Kim Dunphy

Cultural Development Network, Deakin University

Kim DunphyKim Dunphy is completing her PhD in the School of International and Community Development at Deakin University where she is investigating the role of participatory arts in social change in East Timor.  Kim is employed as Program Manager of the Cultural Development Network, Victoria, Australia where she works to promote and support the cultural vitality of communities across the state. Kim is also Director of international NGO Many Hands International, that promotes cultural-assets based community development especially in rural communities throughout Timor.  Her research interests focus on understanding and measuring change intended and sought through the arts.

A pictorial model of evaluation for arts engagement

ROI (Return on Investment) is an increasing consideration by government and other funders for activities that they support, including the arts.  This is important to ensure best use of limited public resources.  However, one of the challenges with this approach is that if ROI is considered only with regard to economic outcomes, much of the benefit of arts engagement can be missed. The same is true of arts initiatives that prioritise only the social outcomes through activities that seek to address social inclusion and well-being concerns.

This paper presents a model of evaluation for arts engagement that uses a multi-dimensional approach, drawing on Hawkes’ ideas about the four pillars of sustainability, cultural vitality, social equity, environmental sustainability and economic viability, that should be considered for every public intervention.  It also discusses a further dimension, of pleasure, which is one of the strongest motivations for human beings, yet is not reflected in policy considerations.  By providing a comprehensive approach to categorization of outcomes, and thereby reducing the need for the problematic categories of intrinsic and instrumental, this model is intended to assist arts researchers develop stronger data.

The model provides a pictorial representation of outcomes of arts engagement.  It addresses one of the challenges of qualitative researchers who amass large amounts of complex data and yet often need to present easily digestible results for policy and decision makers.  The model includes the different perspectives of the various levels of stakeholders engaged in every activity; such as participants, artistic leaders, host organizations, funders, audience members and the wider community.  It also allows for representation of positive and negative outcomes and enables comparison between what was planned and what actually occurred. The model is illustrated by a case example of a youth theatre project from the presenter’s research into participatory arts in Timor-Leste.

Download presentation



Kitka Web Design