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What are outcomes and why do we measure them?

It is often difficult to demonstrate the full value of an event or program. Attendance numbers, event size, and income are typically used to demonstrate success, but this only shows part of the picture.

The Culture Counts evaluation approach acknowledges that for most cultural organisations, the objective of their programs isn’t solely to generate spending or to engage a large number of people. Many organisations strive to make a genuine impact on people’s lives, whether it be through learning, participating, or simply experiencing programs.

Put simply, we are interested in understanding how people have changed after an activation or event (the outcomes). This understanding helps us to tell the story of people or the broader society, as a result of this change (the impact). With our Outcomes Framework, organisations have the tools to help them measure the true impact that programs have on attendees, participants, and other stakeholders.

Our research was originally adapted from the Cultural Development Network’s Outcomes Schema, with recent updates to categorise all outcomes associated with cultural activity into the following five domains:

  • Cultural
  • Community
  • Economic
  • Social
  • Environment

We have also worked with our academic research partners to develop the following additional areas relevant to measuring cultural and community activities:

  • Qualities
  • Placemaking
  • Libraries

Culture Counts has developed a number of standardised questions, referred to as dimensions, that align with associated outcome areas. You can read more about these here.

Visit this page for more information about the Culture Counts evaluation approach, including our definitions of these domains and how we measure them with dimensions.

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