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Applying the Principles in context

In this step you will hear how four different cultural practitioners applied the Evaluation Principles to their own work within the cultural sector.

As we explored in earlier steps, the Principles are not designed to be a strict, step-by-step guide to doing evaluation properly. Instead, they represent a set of flexible guidelines in which you can ground your own practice more effectively. 

In this step you will hear how four different cultural practitioners applied the Evaluation Principles to their own work within the cultural sector, providing examples of how they can be grounded in different contexts.

Considering your own evaluation practice

Before you listen to the interviews below, you might find it helpful to briefly consider how you relate to your own evaluation practice. As each of the practitioners below will explore, evaluation can take many forms: it is not just those taking part in formal evaluation activity – such as consultants – who play a key role. 

When we consider our own evaluation practice, it is often deeply connected to and informed by the many ways through which we articulate and communicate the value of what we do.

While this can involve conducting research into participants’ experiences, analysing data and writing an evaluation report on a particular project, or organisational annual review, the Evaluation Principles can also be applied, for example, to how we set out the objectives of our projects in funding bids, how we communicate through marketing and communications activity, and the feedback mechanisms we set in place for those who engage with us on a day-to-day basis, including our own colleagues and staff teams. 

The interviews below will help you to consider and reflect on how evaluation activity impacts your practice across and within the specific contexts of your own work.

Listen to the interviews 

In the following four interviews, you will hear from different cultural practitioners describing how they apply the Evaluation Principles to their practice.

Stephen Welsh

Stephen Welsh

Stephen is a freelance cultural practitioner specialising in co-creation. In this interview he talks about the vital role that robust and connected evaluation plays in developing more democratic, equitable and inclusive approaches to working with underserved and underrepresented communities. Find out more about Stephen’s work on his website

Click on the link to Listen to Stephen Welsh discussing about robust and connected evaluation.

Transcript – Stephen Welsh.

Suzanne Gorman

Suzanne Gorman

Suzanne is Artistic Director of Maya Productions, a company making diverse theatre to create change. In this extract from the Evaluation Principles in Practice workshop series, Suzanne considers the challenges of ensuring that evaluation practice remains beneficial to realising the aims and ambitions of a small performing arts organisation and how learning is embedded in all areas of their work. Find out more about Suzanne’s work on the Maya Productions website.

Click on the link to Listen to Suzanne Gorman discussing about beneficial evaluation practice.

Transcript – Suzanne Gorman.

Morvern Cunningham

Morvern Cunningham

In this extract of the Centre for Cultural Value podcast on evaluation, Morvern talks about their experience as a freelance creative working with Culture Collective, the Creative Community Hubs Network project and as a FailSpace champion. You’ll hear their thoughts on ways we can take a people-centred and empathetic approach in both our evaluation and creative practice, especially when working in and with communities. You can read Morvern’s report ‘Working Better Together’, on the Whale Arts website and find out more about their work with Culture Collective here.

Click on the link to Listen to Morvern Cunningham discussing about people-centred evaluation practice.

Transcript – Morvern Cunningham.

Jess Bunyan and Euella Jackson

Jess Bunyan and Euella Jackson

Rising Arts Agency is a community and not-for-profit (CIC) creative agency based in Bristol, led by young underrepresented creative thinkers aged 18-30. In this extract from the Centre for Cultural Value podcast on evaluation, co-directors Jess Bunyan and Euella Jackson reflect on their socially-engaged evaluation practice, and how we can develop a proportionate and open-minded evaluation approach that leads to meaningful sector change. You can read more about Rising Arts Agency’s work on their website.

Click on the link to Listen to Rising Arts Agency discussing about socially-engaged and proportionate evaluation practice.

Transcript – Jess Bunyan and Euella Jackson.

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Time to reflect

  • Listening to those interviews, did any of the areas where practitioners currently apply the principles to their practice resonate with you? 
  • Are there any particular barriers they identified that you have encountered in your own work? 
  • What advice did you find particularly helpful? 
Feel free to listen back to any of the interviews again and make some notes in your workbook.
Share some of the key learning points you have experienced from these interviews with other learners in the Comments section.
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Evaluation for Arts, Culture, and Heritage: Principles and Practice

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