As part of my secondment to the WMREDI consortium Evaluation Lab, I undertook a rapid review of evaluations and evaluative studies of cultural and heritage sector activity in the West Midlands published in the last three years and the report is now available. My report aims to form a basis for further work in the field and provide an accessible source of information on interventions that have occurred within the region and identify several examples of best practice within evaluation reporting within the sector.
The key findings from the review can be broadly grouped into four themes:
- the role and relevance of culture,
- issues facing the sector,
- value of interventions to arts professionals and organisations, and
- barriers to community engagement.
The studies reviewed include recommendations covering innovation and improvement within the regional sector and beyond, engaging audiences, and the development of accessible resources, which can be seen to have implications across the regional sector.
While the long-term impacts of the programmes evaluated are still to be fully determined – particularly in relation to the economic effects of the pandemic, Brexit – investment in interventions to support the cultural sector are shown to have strong impacts in four areas: Health, Culture, Economy, and Society.
My review provides insights on Heritage and Cultural programmes that could usefully inform policy and strategy development for the sector including recruitment and training policies, as well as further funding applications.
WMREDI is funded by a Research England Development Grant with matched contributions from consortium members.
This blog was written by Jo Mills, Evaluation Analyst, City-REDI / WMREDI, University of Birmingham.
The views expressed in this analysis post are those of the authors and not necessarily those of City-REDI / WMREDI or the University of Birmingham.