Using the Toolkit, organisations can ‘tag’ their evaluations to indicate the type of work that has been evaluated.  We often refer to this as ‘adding evaluation properties’.  These tags can represent a number of important contextual points such as the artform, the size of the audience, the location, and so on…  With the help of these tags we can get a sense of the diversity of work which has been evaluated with the Toolkit.

In this blogpost we’ll be looking at the diversity of the evaluations submitted, based on the associated artforms provided by the arts or cultural organisation themselves.


The Tags

Some of those reading this will already know what the artform tags are but, for those that don’t, I’ll introduce them here.

We provide the opportunity for both ‘broad artforms’ and ‘specific artforms’ to be tagged.  The specific artforms are subcategories of a broad artform.  For example:

Broad artformSpecific artform


In addition to these there are also more granular tags, of which there are hundreds.  These are grouped according to the properties they relate to.  For example:

Cultural OriginIndian
Subjectpop culture


All of these tags can be used together in as many combinations as are possible.  With being able to combine the tags like this, we can create unique descriptions of each work that is evaluated.

However, if we want to look for patterns, we need a good amount of data to work with.  It’s with groups of similar works that we can learn interesting things.  This doesn’t mean that adding lots of tags is a bad thing.  The more tags, the better, as it gives us more information to work with and a greater potential for gaining insight from the data.


Tag Usage

It is not a mandatory requirement to tag evaluations.  Only about 50% of evaluations which have been submitted to Arts Council England have been tagged. This means there are currently many evaluations which have been completed, but aren’t yet helping us to develop our understanding of their artform.

If, after reading this blogpost, you see that your artform is one which we have limited data for, please do add the evaluation properties to your evaluations – both those already completed and future evaluations.


Counting Broad Artforms

Firstly, let’s have a quick at how many times each of the broad artform tags have been used.

The artform tag Theatre has been used the most, with 87 tagged evaluations.  There are only a small number of evaluations tagged with Film and only one with Libraries.  This means that if we are hoping to gain some deep insights about these artforms we will need to wait until there is more data with the appropriate tags.


Broad Artform Associations

As stated above, evaluations can be tagged with multiple artforms.  This means we can look at how often the different artforms are associated with each other.

The diagram below is called a chord diagram.  It shows the association between categories, meaning that an evaluation was given both artform tags.  A thicker link between categories means they are associated more frequently.  Hovering over the links or the categories will give you the actual numbers involved, and you can click on the categories to highlight their links.

If we count the total number of times each artform tag has been used (as in the above chart) we can see that Theatre is the most commonly used.  However, in the chord diagram below, Combined arts is the largest category.  This is because Combined arts has the largest number of associations with other artforms, as you might expect!  Combined arts also has a significant number of associations with each other artform (demonstrated by the links reaching out from Combined arts), whereas some of the links between other artforms are much smaller.

The only two artforms that have no association at time of writing are Literature and Visual arts.  The biggest links are between Combined arts and Music; Combined arts and Dance; Music and Dance.

Specific Artforms

There are many more specific artform categories which further break down the categories explored above – 66 in total.  The chart below shows all of these categories and how they fall under the broad artform categories.

Artform Diversity

Now let’s look at the overall diversity of tagged works.

The chart below shows how the works tagged with each broad artform are broken down into the specific artforms which fall under them.  The larger the circle, the more evaluations which have been tagged with that artform label.

As of the time of writing, there are 53 specific artforms represented in the dataset.  On average, each has been used by 9 unique evaluations.

The specific artform tags Contemporary, Interdisciplinary arts, Plays, Multi-disciplinary festivals & programmes, Entertainment (Theatre) and Classical have been used the most, with each of them having been used at least 20 times so far.

You can explore this using the interactive chart.


Through the above exploration of the data we can get a good picture of the wide variety of work which is being evaluated.  It might seem obvious now having seen a visual representation of the data, but until doing that exploration there was a possibility of seeing something different.  For example, the majority of evaluated works might have come from a small number of artforms.  Instead, we see a range of artforms with no specific artform dominating the dataset.

In the future we would like to explore evaluation tags on a more granular level, such as looking at how peoples experience is affected by factors like the Cultural Origin or Medium of the work.  However, for this more granular investigation we would need a larger and well-tagged dataset for it to be meaningful.

The ability to tag your work with evaluation properties, therefore providing much needed context for that evaluation, allows us to ask more interesting questions of the data, leading to more interesting insight.



Image Credit: Héctor J. Rivas on Unsplash