NB There are no future planned start dates for this course in 2024/25.

Short Course

Mastering Cultural Sector Data

This Mastering Cultural Sector Data course will provide students with the skills and confidence to understand and appraise the many different types of data available to cultural sector leaders.

It begins with an overview of data in the sector, before moving into a systematic and critical guide to local and national demographic data sets, ways to monitor and measure audiences and their behaviour, and approaches to segmenting and studying political and industry stakeholders.

It concludes with a practical interrogation of the many data analysis tools and techniques that can support the work of cultural leaders.

Register your interest

Why should you study a short course in Mastering Cultural Sector Data at QMU?

  • The course is led by cultural sector experts in research and data who have practical experience of analysing and building data sets.
  • The course will give you the opportunity to explore data that is directly relevant to your specific professional context.
  • Your assessment is designed to be of practical application to the organisation(s) you work for/with.

Who is this course for?

This course is for current and aspiring leaders in the cultural sector who wish to apply the most appropriate data and analysis to support long-term strategy, programming, marketing and advocacy. It will be especially useful for people whose role requires them to analyse data or manage the data of an organisation.

Mastering Cultural Sector Data: The course in brief

What will I learn on the course?

On this course you will learn about many different types of data and how they can be applied in the work of cultural organisations.

Topics covered include:

  • types of data in the cultural sector, their strengths, weaknesses and uses;
  • local and national demographic data and open data;
  • qualitative and quantitative data;
  • mapping local assets and catchments;
  • stakeholder and sectoral data;
  • big data and digital data sets; 
  • data visualisation; and
  • managing data in organisations.

By the end of the course what will I be able to do?

On completion of the course, you’ll be able to:

  • find, generate, analyse, interpret and operationalise data and the insights it provides for organisational performance;
  • understand the strengths and weaknesses of different types of data;
  • design, build and populate your own data sets; and
  • integrate and compare your data with local and national data sets.

How will I be taught?

How is the course delivered?

The course will begin and conclude with a 4hr in-person workshop at the QMU campus. In addition, there will be 9, 2-hour online seminars delivered across the intervening weeks. Your individual learning will also include 4 hours of one-to-one support from the module tutor delivered online. You will be expected to prepare contributions to the workshops and seminars and should set time aside each week to do so.

How long does the course last for and how much time will I need to spend on it each week?

The course runs over a 3-month period during which you will be required to take part in 2 in-person workshops (Edinburgh), 9 online classes and supervision sessions. In addition to these sessions, you will also need to spend around a day a week undertaking independent study that will complement what you learn in class. This will include set readings, guided learning exercises and conversations/correspondence with the module co-ordinator.

The course commences on Monday 15 April 2024.

NB. Online workshops are live; students are expected to participate in all sessions. There will be no 'recorded' option.

Confirmed timetable:

• Mon, 15 Apr:11:00-15:00 at QMU
• Wed, 24 Apr: 15:00-17:00

• Wed, 1 May: 15:00-17:00
• Wed, 8 May: 15:00-17:00
• Wed, 15 May: 15:00-17:00
• Wed, 22 May: 15:00-17:00
• Wed, 29 May: 15:00-17:00

• Wed, 5 June: Supervision – progress discussion. Times tbc
• Wed, 12 June: 15:00-17:00
• Wed, 19 June: 15:00-17:00
• Wed, 26 June: 15:00-17:00

• Wed, 3 July: Supervision workshop preparation. Times tbc
• Tues, 9 July: 11:00-15:00 at QMU

Does the course have an assessment and if so what sort of assessment will it be?

There are two ways in which this course will be assessed. The nature of the individual assessment will be determined by your specific circumstances and present/future challenges:

  • 15-minute presentation and associated slide deck of no more than 6 slides
  • 1250-word proposal for a new data set 

Who will be teaching me?

The module is delivered by James Doeser.

James is an experienced researcher, consultant and coach with a CV that straddles academia, employment in the sector and freelancing.

James will be assisted by David Brownlee of Data Culture Change. David’s previous cultural leadership experience includes roles as Executive Director of UK Theatre, Chief Executive of Audiences UK and Managing Director of Purple Seven.

The module will be quality assured by Professor David Stevenson of Queen Margaret University.

What equipment will I need for this course?

You will require access to a computer or laptop, internet connectivity and a webcam.

Student support/access to facilities

For the duration of your course you will be able to make use of our on-campus learning resource centre as well as access to our full range of online resources, including e-books and academic journals.

You will also have limited, mainly online access, to Student Services support. Students with particular support requirements can contact the Disability Service.

As you will be studying with us for less than a full academic year you will not be provided with a personal academic tutor (PAT). However, any queries regarding your studies should be directed to the staff member leading the delivery of your course.

Mastering Cultural Sector Data: Entry requirements, fees and application information

Entry requirements

The course is delivered at master’s level and each applicant must decide if the level of study is suitable for them.

Applicants for master’s level study would usually hold an undergraduate degree or have relevant professional experience that supports study at this level. Applicants that have previously studied outside the UK should check that their qualification has been taught at a suitable level to prepare them for master’s level study.

You do not need to provide proof of your previous qualifications.

English language requirements

This course is taught and assessed in English. Applicants do not need to provide proof of their English Language skills when applying for this course, but all applicants should consider whether they have sufficient English competence to study at this level. Applicants for this level of study would usually be able to demonstrate a level of English equivalent to IELTS 6.5 overall, with no component score below 6.0




Not currently available

Application deadline


Start date

The next start date for this course is TBC.

NB This course will run depending on numbers registered. Confirmation of commencement will be 4 weeks in advance of the start date.

More information and QMU contacts

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Course Overview

12 Weeks
Start Date
April 2024
Fees & Funding