Evaluating the social impact of the arts, Art and Reconciliation research seminar, 14th March 2018

This workshop will explore the evaluation and impact strategy developed for the AHRC funded project, Art and Reconciliation, in collaboration with Kings College War Studies Department and the London School of Economics.

It will be lead by Paul Lowe and Tiffany Fairey from LCC and Professor James Gow from Kings, and will be run as a workshop to share experiences, ideas and best practices.

Evaluating Arts Practice in a social context led by Dr Tiffany Fairey

This session will discuss the evaluation strategy and framework that has been developed to explore the impact of these artistic commissions and to investigate how these artistic interventions are experienced by those involved and whether (and how) they do or do not contribute to reconciliation and peace-building.

More broadly, it will consider the question of how we can effectively research, evaluate and communicate the social impact of the arts. Recent decades have seen the arts increasingly harnessed to tackle issues of social exclusion, community renewal and in post-conflict societies as a means to build peace. Institutional funders are keen to see evidence of impact however traditional evaluation methods with their emphasis on quantative methods and linear, causal models of change fail to capture the emergent qualities of the arts and their transformative effects. Is there a way to navigate the clash of cultures between programmatic evaluation approaches and open-ended artistic processes?   How can we build research strategies that critically capture and communicate the contribution and qualities of artistic projects to complex and unstable social contexts?

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