Culture Counts to provide Arts Council England’s Impact and Insight Toolkit

News : 6 July 2018
Ncuti Gatwa (Mercutio) in Romeo & Juliet at Victoria Baths. Photo: Graeme Cooper / HOME

Following a competitive tender process, Arts Council England has selected Culture Counts/Counting What Counts Ltd as the preferred service provider for their new Impact and Insight Toolkit.

We will be supporting Arts Council England funded NPOs and Sector Support Organiastions to evaluate their activities in the 2018-2022 investment period, and will work with the sector to further develop a range of outcome metrics for understanding and communicating the impact of cultural experiences. Organisations receiving more than £250,000 in funding from Arts Council England will be encouraged to tailor the programme to meet their needs and will report on their data outcomes from April 2019. All NPOs will be invited to take part, collect data, and shape the wide range of cultural insights that will be produced.

Sir Nicholas Serota, chairman of Arts Council England and former head of the Tate Galleries, has published a blog post to coincide with the announcement. Serota identifies the need to do more and better research, to give audiences a voice, and provide organisations with the tools to build long term relationships with their communities.     

“The crucial starting point has to be building a relationship with the audience and the community. This means knowing what they think about you and the work you do. This is fundamentally a way to establish a deeper conversation between an organisation and its audiences."

The widespread NPO use of standardised metrics through the Impact and Insight Toolkit is exciting in its potential to produce a very wide range of analytical and reflective insights for the sector to explore. This will offer arts and cultural organisations greater understanding about what people value about their work, and allow them to gauge whether they are meeting their creative intentions.

The interpretation of the aggregated data set will be driven and widely discussed by the creative professionals that make the work, allowing a richer dialogue between artists, peers and the public to emerge around the value of cultural experiences. This will help everyone talk about cultural impact in a more consistent and confident way. The adoption of theImpact and Insight Toolkit will also help encourage a stronger focus on data and the insights it can bring to the sector.

Since 2013, Arts Council England has supported the cultural sector in England to trial a new approach to evaluation. Over this period our teams in England and Australia have worked directly with NPOs to develop a metric framework that uses self, peer and public assessment to capture the impact of arts and cultural work.

Owen Hopkin, Director of Audience Insight and Innovation at Arts Council England shares the top 10 things you need to know about the toolkit here and states, “The sector have lead this initiative- it’s a substantial investment for us but we know it will help the organisations we fund better understand what people think and feel about their work, and whether it’s having the impact they want.”

What does Culture Counts do?

Culture Counts is a platform for evaluating a piece of work, event or program using feedback from three different respondent groups:

  • The artists, curators and/or cultural organisation that created the work or produced the event (self-assessment)
  • Expert peers such as other artists, people working in cultural organisations in the same field (peer assessment)
  • Audience members and visitors (public assessment)

Culture Counts provides a cloud-based software system that captures feedback from respondents about their experiences. The platform houses a set of rigorously tested impact metrics that measure cultural outcomes associated with arts experiences. Organisations are also using Culture Counts to report on social, economic, and civic outcomes, which can be used to enhance reporting to a range of stakeholders, boards, sponsors, trusts and foundations.

We welcome any enquiries about Culture Counts and the Impact and Insight Toolkit. Please don't hesitate to get in touch - admin@culturecounts.cc.

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