EVALUATION IN ACTION! Series

Arts practitioners want to know:  What difference are we making? What can we do better to effect the social outcomes we want to achieve? How can we tell our story better? What information will be most powerful? Answering these questions yields: More impactful work and more effective ways of working!  Recognition, resources, opportunity!  Seeing work in context of a field and body of research to make connections with others!  Deepened knowledge, theory and practice about the work!

EVALUATION IN ACTION! webinars hone in on common evaluation challenges artists, arts organizations, and their community partners face.  This webinar is one of four offered by Animating Democracy and co-presented by M. Christine Dwyer of RMC Research with guest arts practitioners and evaluators.  Each offers specific stories, techniques or tools, along with conceptual frameworks to guide thinking and design.  The goal of the series is to sharpen evaluative thinking and build confidence and can-do capacity in evaluation methods that produce meaningful, useful information!

EVALUATION IN ACTION! is supported by the Nathan Cummings, Lambent, and Open Societies Foundations.




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EVALUATION IN ACTION! Linking Your Work to Outcomes (March 28, 2013)
While arts practitioners may never conduct scientific-level evaluations, most do want to understand the links between program activities and outcomes in order to tell powerful stories of impact. Learn some ways that you can connect the dots between arts endeavors and social outcomes through the experiences of Art At Work (AAW), a program in the City of Portland, ME with the ambitious goal of improving municipal government through strategic arts projects with municipal employees, elected officials, and local artists. Art At Work's evaluation story is grounded in the need to make the case for the value of arts toward improving municipal government at a systemic level, including outcomes related to behavior, attitudes, and policy change. This webinar will help you understand: how to develop an evaluation plan based on indicators of importance to different stakeholders, how to organize and make use of multiple sources and types of data; and how to gather key informants' and direct participants' perspectives to help substantiate links between your creative efforts and outcomes.

Presented by: M. Christine Dwyer, RMC Research; Marty Pottenger, Art At Work


EVALUATION IN ACTION! Credible Qualitative Design & Analysis (April 18, 2013)
Anecdotes and qualitative evidence are critical to communicating the transformative effects of arts and culture and giving a full sense of impact of arts for change work. Learn how to collect and analyze qualitative data that's credible. Qualitative information is important for indicating changes in awareness, attitudes, the content and tenor of public dialogue, and in describing the role, nature, and efficacy of aesthetic activity. But it is often considered "soft" evidence. Through multiple evaluation stories by arts practitioners that touch on ethnographic and other qualitative approaches, this webinar illuminates principles to support systematic planning for, and collection and analysis of qualitative data so that findings hold water. You'll learn how to select and prepare credible evaluators and/or observers, methods to summarize and analyze qualitative data such as interview and focus group documentation, dialogue and meeting notes, and dialogues; and how to combine qualitative and quantitative information to communicate concise and compelling results.

Presented By: M. Christine Dwyer, RMC Research and Amy Kitchener, Executive Director Alliance for California Traditional Arts


EVALUATION IN ACTION! Meaningful Numbers! (May 23, 2013)
Sometimes numbers convey meaning better than words. Learn what you can and should quantify! Numbers have meaning when they relate to a clear theory of action and when they can be compared to something else. This webinar features the story of Detroit's Mosaic Youth Theatre and a study by the University of Michigan that assessed the effects of Mosaic's model for positive youth development, including individual and social outcomes such as community involvement and increased social capital. Drawing on Mosaic's experience as well as others, you will learn about selecting a sample for data collection, constructing credible surveys related to attitude change, making comparative analyses, and what constitute credible response rates. You'll also get tips on what to do if numbers are small and see examples of compelling data visualization.

Presented by: M. Christine Dwyer, RMC Research and Rick Sperling, Mosaic Youth Theatre and Lorraine Gutierrez, University of Michigan


EVALUATION IN ACTION! Understanding Long-term & Cumulative Effects (June 27, 2013)
What difference can 150 artists' projects make for businesses and neighborhoods during a big community disruption? And, how can we identify, substantiate and illuminate that value? This webinar offers strategies to gauge cumulative and longer-term social effects of creative work. Learn ways to track and report the impact of small and multiple projects that add up to real change. Laura Zabel will share how conscientious documentation, media tracking and analysis and network mapping are helping to measure impact and tell the story of Springboard for the Arts' Irrigate initiative along a light rail construction corridor. With some grounding in evaluative thinking and theory, learn how these and other approaches can help capture impact over time. We'll also look back at the Dance Exchange's Shipyard Project in Portsmouth, NH to see how creative work can create conditions that make other outcomes possible. What does looking back after three, five or 15 years teach us about tracking project outcomes now?

Presented by: M. Christine Dwyer, RMC Research; Laura Zabel, Springboard for the Arts




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