Research & Evaluation

Research and evaluation are key elements in a learning culture, and therefore part of the Thinking Practice offer. Mark is confident with numbers and stories, and thinks the cultural sector needs both in evaluating its work.

Mark’s ability to synthesise disparate sources into short, sharp, fresh thinking can be seen in publications such as Faster But Slower, Slower But Faster, a summary of over 75 documents relating to the Creative People & Places programme. Mark also relishes the challenge of presenting findings in stimulating ways. Faster But Slower, Slower But Faste, may not be the best report on arts engagement, but it’s probably the only one structured around the sonnet and 3 act forms, with a sonnet for an executive summary.

Mark has worked on large-scale project evaluations combining qualitative information with quantitative data. Mark sees the evaluation of a project as an opportunity for collective learning of all involved, not just the deliverers or commissioners of a project, so often brings people together for evaluation workshops. He has recently been working increasingly with adaptations of the Most Significant Change method, as a way of encouraging more participatory evaluations. This began through collaboration with Imogen Blood and Lorna Easterbrook, and has now being used on work with ARC and the Tees Valley Great Places programme.

Mark is currently working on the evaluation of the next phases of the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation’s Inquiry Into the Civic Role of Arts Organisations, as well as (with Imogen Blood and Lorna Easterbrook) Arts Council England/Baring Foundations’s Celebrating Age programme and Nominet Trust/Baring Foundations’ Digital Aging and Creative Arts programmes.