How do you know if your project has led to change?
In an impact evaluation you look to see if:
The project has the qualities of arts activities which are known to contribute to social impact
The participants have experienced change in their skills and knowledge, emotions, attitudes and behaviours which are known determinants of social impact
Arts activities known to contribute to social impact have the following qualities:
The arts experience should engage people on cognitive, behavioural and emotional levels:
The project should also contribute to the determinants of individual, community and social change:
How do you measure whether your arts activity has these qualities and contributes to the known determinants of change? You evaluate!
You need to develop an evaluation ‘framework’ for each of your target groups (the people you want to experience change). These could include:
participants in the project
audience or visitors to the project
donors and funders
community members, local business owners
the general public
Below is an example of an evaluation impact framework for participants in a project. Note that for every group, you must evaluate the arts experience because, as we said above, that is at the heart of any impact.
The example below just shows some of the types of impacts your project might aim for. If you can, you should talk to your participants or audience members and use their language and ideas to inform your framework.
As you go along with the project you might change this framework because you find out you are having different impacts to the ones you expected. That’s OK - an evaluation is not an exam that you get wrong or right! It’s a process for understanding and measuring the change your project might have.