Five a week 4: Some Things to Read and Think About

Sometimes, in the arguments about the squeezing of arts out of the curriculum, arts folk can slip into suggesting things like science and maths are not creative, even they don’t help people ‘be fully human’ in the way Shakespeare apparently does. This drives me slightly mad. An example of why is here. Thelonius Monk is quoted as saying, ‘All musicians are subconsciously mathematicians’ and who are we to argue with him?

This is a useful compendium of data portals put together by James Doeser as part of project working towards a cultural data portal for the UK. This would be really useful for the likes of me. And maybe you.

This is an interesting example of how to share data in an attractive and useful way, from an adjacent, occasionally overlapping sector,
in digital tech. As well as UK level stats, there are also city studies. The one for Middlesbrough suggests, for example, nearly 7000 jobs in digital. 

‘What do you expect to happen and see if you do x/spend y, and why?’ can be very useful questions for people to dig into. I work with
Theory of Change fairly regularly, and with Logic Models, although it’s not something I always look to do: it depends on the project and the context. Equally, like all tools, ToCs have their limitations and their potential deceptions. Some of these are well set out in this article. It seems to come back to the common issue of measurement coming to dominate strategy or actual benefit, or even shape them. Although the idea of tracking ‘indicators’ is really useful, these are perhaps most useful when varied in type – ie not all indicators of success, but also of issues, theories that run counter to your own etc.

This is a short article I wrote about working with bait, the Creative People & Places programme for South East Northumberland on their theory of change.