arts and culture

Oct 31 2017

Lessons from the regions

Having recently returned from a 10 day road trip around regional Victoria I am reflecting on the lessons that can be learned when consulting with communities in small towns. This is because the turn-out to my scheduled consultation meetings was lower than I had hoped. My road trip was a mid-point reading on the mood […]

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Apr 18 2017

Sharjah – a successful cultural precinct

I’ve just returned from Sharjah, UAE. My first impression of Sharjah was that of a sprawling congested metropolis that felt like a satellite city of Dubai. But then I found the heritage and arts precinct and realised that this city had an identity of its own. Sharjah’s cultural precinct comprises a group of 16 museums […]

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Feb 26 2017

Evaluation on a shoestring

If you’ve ever wished you had more resources to conduct an evaluation, you’re not alone. But if you’ve ever felt you shouldn’t proceeded with commissioning an evaluation because of constraints on resources, think again.  Renowned American evaluator Michael Bamberger has written extensively about how to conduct evaluations with limited resources. He calls it a Shoestring […]

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Jan 30 2017

Making an impact

You’ve rolled out a government or community program with specific objectives in mind and ask yourself: “What was the impact of this initiative on the community? How can an evaluation answer this question?” Impact Evaluation goes beyond describing or measuring outputs of a program or initiative. An Impact Evaluation is unique in two ways: 1. […]

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Oct 26 2016

Evaluation in the regional arts sector – current thinking

In the last decade or so, regional arts programs have been designed to be powerful tools with which to engage communities in various levels of change. They have been delivered to address regional renewal, health outcomes, quality of life, sense of place, transformation, social development and marginalisation. Yet, the literature reveals deficiencies in the quality […]

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Oct 6 2016

To measure or not to measure

We often feel we need to assign value to something, to be sure we know if it has merit or worth. The field of evaluation is embedded in processes of measurement, be that qualitative or quantitative, or a combination of both methods. Social research, too, is similarly participating in the debate about what can––or should––be […]

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Sep 14 2016

Community Panels: consistent consultation in small regional towns

Consulting with communities over the long-term in small regional towns in Australia presents similar challenges to consultation in cities. How do you target the right people for consultation? How do you keep people engaged for long-term projects?
 It is a myth that small towns folk have more time on their hands than their busy city […]

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Jul 27 2016

Cause and effect. Is qualitative evidence legitimate?

The exploration of causal pathways is compelling in evaluation and sometimes central. Investigating cause and effect and can be the only way of providing evidence that a program or initiative can be directly attributable to a particular outcome. To understand causal pathways is useful in telling a story of a program and is essential in […]

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Apr 15 2016

Theory-based evaluation – addressing an evaluation deficit

Evaluations conducted in the field of arts and cultural initiatives in Australia are often critiqued for their methodologically weakness. Concerns amongst peers and academics have included their reliance on small sample sizes, anecdotal evidence, limited hypothesis testing and little attention to the examination of internal program mechanisms with the aim of looking for causal factors […]

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Feb 17 2016

Rockhampton Retrospective – 3 years, 8 key challenges

Creative Capricorn was a three-year cultural program rolled out in Rockhampton, Queensland. Its aim was to demonstrate that when integrated into economics, social and community planning, arts and cultural projects can assist in the diversification of local economies, increase social cohesion and improve quality of life for the community. NSF was commissioned to evaluate this […]

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