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A new type of "Third Place"?

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Abstract:

Purpose ‐ The purpose of this paper is to explore the notion of "Third Place" in an arts context by exploring the consumption of two arts venues, Tate Modern and the Southbank Centre (SBC) on the regenerated South Bank in London, UK. Design/methodology/approach ‐ An interpretative phenomenological approach was taken drawing on 45 qualitative interviews that were conducted in and around Tate Modern and the SBC during Autumn 2009. Findings ‐ Four audience groups were identified segmented by their motivations, experiences and feelings about the two buildings. The first group "Place to see" visit Tate Modern and the SBC to attend exhibitions and performances. The second meet friends and spend time in the cafes and bars using them as a "Place to hang-out and meet". The third group use the buildings as a "Place to drop-in" on their way to somewhere else. The fourth group use the SBC as a "Third Place", to study, for meetings, to read, escape and rejuvenate. Research limitations/implications ‐ This was an exploratory paper. Further research is required to test the findings in other art museums, arts venues, libraries, parks and other public and private spaces within communities. Originality/value ‐ The paper fills a gap by drawing on the "Third Place" literature to explore the consumption of art museums and venues. It provides us with a better understanding of the meanings these public buildings have to individuals, the way they are used by the public and how arts managers might attract new audiences from their communities. It also provides insights for planners and town centre managers as to the types of places individuals are seeking during their daily lives.

Keywords: Arts; Museums; United Kingdom

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/17538331011062658

Publication date: January 1, 2010

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