One of the most exciting aspects of the Impact & Insight Toolkit is that it is, and always has been, a sector-led project that actively engages with arts and cultural organisations and artists.  Through optional participation in one (or more!) development strands, NPOs have continued to inform and shape the direction of the Toolkit since its launch in 2018.  Activities have included:

  • Participating in user testing sessions of new software
  • Collaborating on new evaluation templates
  • Attending workshops to develop and/or refine survey questions

 
NPO input and feedback has been central to the ongoing development of the Impact & Insight Toolkit.
 
It will come as no surprise that much of the activity planned for the development strands was put on hold in 2020/21 due to COVID-19.  However, we are incredibly excited to finally share with you the complete output from the Artform and Museum Metric Strand. Activity began back in October 2019, when CWC invited NPOs to attend the artform and museum specific workshops where they would work with other professionals to create new dimensions for evaluating audience and peer experience of individual artforms and museums.
 

Please see the breakdown of the six workshops below:

DateLocation ArtformNumber of NPOs RepresentedNumber of NPO AttendeesNumber of Creative Staff
28/10/19LondonVisual Arts172016
29/10/19BirminghamMuseums7104
30/10/19BirminghamMusic12147
31/10/19ManchesterOutdoor events/ combined arts693
04/11/19LondonTheatre11156
05/11/19LondonDance12128

 

After the workshops, we spent time collating and analysing the tasks carried out by NPOs and, in July 2020, we published the Artform and Museum Metrics Workshops summary report with a set of recommendations and next steps.  The key finding was that many of the outcomes NPOs wanted to measure were already covered by the existing dimensions!  Surprisingly, there were only a handful of suggestions for artform and museum specific dimensions.

Most additional dimensions suggested by attendees at the Artform & Museum Metrics workshops related to the general nature of arts and cultural experiences and were applicable across multiple artforms and event types.  In addition, the strongest request from NPOs across all artforms was to develop dimensions for capturing overall feelings of enjoyment and satisfaction among audiences and peers, and for understanding how and to what extent people respond emotionally to a work.  These are referred to as ‘sentiment’ dimensions and research has been underway, exploring how these could be integrated into the Toolkit.  More on this coming soon…!

In October 2020, we also decided to run a similar set of activities with a group of assessors from Arts Council’s Artistic and Quality Assessment programme (AQA).  Interestingly, the AQA assessors followed a similar pattern to the NPOs; they created more general dimensions applicable across a range of artforms and only a couple that were truly artform or museum specific.

We are pleased to announce that we have now added all new artform and museum specific dimensions to the Toolkit ready for you to add to your evaluations if you wish.  Interestingly, some requested early access and have included them in their evaluations since July!  We are always happy to accommodate such requests where we can!

We have also decided to add the general dimensions created by NPOs to the Toolkit; you can find these in the Cultural Experience category.  Excitingly, these dimensions can contribute towards the building of flexible evaluations, meaning that they can be used to fulfil funding requirements where appropriate.  Please do explore them!

The new artform and museum specific dimensions created by NPOs are as follows:

ACE Literature Specific

• Completion: ‘I feel more confident about knowing when my work is finished’
• Language: ‘I enjoyed the author’s use of language’
• Skills (writing): ‘I improved my technical writing skills’
• Network: ‘I have increased my network of people to support with my writing’
• Illustration: ‘The pictures were just right for the story’
• Layout: ‘I liked the way the words and pictures appeared together on the page’

ACE Dance Specific

• Balance: ‘The elements were well-balanced’
• Cadence: ‘It was well-paced’

Combined Arts Specific

• Blend: ‘I appreciated the mix of art forms in this work’

ACE Music Specific

• Sound: ‘I loved the sound of this performance’
• Unity: ‘The musicians performed as one voice’
• Use of musical elements: ‘The piece exploited different musical elements in an interesting way (Tempo, timbre, structure, dynamics, pitch/harmony, texture, beat/rhythm)’

ACE Visual Art Specific

• Interpretation: ‘The information about the exhibition was clear and helpful’
• Place: ‘It gave me a new perspective on its location’
• Visual Impact: ‘It drew me in and made me look’

ACE Museum Specific

• Interpretation:’ The information about the exhibition was clear and helpful’
• Visual Impact: ‘It drew me in and made me look’
 
The more general dimensions, saved in the Cultural Experience category, created by NPOs are as follows:

• Escapism: ‘I was so immersed that I lost sense of time’
• Coherence: ‘All the different elements of the piece came together well’
• Connectivity: ‘The work/experience spoke to me on a personal level’
• Resonance: ‘It will stay with me for a long time’
• Beauty: ‘It was visually beautiful’
• Relatability: ‘I could relate to the emotions expressed by the characters’
• Catharsis: ‘I felt differently after this experience’
• Independent Interpretation: ‘I felt free to make my own meaning with the work’
• Intimacy: ‘I felt close to the artists/performers’
• Appropriately Pitched: ‘It respected the emotional maturity of its audience’

These dimensions can be found on the Design page of any survey, under the ‘Dimension’ content type.
We would love to hear how you’ve found using these dimensions. Please do contact us and let us know.  As ever, NPOs drive and develop the Toolkit and we want you to continue doing so!
 

Image credit: Photo by Hans-Peter Gauster on Unsplash

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