I have been a student in SALC for four years, during my undergrad in Classics, and now my masters in Arts Management. In that time I have been attending lectures, seminars and studying within the walls of the Samuel Alexander building. The building has always has always been such a presence, and I remember back to my first year, getting lost trying to find my away around the vast building.
When I started my placement with the Martin Harris Centre for Music and Drama, my supervisor took me from her office, across campus from the Martin Harris, into Samuel Alexander, where the marketing hub is based. It’s hard to describe the feeling; I was to become part of the structure of this building. I was taken back to the place where I was back in first year; it was as if I was discovering everything all over again however, this time from the other side. I was one of the lanyarded staff I would see working away, rushing around to meetings and dealing with student requests and ensuring smooth operations throughout the building and the community it supports. I was part of this bigger picture, and it was incredibly humbling to see the change from the young undergrad, too marketer based in the building which had taught him so much. I was giving back for all I had been given.
The project which I was to undertake was the customer satisfaction survey, which involved designing, distributing, collecting and analysing results of a survey of the centre’s current audience base. This project had not been done since 2011, so the audience data which the centre had was now out of date, so questions revolved around finding out audience demographics, habits, and feeling on the services which are on offer. Though this was quite a daunting task at first, the team within the centre gave me constant support and advice on how to best shape my practice, and it was because of this support and the hard work which I put in myself that I was able to deliver them with the best result which that had had from the project; with 350 responses, doubling that of the previous survey.
Data collection was tedious and there were many long days spent sat in the marketing hub with stacks of surveys, lots of snacks and coffee inputting this data into a spread sheet. This paid off once it came to analysing the results, I could really dig my teeth into the evidence and recommend from what I have learnt so far on how the centre can nurture and grown their audience.
I had to present my findings to the Centre Manger, the Head of Marketing and the Head of Programming, and they welcomed my suggestions as if they had come from within their own full time paid staff. As we were discussing everything after the presentation, it hit me how much of an asset the centre had seen me as because they allowed me to be privy and take part in operational changes of programming and marketing. This brought back the feeling I had had when I started this process, completing the journey which I had started four years ago.
The Martin Harris Centre offers a fantastic range of live music, drama and literature, and most of the performances are free (Thursday’s 1-2pm) or discounted for students.