How to engage

Dormitory Dependables make up a significant proportion of the UK population.

They are averagely or slightly more than averagely disposed to engaging with arts and cultural events and with museums and gallery activities and tend to appear in significant numbers in many or most audiences within reach of where they live. The arts provide them with opportunities for social occasions, but their social lives do not depend on the arts. They have a particular leaning towards the heritage offer. They attend arts and cultural events infrequently compared to the most highly engaged groups, but regularly, so there may be merit in trying to persuade them to take part or attend more often. As “warm” prospects and numerous in number, successful efforts to engage them more frequently could potentially have large impacts on audiences overall.

Popular and mainstream events are this group’s default preference, but they are not averse to contemporary, and possibly slightly more risky, experiences. The offer will be received more enthusiastically when it is geared towards an emphasis on the experience and all its trappings, rather than any overly deep focus on the artistic merits of the event.


Live music is a chief interest of Dormitory Dependables, with an emphasis on the popular or mainstream. They attend rock and pop events more than any other group, with classical or choral music less popular than average.

As their preference for the popular suggests, pantomime, musicals, live dance events and street arts are also relatively sought after. A large number also attend plays and drama, but are not likely to do so more than once or twice a year. There is a large proportion of families with children, so family friendly programme choices form an important part of the mix.

Their interest in heritage, history and current affairs may also be fruitful areas to explore. As many have a keen interest in visiting art exhibitions, displays and installations. These might all be features that can be developed individually or in combination to good effect through programme offers.

Respond to opportunities for socialising with friends and family

85% of the music attenders go to rock/pop events


Dormitory Dependables are keen to explore new learning opportunities and stretch their intellect. Their charitable giving reflects these interests in their support of schools and higher education and partnerships with learning communities might well be beneficially entered into by all parties. The same may also be true of charities supporting developing countries.

Two thirds also participate regularly in sport and exercise, so sports clubs, teams and related stakeholders might prove high profile enough to create popular partnership opportunities.

Place: Environment

As reasons for attending the arts tend to revolve around finding opportunities to relax, socialise and be entertained – often by way of a special treat – the surroundings need to be mindful of providing suitable facilities and ambiance to fulfil this need.

The enquiring nature and thirst for knowledge of Dormitory Dependables also requires information, so exhibitions and displays should provide rich background detail and an appropriate level of interpretative material.

Place: Access & Distance

Living in provincial towns, city suburbs or rural areas means that accessing arts and cultural opportunities often involves a degree of travel. Car ownership is high above average, meaning distance doesn’t necessarily deter Dormitory Dependables from attending. Good transport links will help, as will clear guidance on the best options for getting to the event. Timing of events may also be an important consideration to make sure they fit with travel plans.

Good health is a fairly broad feature amongst Dormitory Dependables, and with a high instance of families with children, venues, events and facilities might benefit significantly from ensuring a Family Friendly approach.


There is a mixture of levels of disposable income amongst Dormitory Dependables, particularly between those in senior managerial and professional positions, and those in lower management and supervisory roles.

Add to this the mix between those with children at home and those empty nesters and it becomes clear that a model of mixed pricing strategies are required.

Some discount based promotions around family or social groups might appeal as a means to addressing both the overall cost of attending relative to disposable income, and ‘risk’ factors where programming style veers away from the popular and mainstream.

Try discount based promotions around family or social groups


Dormitory Dependables are busy and active, so providing clear information on how the offer will meet a need is key. They are less reliant on word of mouth, and more confident in their own choices when given enough appropriate detail on what, how, why, when and where to attend.

They are most responsive to email communications, SMS messaging and phone as direct communications channels, and least likely to respond to postal mailings.


Dormitory Dependables are keen to participate in a wide range of activities, which can be tailored around opportunities to develop and showcase individual skills such as photography and playing musical instruments.

Providing access to activities which might be undertaken in groups, such as rehearsing or performing drama, ballet or other kinds of dance may prove little less popular but are still likely to be taken up in line with or slightly above average levels.

Keen to participate in a wide range of activites
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Giving & Volunteering

Appeals for low level, infrequent giving are most likely to meet with success amongst Dormitory Dependables. Heritage organisations, museums and galleries are most likely to appeal to their sense of charity and history, especially if the benefits to the wider public from such giving, e.g. preservation and development of engagement opportunities is clearly articulated.

Levels of volunteering generally are around average, however most of their volunteering happens outside the arts, museums or heritage sectors. The most likely way to engage them as volunteers is co-opt them in the running of activities and events.

Relationship building

As largely infrequent attenders, friends or membership schemes for which benefits are realised over multiple attendances will likely have limited appeal. Instead, strategies aimed at encouraging more frequent engagement e.g. Test Drive are likely to prove more effective. These could also be linked to their wider social motivations and incorporate catering offers or other incentives (which might be time limited).

Increasing reach and diversity

Being largely homogenous in terms of ethnic background, social status, age and disability there are limited opportunities for increasing reach and diversity. There are some small pockets of diversity within these characteristics, so taking a welcoming and inclusive approach, rather than proactively seeking to identify and target small minority elements within these characteristics might be the most effective course of action.