A Holistic Framework for Evaluation of Arts Engagement

  • Kim Dunphy
Part of the New Directions in Cultural Policy Research book series (NDCPR)


The emerging professional field of cultural development — that is, funded cultural activity led by individual artists, arts organisations and government — is increasingly undertaken to contribute to community wellbeing. Arts engagement, both receptive (in which participants receive the artistic process as audiences or consumers) and creative (in which participants actively make art), is a major aspect of this work. Host organisations and funders are progressively more concerned to understand the impact of this work they lead or support. Yet, arts leaders and those who manage their programmes experience a range of challenges in elucidating outcomes of this work comprehensively and with clarity. These challenges include the fact that outcomes are often categorised as either intrinsic or instrumental, with intrinsic outcomes frequently seen as problematic because they are considered immeasurable. Evaluation approaches largely focus on either social or economic outcomes (often identified as instrumental outcomes), rather than taking a more holistic perspective, in which all aspects of human experience and the natural world are considered equally important and inter-connected. Assessments of outcomes most often involve assumptions that activity is beneficial, with little regard given to the possibility of neutral or negative outcomes, or the proportion of benefit to costs. The perspectives of different stakeholders are frequently not reflected in the evaluation process.


Civic Engagement Personal Wellbeing Community Wellbeing Cultural Domain Holistic Framework 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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© Kim Dunphy 2015

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  • Kim Dunphy

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