Immersive experiences enhance engagement with culture, research finds

Ahead of the release of a full research report into the impact of The Keeper of Paintings and the Palette of Perception, the immersive family adventure launched by ARCADE at London's National Gallery, a preview of its astonishing headlines has been released by StoryFutures.

Researchers studied the experience of families who had played the game and compared the findings to others who had not. Highlights of the insights revealed include:

"Overall, how much did your child enjoy the visit to The National Gallery today?"

  • 65% of those who played the Keeper of Paintings gave 5 out of 5 stars, a 310% increase compared with 21% of those who had not

"How engaged was your child during the visit to The National Gallery today?"

  • 29% of players were 'pro-actively engaged, guiding the visit, initiating conversations and asking questions', compared with just 9% of non-players
  • 82% of players were pro-actively or actively engaged, compared with 67% of non-players

In addition, children who played the game enjoyed learning about art more, felt that they belonged more at the National Gallery, and were estimated to be more knowledgeable about art after their visit compared with non-players.

The Keeper of Paintings was launched in April 2022, designed to explore the role that immersive technologies might play in engaging family visitors to the National Gallery. The results were gathered during its first 12 months in the gallery and have surpassed even our most optimistic expectations, joining the fast-growing body of empirical evidence that digital immersive innovation can be a force for good in the arts and culture sector.

ARCADE and our partners are keen to share not just the insights but the design principles and processes which led to them, with a goal of establishing a clear understanding across the sector that immersive experiences can have profound impact on breaking down barriers to engagement and enhancing audience experience when designed creatively and with purpose. If you would like to find out more, please get in touch.

The Keeper of Paintings was commissioned by The National Gallery and StoryFutures as part of StoryFutures China, funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC). SF China was led by Brunel University London.

The full research report will be launched in early 2024.

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