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  • Where possible, prioritise the learning (and learning what to do differently) over monitoring goals of evaluation, and understanding over judgement.​
  • Incorporate previous learning into activity and evaluation.​
  • Understand before, during and after (including baselines or comparisons where possible).​
  • Be prepared to challenge projects’/ activities’ purpose, where relevant.​
  • Use iterative approaches where possible, to make use of learnings within a project.​

In practice


  • Start evaluation early enough to capture baselines – or align with existing data.​


  • Explore why and how things happen, as well as what (which may require more qualitative approaches).​
  • Share results during a project, even where they are more provisional (e.g. due to smaller samples, or only some activity having taken place).​
  • Discuss with the team the desired learning outcomes from the evaluation (what do they want to discover?)​


  • Allow for longer-term follow-up where possible.​

  • Where possible, co-create with representatives of beneficiary groups to determine the evaluation’s purpose, method and interpretation.​
  • Ensure that evaluation seeks out and engages with a diverse range of perspectives, experiences and opinions – especially from groups which have traditionally been marginalised.​
  • Enable beneficiaries’ self-defined interests to inform development of future cultural activity.​


In practice


  • Consider using approaches where participants can respond to evaluation findings/ interpretation.​
  • Make sure you know the profile of who the activity is intended to reach, and check that marginalised groups aren’t under-represented in activity or evaluation responses (and that their contributions aren’t restricted to being in relation to their membership of that group)​
  • Seek out direct responses in preference to people ‘representing’ others’ views.​


  • Use feedback from participants to shape the priorities of funding programmes.


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