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The Logic of Evaluation in the Arts: Exploring artists’ responses to measurement within a publicly funded arts organisation

Melville, Ruth (2017) The Logic of Evaluation in the Arts: Exploring artists’ responses to measurement within a publicly funded arts organisation. PhD thesis, University of Essex.

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Measurement and evaluation in the publicly funded arts sector is a contested area. On the one hand measurement is constantly demanded by funders to justify the value of art projects, on the other hand, there is a lack of consensus on how it should be done and whether effective evaluation is even possible in the arts. In this context, there is widespread resistance to practices of evaluation within the sector. Previous Cultural Policy research has focussed on what cultural value is, and whether it is desirable, or even possible, to measure value at all in the arts. In contrast, there is relatively little research into the experience of those at the heart of the measurement: the arts practitioners working in settings where evaluation is required and how evaluation regimes affect their practices. There is a similar lack of research into the role of the organisation as an intermediary within the interpretation of value and measurement. Using a longitudinal, ethnographic case study research, the thesis examines how artists and other workers in a cultural organization, respond to expectations of evaluation and shape their practices as a result of those expectations. The thesis adapts the institutional logics perspective frame, creating a sector specific frame to explore how logics of the family, state, corporation, community, religion, profession and market all operate within evaluation. Seen through this lens, the artists’ responses to evaluation are shown to be a response to intersecting and clashing logics. This approach gives a richer understanding of artists’ responses, and also offers a new frame for considering other challenges within the sector. Using this understanding, I develop an alternative approach to arts evaluation, based on evaluation as a practice, not an output, and taking into account the multiple logics in action and arising from artists’ own valuation practices.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Uncontrolled Keywords: arts socially engaged evaluation logics measurement
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor > HD58.7 Organizational behavior, change and effectiveness. Corporate culture
Divisions: Faculty of Social Sciences > Essex Business School > Centre for Work, Organisation and Society
Depositing User: Ruth Melville
Date Deposited: 06 Jul 2018 08:29
Last Modified: 06 Jul 2018 08:31

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