equality monitoring data for funders.
With over 100 members from the arts, cultural and heritage sector, it is a great space to meet and connect with others working with data, as well as share knowledge and experience.
CDRN operates independently of any research or data agency, database provider or funding body. From its inception, it has been operated by a voluntary steering group who are motivated by their passion for data. We are learning as we go and as the network continues to develop. The steering group has changed over time – you can find out more about its current members above.
*formerly the Culture Insight Professionals (CIP) network