Research shows Turner Contemporary put Margate back on the map

03 November 2016

A study undertaken by the COaST research centre at Canterbury Christ Church University has revealed that the Turner Contemporary art gallery has helped to re-establish Margate as a destination, contributing to the town’s regeneration.

The Social Return on Investment report was commissioned by the Turner Contemporary to deepen the understanding of the gallery’s impact on its stakeholders since opening in 2011.

The findings, which were recently launched at the House of Commons, announced that since 2011, over 960,000 people have visited the Turner Contemporary who would not have otherwise visited Margate. Out of these visitors, 80,000 had never previously been to an art gallery. In 2015-16 alone, 72,000 visitors were from the Thanet region and 24,000 from Margate itself.

Dr Andrew Jackson, Director of COaST at Canterbury Christ Church University, led the research project. He said: “Our research has been significant in that it has shown there are real and measurable social benefits for people who have engaged with the gallery, and we have been able to put a financial valuation on these for the first time.”

Further findings have shown that out of the increased footfall from visitors to the gallery, 22% are attracted from London and 5% have travelled from overseas. The footfall to Margate then drops significantly when the main gallery is closed in between exhibitions.

COaST conducted the research using a range of methods including interviews, focus groups, workshops, observation and surveys, establishing what had changed since the gallery opened its doors, who it had affected and how much by.  

Victoria Pomery OBE, Director of Turner Contemporary, said: “At a time when our communities are becoming fractured and divided, this research brings great hope that art really does inspire positive change, and can help us to build a stronger, more creative and connected society in future.”

The COaST Research and Knowledge Exchange Group sits within Christ Church Business School at Canterbury Christ Church University. Academics in COaST include; Dr Andrew Jackson, Tim Dee, Richard Pole and Dr Marianne Highwood.

The Social Return on Investment report can be read and downloaded from the Turner Contemporary website.

Notes to Editor

Canterbury Christ Church University

Canterbury Christ Church University is a modern university with a particular strength in higher education for the public services.

With 17,000 students across Kent and Medway, its courses span a wide range of academic and professional subject areas.

  • 95% of our UK undergraduates were in employment or further studies six months after completing their studies*.
  • We are one of the South East’s largest providers of education, training and skills leading to public service careers.

*2013/14 Destination of Leavers from Higher Education survey


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Last edited: 14/12/2018 23:10:00