Skills: HEAR, Better business

Contribution of culture to local regeneration

In 2002, Arts Council England East launched a ground breaking three year programme to explore the value of an arts-led approach to economic, environmental and social regeneration. The programme was delivered in five areas across the East of England each facing distinct regeneration challenges and each requiring a unique creative approach.

Our challenge was to develop mechanism to capture the evidence which would show how a cultural-led approach can contribute to the regeneration of communities and economies. It would need to work effectively across a range of very different projects with distinct local objectives.

Cultural Intelligence proposed a ‘theory-based’ approach to evaluation developing an overarching evaluation framework which was then integrated with and delivered through local project evaluations. We also developed and delivered evaluation training and support to a team of local project evaluators over the three year fieldwork period.¬†Eighteen groups were conducted

The evaluation framework developed by Steve Harris and Eric Orme was very successful in delivering a good fit with the needs of individual arts-led projects including participatory and presentation-based contexts. Our work showed that from an investment of £2.1m the programme levered a further £2.6m of investment. More than 120 creative businesses were supported directly though increased access to the market place. Total audience numbers for public performances and exhibitions, including public art, were 420,000, whilst the programme delivered a total of 1,186 creative practitioner sessions attracting a total of 5,850 active participants.

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