Community survey 2022 – what we heard from you

A little while ago the newCardigan organising committee asked our newCardigan community to complete a survey to tell us a little bit about what you value about newCardigan, what you want to be part of in the future, and how we can improve what we’re doing together. The results were interesting and very useful, and we’re using them to shape our planning and where we are directing our energies. There’s only so much a small group of volunteers can do, so we need to focus on the things you’ve told us you want and value.  

We also committed to sharing the results publicly. In this post we’ll run through the quantitative data, and discuss the broad themes of the narrative answers. – While we can’t publish individual responses, there are some commonalities we can think about together. 

Who completed the survey?

First of all, it’s probably useful to understand who we’re talking about when we look at the survey responses. Generally speaking, the “cohort” data seems fairly representative of the newCardigan membership, with the average respondent being a Victorian involved with newCardigan for 3 to 5 years. 

State of residence

Tenure of membership

How do you feel about newCardigan?

We asked respondents to reflect on your relationship to newCardigan and how you understand it. There were no right or wrong answers here – we weren’t fishing for anything in particular – we asked these questions to get a clearer sense of what kind of relationship our community has with newCardigan as an organisation, as well as what kind of relationship you want. Were they the best questions to ask? Perhaps, or perhaps not, but the results were useful even if they lead to some further unanswered questions. Below you can see how much the community agreed (with 0 as “strongly disagree” and 5 as “strongly agree”) with four statements about newCardigan. 

What do you want from newCardigan?

Finally, two sets of data have provided a reasonably clear pathway for where to direct our energies in the near future. Firstly, we asked How much should newCardigan focus on the following activities?, where 0 represents “not at all” and 5 represents “a lot”. activities?

You can see from the chart we’ve grouped these by colour:  

  • in pink are things we have definitely been doing for a long time 
  • in charcoal are activities we’ve arguably also been doing but that we need to think about and discuss with the newCardigan community more to make sure we’re hitting the mark in terms of how we do them.  
  • in light grey are activities we’ve not done in the past but have popped up as suggestions from time to time, so we thought we’d ask. 

None of these things are in conflict and some of them strengthen each other – we just need to figure out how to do them sustainably. 

We also had a free text question asking What do you find most engaging about newCardigan? This was not so that we could bask in the glow of people saying nice things, but rather to get a sense of what people value most outside of a limited set of options provided by us. Even though we ended up with a highly diverse (and sometimes conflicting!) set of responses, this diversity was itself a fairly consistent theme.  

We heard that you like: 

  •  that newCardigan is a GLAMR group that connects people across and between the more specific sectors 
  • connecting with newCardigan and getting involved in different ways and with different levels of commitment 
  • hearing from all kinds of GLAMR people in a wide range of institutions, situations and geographies, from tiny archives to huge museums, and from Broome to Wellington. 

What lessons have we drawn?

As in all aspects of life, it’s impossible to satisfy everyone 100%. We have, however, drawn some lessons from this survey. Based on what you told us, we will: 

  • hold more events – both in-person and online 
  • continue publishing the podcast and fortnightly newsletter 
  • investigate further what advocating for progressive change in the GLAM professions and online spaces to share news, ideas, and help should look like. 

The last two will take some work, but it’s clear that people want more opportunities to casually connect with like-minded professionals to talk shop and change the world. We didn’t have anything in particular in mind when we asked about “online spaces”, we were simply curious. Given this had such a strong response, it’s clearly something we need to focus on, but we’re unsure what it means in practical terms. Does simply continuing to maintain a Facebook group and a Mastodon server count? Do we need to promote these existing platforms more? Do people want something else entirely? We plan to spend a little more time talking to our community about this over the coming months.  If you have any ideas about this, we’d love to hear from you!

Thanks for being awesome and participating in our survey.