In the article Researching Audiences through Walking Fieldwork published in may 2015 in Participations Journal of Audience and receptions Studies, independent researcher Uwe Gröschel introduces an interesting approach to investigation of the audience experiences of an interactive performance installation People in Glass Cases Shouldn’t Throw Stones by Contact Young Actor’s Company at Manchester Museum. Due to the interactive design the audiences are led through the different galleries in the museum. Afterwards he let a group of audiences walk through the galleries one more time reflecting in pairs upon their personal experience with the experience of the interactive performance installation. The method is named Walking Fieldwork and was originally introduced by sociologist Andrew Irving. By letting the audience re-experience the different physical settings the hypothesis is that the embodied memories would be accessible. In the recent study the method was found to highlight the inter-personal and relational aspects of research participants’ experiences.
In our latest report, Report #2 Capturing the Audience Response – Walking, Talking and Drawing the Experienced Relevance of Performing Arts, we explored how a walk and talk in pairs out side the theatre institution was helpful in order to get audience responses. Gröschel’s research shows that a re-framing of the actual experience might be helpful in order to evoke the memory and the senses. Now our question in A Suitcase of Methods is: How can we transform this interesting approach of grasping audience response developed for an interactive performance installation into a more traditional set-up where the audiences are seated in an auditorium?