Approaching Peer Assessment across the Arts
This case study was written by Becki Haines, Coney Ltd., in response to their experience of the 2016 Quality Metrics National Test, the precursor to the Impact & Insight Toolkit. Thank you, Becki!
The opportunity for peer to peer assessments was really important to us as Coney participating in a trial like this. It provided a rare opportunity for the full portfolio to collaborate, and to have a full cultural dialogue rather than specific to any artform.
We are after all a portfolio, built to showcase the landscape of the arts within England. Individually we might be excellent, but collectively we are too and Quality Metrics provided a platform to identify this.
Coney used the peer assessment process to strategically build an impression about our work from the broadest possible influence. We approached assessors outside our region, and working in different artforms. And we provided assessments to others of the same, focusing largely on visual arts and dance events. It placed Coney’s work within a wider cultural debate; understanding from those exceptional people in other sectors what it is about our work that is interesting, what resonates and what is translating as cultural excellence across the broadest possible scale.
We then strategically teamed these assessments with others who were more familiar with our work, in order to build a comparison about the role of prior knowledge, understanding or reputation in generating a professional opinion. What evolved was a rich tapestry of points of view to navigate and learn from.
I have curiosities about accessibility – and my fundamental energy goes into ensuring Coney is meaningful and relevant to the widest breadth of people with each piece of work that we create. But we innovate, we work with technology and we work outside of theatres and all of those things have their challenges. The Quality Metrics for us was an opportunity to compare how we’re perceived on an industry level, from peers, against the opinions of our audiences and to learn where the difference lay. Thankfully mechanisms like the Quality Metrics ensure we can learn how to be celebrated by them both.
Image Credit: Adventure 1 Rob Greig/Time Out