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SPARC Consultancy:
Case Studies & Research

SPARC has helped organisations to improve their methods of engaging with younger audiences, infrequent attenders and cross-arts audiences.

Our New Project: CBSO Accelerator Programme

January 2023 - August 2025

The City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra (CBSO), supported by Esmée Fairbairn Foundation and the Foyle Foundation will run a three-year paid career development programme. The Accelerator Programme will support five early-career string musicians from under-represented backgrounds through performance, training and development opportunities to help kick-start a career in orchestral performance.  

Our aims include to determine a baseline experience of all players involved in relation to accessibility, inclusion, anti-racism and career opportunities. We will look into the hopes, expectations and concerns about the Accelerator Career Programme, and determine distinctive features, and hallmarks of success. Moreover, we will look into players’ experiences and determine what can be learned from the first iteration of the programme to inform subsequent rounds and long-term change in practice.

The City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra (CBSO) delivering a live performance.

Our partnering organisation: City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra

City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra logo.

The City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra (CBSO) is the flagship of musical life in Birmingham and the West Midlands, and one of the world’s great orchestras. Resident at Symphony Hall in Birmingham, the orchestra performs over 150 concerts each year in Birmingham, the UK and around the world, playing music that ranges from classics to contemporary, film music to symphonic disco, and everything in between. With a far-reaching community programme and a family of choruses and ensembles, it is involved in every aspect of music-making in the Midlands. But at its centre is a team of 90 superb professional musicians, and a 100-year tradition of making great music in the heart of Birmingham.

Recent press release of the CBSO: 

For more information about the Orchestra, visit their website, where you can find the recent press release of the CBSO Accelerator Programme.

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Birmingham City Council logo.
Arts Council England logo.

Peterborough Sings!

SPARC Consultancy was commissioned by Peterborough Sings! to investigate the current state of male and female voice choirs in England, and to identify strategies to support their musical ambition and sustainability. 

The research addressed the following questions:

You can access the full report and details of the findings through the Peterborough Sings! website. We are delighted to share it and be part of it. 

Peterborough Sings! Conference (2023)

Evaluation Project: Concerteenies Musical Stories (Funded by Arts Council England)

The evaluation was to address key questions for funders, performers and producers: reach of the project (both live sessions and online), the experience those involved; children, musicians, parents/carers, nursery practitioners and musicians. The evaluation was also to provide insight on what effect the programme had on language skills, confidence, engagement and its long term impact through follow up activities inspired by attending and participating in 'Musical Stories'. 

"The report gave a clarity to the information provided by the attendees and the creative team."
- Polly Ives, Concerteenies

Concerteenies performance.

Research Project: Understanding Audiences for the Contemporary Arts

This Sheffield Performer & Audience Research Centre project was funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council to carry out research in four UK cities – Birmingham, Bristol, Liverpool and London. 

Through collaboration with a lead partner organisation in each city, we worked with a network of contemporary arts organisations to recruit audience members for in-depth, qualitative interviews, and to carry out action research to implement our initial findings. Watch the video below to find out more.