Improve Impact

Create Gloucestershire is working with its members to develop two key strands of work that will help individuals and organisations improve the impact of their activity in the arts and cultural sector.

We're also starting to collate guidance and resources that recommend ways to get better at what you do, and who you do it with. If you have anything you'd like to recommend for this section, please email rachel@creategloucestershire.co.uk

 

Prove and Improve Evaluation Framework

Supported by Paul Hamlyn Foundation, we are working with members, associate members and evaluation specialists DHA Communications to co-design a new framework to collect data across a range of artists, arts and cultural organisations across Gloucestershire.  The data will be used to underpin a new “prove and improve” framework for the sector, to prove the value created by public investment in the arts, and improve sector performance and thereby the offer for audiences.

It is more important than ever that the arts and cultural sector is able to tell the story of the impact it creates, and, through stronger relationships with audiences, and better understanding of need, to improve the impact and quality of its work.

 Through conversations with our members and other professionals inside and outside the sector, we identified a range of issues linked to data and evidence collection, and developed a strategy to address them through the collective creation of a new evaluation framework.

The framework, being developed and tested with DHA Communications and a group of 15 ‘guinea pig’ artists and organisations, aims to:

  1. Create a robust evidence base to underpin funding bids, philanthropy and commissioning relationships.
  2. Develop a more equal understanding of value in the sector that puts individual artists and practitioners on the same platform as NPOs and other large organisations.
  3. Facilitate better dialogue with audiences and participants, and embed evaluation into planning and delivery cycles, leading to improved, targeted audience development.
  4. Enable data sharing across peers to enable reflection and learning from practice.
  5. Improve understanding of and support for the county’s large volunteer asset base.
  6. Help CG to evidence change and how collaboration adds value to the sector.

 This will result in a toolkit than anyone, from a bedroom DJ to a large festival, can use to evaluate and improve their work through a conversation with their audiences and participants.

After the initial testing stage we’ll be rolling it out – the more people use the same system, the more valuable and useful the data.  It will make the picture of cultural provision in the county much clearer: from grainy black and white to full-colour HD!

If you would like to find out more or get involved email hello@creategloucestershire.co.uk

 

Digital Kitbag

How can we increase conversation about culture in Gloucestershire? What role does digital technology play in this? How do we best convert conversation to “business”?  How can we build a feedback loop with new digital conversations and innovative artistic activity?

These questions kick-started ‘Art. Not what I expected’, a collaborative audience engagement project in Stroud that CG ran with 20 cultural organisations in Spring 2013 (see unexpectedartglos.me for more info)

From that initiative we discovered both the potential of, and the obstacles to, developing online audiences and markets for the arts and cultural sector. In summary, we learned that:

  1. That significant digital traffic can be generated collaboratively by artistic events that benefit the overall arts ecology in a place
  2. Digital processes and profile across the cultural sector in Glos are poor.
  3. The culture of “I don’t understand all this digital stuff” needs to be addressed otherwise the best digital tools and design are wasted.

We therefore need a holistic change process that includes the right digital tools to grow and sustain the sector, opportunities to platform cutting edge digital artists and a new understanding of the relationship between the two.

We have recently received support from Arts Council England, through thire Grants for the Arts strand, to develop and roll out a digital kitbag that will achieve a solid baseline of activity across the sector.

The kitbag is a set of online tools: e-commerce, content management (CMS), e-CRM, online booking and e-donations tools that can help organisations have a much clearer, more sophisticated relationship with their audiences.

We are currently working with a small group of ‘franchise founders’ to test both the tools and the business model. By summer 2014 we will have a sound understanding of how the tools work in a variety of environments, and how best to enable organisations to implement them.

 

Resources, tools and guidance

Making your work accessible to more people

Becoming a dementia friendly arts venue: a practical guide (November 2015, Alzheimer's Society) 
A guide for arts venue managers and staff on how to make the environment, facilitates and programming of arts venues accessible to people with dementia, their families and carers. 

Arts and health

Creative & Credible (November 2015, Willis Newson) 
Creative & Credible aims to support arts and health organisations and practitioners to engage with evaluation creatively, to improve their practice, to strengthen the evidence base around the benefits and impacts of arts projects and to make well-informed spending decisions.