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New Evaluation Learning Space unlocks hidden insights



Experiencing Leeds 2023: A volunteer at Leeds 2023 takes a picture during a 'soundwalk' called As You Are, pointing their phone upwards to the ceiling in Leeds County Arcade.

The Centre for Cultural Value is launching an online resource hub to uncover the learning hidden in evaluations from the cultural sector.

The Evaluation Learning Space shares insights and knowledge to support cultural organisations and practitioners, academics and policymakers to deepen their understanding of evaluation practices and approaches.

Evaluation is essential to inform effective cultural policymaking and practice. Yet, learning from previous evaluations is not always as accessible as it could be, with findings hidden behind paywalls or buried deep in reports.

The Evaluation Learning Space aims to provide better access to this learning, through:

  • accessible online resources with key insights and learning points;
  • audio clips featuring evaluation experts, bringing the projects to life;;
  • links to relevant reports and suggestions for further reading 
  • signposting ways to get actively involved in the conversation around evaluation, for example through our online evaluation course or by joining the Cultural Evaluation Network on LinkedIn.

This new online space is supported by the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation and led by the Centre for Cultural Value, in partnership with CultureHive, the Arts Marketing Association’s knowledge hub.

The first resources will focus on what we can learn from the evaluations of UK Cities and Capitals of Culture. They will shed light on who was involved, what methods and frameworks were used and the challenges evaluation teams faced. 

While the focus is on large-scale events, the resources provide useful learning for anyone in the cultural sector working on evaluation projects of all shapes and sizes. 

Ben Walmsley, Director of the Centre for Cultural Value says: “We know that evaluation reports can be a really valuable source of insight for the sector, but we also know they’re not always easy to find. The main idea behind the Evaluation Learning Space is to surface and share some of this rich knowledge, so that researchers, policymakers and cultural practitioners can use it to inform their own work. 

We’ve decided to focus the first set of resources for the space on UK-based Cities and Capitals of Culture. Not only are these very complex programmes with some really interesting evaluation challenges, but the learnings from projects on this scale offer rich knowledge that can be applied to a whole range of activities and settings. We’re looking forward to sharing more evaluation resources with the sector in the coming months.” 

Visit the Centre’s new Evaluation Learning Space.

Photo credit: A LEEDS 2023 volunteer experiencing As You Are in the County Arcade (by Justin Slee)

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