Measurable outcomes of cultural engagement in the social domain

This page offers a schema of measurable outcomes of cultural engagement in the social domain. It should be read in conjunction with the pages on measurable outcomes in the cultural, economic, governance and environmental domains. The social domain is where we measure the difference to the health, wellbeing, safety and inclusiveness of a community that occurs through cultural engagement. While participation is often measured as it if were the endpoint, in this schema we consider participation or engagement in the arts as a process, or output, towards the desired endpoint of healthy, safe and inclusive communities.

We define healthy, safe and inclusive communities as those in which people have good physical and mental health, feel a sense of safety and security and equality of opportunity and recognition from valued others. Where there is good social cohesion, with bonding social capital (ties between people in similar situations, such as immediate family, close friends and neighbours); bridging social capital (more distant ties of like persons, such as loose friendships and workmates); and linking social capital (reaches out to unlike people in dissimilar situations, such as those who are entirely outside of the community, thus enabling members to leverage a far wider range of resources than are available in the community) (Woolcock 2001, 13-4).

Perceptions by community members of equitable opportunity is a planning consideration.

These outcomes are currently in draft form and are being refined as we examine more theory and research and consult social policy experts. In the meantime, we recommend that those seeking to evaluate the social outcomes of their cultural activities use measures from their own organisation’s strategic documents or requirements of funding agencies.

The outcomes are:

1. Good physical and mental health stimulated
2. Sense of safety and security increased
3. Social connectedness enhanced
4. Social differences bridged
5. Recognition from valued others experienced