Gresham College aims to provide lectures that offer new insights and depth to the subjects covered while still being understandable to the general public. Our ambition is to reach as wide and diverse a group of people as possible. Because of this, we try to know our audience as well as possible.


How broad is Gresham College’s reach?

We carried out a brand awareness survey in April 2018 and found that 7% of UK adults have heard of us (up from 5% in 2017). In London and the East of England, this rises to 12% and 14% respectively.

Looking at age ranges, Gresham College is best known among people in their 20’s (7%) and people over the age of 55 years (9%). This reflects what we see in our lecture halls with a variety of university students and seniors. 10% of full-time students and retirees in the UK have heard of Gresham College. Among the unemployed 14% has heard of us.

Our lectures on YouTube reach close to three million people a year. They tend to be younger and 83% of them live abroad, primarily in the US, Canada, Australia and India.


Who is our audience?

In January-March 2017 we carried out a short audience survey reaching over 2,000 people to better understand who watches our lectures and what they think of them.

The audience we reached in our survey was largely based in the UK. They tend to be older and well educated, with only around 15% without degrees. Most are or were of professional or managerial background, although the number in manual/unskilled work has increased since the last survey in 2012. 40% are atheist and most are white, but ethnic diversity has increased since the time of the last survey.

74% of the people who go to our lectures in person go to between one and five lectures a year. Our online audience is more active and 50% have watched more than 5 lectures.


What does the audience think of our lectures?

98% of our audience rated our lectures excellent (52%), very good (39%) or good (7%). Most audience members would recommend Gresham College lectures to a friend (98%).

We also asked if and how we have changed our audience members' lives. For many, coming to the lectures has had positive effects on their learning and they have found the lectures enriching. The lectures have also helped them to think more widely and deeply, to use their critical and problem-solving skills, and some have been inspired to run their own events. For some, the lectures helped them become curious, inspiring ‘an acute sense of wonder’. Many say the accessibility of higher learning is the real draw.

Teachers use the lectures in their classes and take inspiration from them. For other audience members, the lectures help keep their brain active, widen their knowledge and enlarge their social circle (especially for older people and others at risk of isolation). For some, the lectures have specifically helped them understand something, for example, quantum mechanics, first-year university calculus, or the law. For our online audiences specifically, many tell us that they are unable to access lectures of this quality where they live (for example outside big cities or in other countries, like the US).

We are always looking to improve the lectures we offer. If you have any comments or suggestions on how we might do this, please let us know by emailing: enquiries@gresham.ac.uk.