Sector support charities merge after loss of ACE funding

Audience in theatre. Image depicts backs of heads and stage in background
23 Nov 2023

The Audience Agency and Culture24, who were both part of ACE's National Portfolio until they lost funding in April this year, have joined forces.

What’s the value of digital arts and culture?

06 Nov 2023

If we can find a shared language and inclusive approach to evaluating digital arts and culture, we can tell a better story about the difference it’s making, write Rosanna Chianta and John White.

EXCLUSIVE: ACE drops reporting requirements over data platform glitches

The Illuminate online portal
13 Sep 2023

Amid sector concerns about new data platform Illuminate, Arts Council England says NPOs will not need to provide box office or audience survey data until next year.

Making evaluation valuable

An actor stands in front of a tent surrounded by water
12 Sep 2023

As the Centre for Cultural Value launches a free online evaluation course, Dawn Cameron explains how evaluation can help organisations understand the real value of what they do, not just what others want to hear.

Projects receive £3.1m to measure value of culture

12 Sep 2023

Six projects that aim to evaluate the value of culture and heritage to society have been announced as part of the Department for Culture, Media and Sport’s (DCMS) Culture and Heritage Capital Programme.

Founded in 2021, the programme assesses the social and economic benefits of culture and heritage weighed against their costs with the aim of providing the government with guidance on how to spend taxpayers’ money.

The latest projects include a case study for local and regional culture-led initiatives and levelling up focusing on National Museums Liverpool Waterfront Transformation, led by the University of Liverpool, which will receive £420,657.

Another study led by the University of Portsmouth will receive £359,015 to assess the economic and cultural value of digital culture and heritage assets.

Each of the six projects will receive between £359,015 and £528,825 financed by a £3.1m research funding round from the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) and DCMS.

The project leaders will collaborate with stakeholders, including Historic England, National Museums Liverpool and the National Trust.

Arts and Heritage Minister Lord Parkinson said it’s important to measure the benefits of arts and culture to people's lives “to make the most effective decisions to maximise their potential – especially where taxpayers’ money is being invested.”

AHRC Executive Chair Professor Christopher Smith said, “The culture and heritage sectors are a vital part of our economy, but we do not have a clear or agreed set of criteria for measuring all their relevant benefits, including the undoubted impacts of intangible benefits. This has a significant impact on policymaking.

“This project will help give us a better basis on which to evaluate the contribution of culture and heritage to society."

Cultural encounters of the empathic kind

My Leeds 2023 Neighbourhood Hosts programme. People stood on a balcony waving and smiling.
12 Jul 2023

Driven by funder requirements and sector expectations, evaluation can feel top-down. Stephen Welsh argues for a more people-centred approach which is empathetic, inclusive and unassuming.

Concern over 'lack of representation' in creative health research

Young women are taking part in an art session together
31 May 2023

Study into value of culture in relation to health and wellbeing warns of 'concerning gap' in evidence base.

Lewisham, London's Borough of Culture engaged majority of local schools

04 Apr 2023

Lewisham starts work on a cultural strategy following successful stint as London Borough of Culture focused on young people, community and cultural activism.

AHRC announces new hosts for Creative PEC

King's Walk on Newcastle University's campus, looking towards the Arches with the Student Union building on the left
09 Mar 2023

Centre producing research and policy recommendations on arts, culture and the creative industries will be split across two hubs in England, one in the North and one in the South.

Birmingham 2022 Festival 'delivered on inclusivity', study finds

31 Jan 2023

Evaluation report finds festival made inclusive practice integral to its programme, despite previous claims it had shut out creatives from an ethnic minority background.

Why we need to use the F word in evaluation

“Failures” are important. A cartoon depicts two people speaking. One says, “According to their report everything is awesome.” The other replies, “Yeah that worries me too.”
26 Jan 2023

Talking of failure can feel uncomfortable and we often avoid it when carrying out evaluation. But, as Susanne Burns argues, being open about failure can be key to learning. 

Evaluating large-scale cultural events

A group of young people dancing outside in front of a building as part of Birmingham 2022
18 Jan 2023

With the evaluation findings from Birmingham 2022 published this week, and those from Coventry City of Culture forthcoming, Katy Raines and Jonothan Neelands have been reflecting on what’s been learned and what it means for the sector.

Why better data is vital for future-proofing the cultural sector

Light projection
23 Nov 2022

Why do we struggle to convey the cultural sector’s significant impact? There’s no easy answer but an obvious solution lies in harnessing quantitative and qualitative data, argues Ben Walmsley.

Many voices, open minds, commitment to change

15 Jun 2022

What should underpin our evaluation practice in the arts? Oliver Mantell reflects on the new Evaluation Principles from the Centre for Cultural Value. 

Evaluating cities and capitals of culture

art installation of dominoes in a town square
17 May 2022

With the winner of the UK City of Culture 2025 to be announced imminently, four academics outline their recommendations for the future of evaluation studies of Cities and Capitals of Culture. 

Culture-led funding or funding-led culture?

Silhouette of two people watching a live performance
02 Dec 2020

There is a crucial disconnect between how the sector evaluates the impact of culture and using it to influence policy. It’s time to reset the wheel, say Ben Walmsley and Emma McDowell.

Taking up the evaluation challenge

06 Oct 2020

Practitioners have seen with their own eyes how arts and health interventions can make a real difference to young people’s mental health – but can they prove it to those holding the purse strings? Katherine Taylor explains how a new evaluation framework is promising to help them do just that.

Storytelling – a different way of evaluating

Team photo from a recreation of the 1966 World Cup
09 Jul 2020

Conventional monitoring and evaluation isn’t always helpful in community settings, but with some creative thinking, it can become a valuable part of the artistic process. Sarah Cassidy explains how a new technique can transform the outcomes.

Working together to articulate cultural value

Audience at a gig - arms waving
01 Apr 2020

When the coronavirus crisis ends and government is prioritising what happens next, nothing will be more important than being able to articulate cultural value. Ben Walmsley and Anne Torreggiani explain how the new Centre for Cultural Value will support funders, policymakers and the cultural sector to make more effective use of research and evaluation.

Art ‘doesn’t need to be useful’, report advises self-evaluating organisations

Photo of sculpture
05 Jul 2017

A new resource aims to guide arts organisations through self-assessment, whether they have chosen to do it or been asked to do so by a funder.


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