Over the last few months, it’s begun to feel like the principle of care has taken a back seat when it comes to monitoring, evaluation, or research (MER) in the cultural sector. In this long-read blog article, I’d like to reflect on how we can take more care in gathering the data we either need (or are expected to collect) from our audiences.Read More
The first time I realised something wasn’t right was when I started forgetting things. Everyone who knows me will tell you I’m a stickler for organisation, lists, planning. On the ball. I used to hold a lot of information in my head – but suddenly started to find that I couldn’t remember basic things, like what I’d spoken to a client about an hour before. Or what I’d agreed to do for a piece of work. Juggling five or six client projects at once was never an issue, but it was clearly becoming one. Next came the brain fog. I found myself losing my train of thought part-way through running a focus group, doing a presentation, or delivering a training session. Not ideal. Gradually, I started wondering whether I was starting with early onset dementia. Something I say with knowledge, rather than flippantly: we lost my stepdad to mixed dementia in 2021.
Some of you may know that in recent years – alongside my consultancy – I’ve been working as a professional photographer. In that role, I’m now certified as a Climate Aware Photographer after completing Carbon Literacy Training with Redeye. The course is externally accredited by the Carbon Literacy Trust who have confirmed that I meet all of the requirements of the Carbon Literacy Standard and am regarded as Carbon Literate.
I’m bringing my learning from that experience directly into my cultural consultancy business, and will be making some changes to the way I operate as a result.Read More
One of the things that clients with little expertise in evaluation ask me is where to get started in this line of work. They know they should be evaluating their project, programme or whether they’ve achieved they’re organisational goals for the year, but they’re unsure where to begin. Here’s a checklist of questions and signposting links which I wrote for the Engaging Libraries toolkit, with a few additions to bring it up-to-date. These are equally as relevant for other types of cultural organisation.Read More
[10 minute long read]
One of the main questions I get asked when supporting cultural organisations like museums, galleries, archives and libraries is ‘how do I market to schools?’. The nub of this question usually refers to the promotional aspect of the marketing mix rather than anything else: the organisation has already developed a product offer and needs to tell schools about it. But to be successful (whatever that means to you) you have to take a few steps back, return to the definition of marketing and go beyond simply communication.Read More
If you’re used to collecting data for evaluation face to face, the last year has probably come as a bit of a shock in terms of how to effectively evaluate public engagement activities that have (unexpectedly, and rather rapidly in many cases) moved online.
And if we’re putting down our survey clipboards, abandoning our feedback walls, and mothballing our mood trees – what do we use instead?Read More
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