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S3 Ep 4: Transparency

We’re returning to season 3 of our podcast, Reflecting Value: Evaluation Principles in Practice, for a bonus episode!

In season 3, we’ve been exploring our co-created Evaluation Principles. Throughout the season, we’ve been checking in with cultural sector professionals, evaluators and academics about their experiences of using the Principles in their work, both as reflective prompts and practical tools.

In this bonus episode, we’re discussing transparency.

How can we be open with our learning and acknowledge its limitations? Should our evaluations be made available publicly rather than just to the stakeholders we originally had in mind? And who is transparency for? Can we really expect smaller, less powerful cultural organisations to be totally candid with their work in the face of the demands placed on them by funders and stakeholders?

In a conversation facilitated by freelance evaluator Dawn Cameron, we ask what it means to be truly transparent. 

Featuring Stella Kanu (CEO at Shakespeare’s Globe) and Ben Walmsley (Director of the Centre for Cultural Value), this episode explores the risks and benefits of sharing evaluations and talking openly about our work.

You can listen to Reflecting Value at Spotify, Apple Music or wherever you find your podcasts and don’t forget to rate, review and subscribe.

Referenced in this episode:

Guest biographies

Stella Kanu

Stella Kanu

Stella Kanu is CEO at Shakespeare’s Globe, a cultural landmark that exists to produce trailblazing and inspiring productions, experiences, and Education programmes that, ‘Puts Shakespeare to Work’ for this moment.

Previously Executive Director at LIFT (London International Festival of Theatre) she led the strategic strands of the business as well as executive producing international work like The Second Woman starring two-time Olivier Award winner Ruth Wilson voted the best show of 2023 (Time Out). Stella has worked in the theatre, festival, and cultural sector for 30 years. She founded The Pivotal Place, a coaching practice and methodology for creative leaders, in 2005.

She is Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan’s representative to Arts Council England, and sits on the Advisory Board at the drama school Rose Bruford. An alumna of University of Wales, Aberystwyth; Middlesex University Writing Centre and Oxford Brookes University Business School. She is a sought- after panelist, speaker, and writer.

Stella is a Cultural Leadership International Powerbrokers Fellow (2008), an Honorary Fellow at Rose Bruford College (2021), was named one of the Alfred Fagon Award 25 Black Theatre Champions (2022) was recently named one of the 100 Black Women to Have Make a Mark (2023) and listed in The Stage 100 power list (2024).

Photo of Dawn Cameron - black and white image of smiling person sat with her hand resting on her head.

Dawn Cameron

Dawn is a self-employed researcher, project manager and evaluator working primarily in the creative arts and cultural sectors. She works mainly in the arts, heritage and cultural sectors as a director of her own company, Cameron& Ltd. Her recent work includes the completion of a piece of thematic research entitled  ‘How diverse are we, really?’ for Arts Council England’s Creative People and Places programme; evaluation of the Royal Literary Fund’s Writing for Life programme; evaluation of Opera North’s Orpheus Reimagined; evaluation of Jamaica Society Leeds’ Eulogy and Out of Many Festival programmes; and evaluation of Opal 22’s Casta: the origins of caste exhibition.

Over the past 16 years Dawn has been engaged by clients to carry out several research and evaluation assignments. She has a particular interest in storytelling approaches and in interrogating the ways in which notions of co-production are operationalised in project delivery. She is interested in working on projects which seek to deliver social and cultural change and which enable individuals to engage in creative practice.

Ben Walmsley

Ben Walmsley

Ben is the Director of the Centre for Cultural Value and Professor of Cultural Engagement at the University of Leeds. His research encompasses arts management, arts marketing, audience studies and cultural policy, with a focus on audience engagement and enrichment; change management in the arts; and cultural value and leadership.

Prior to his academic career, he worked as an arts manager for ten years, most recently as a Producer at the National Theatre of Scotland. Since 2014, Ben has been the Academic Director of the Arts Fundraising and Philanthropy Programme. His monograph Audience Engagement in the Performing Arts: A critical analysis was published by Palgrave Macmillan in 2019.


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