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Qualitative Impact: Research, Measurement and Reporting

November 20, 2017

In October, the Research Evaluation and Performance Measurement Section (REPM) has begun working with WolfBrown  (http://wolfbrown.com/) and a team of experts to design a framework for defining, understanding and measuring qualitative, intrinsic impact for the Council, for the arts sector, and everyday Canadians. The team is always looking for ways to demonstrate and articulate the many ways that Canadians enjoy and are enriched by the broad spectrum of artistic experiences offered by Canada Council-funded artists and arts organizations.

This evidence-based research will explore models for deepening the understanding of the intrinsic impacts of the arts experience, thus enabling a richer conversation about impacts across the arts sector. This work also helps distinguish between instrumental outcomes – (‘arts in the service of’... social or economic purpose – e.g. better learning, civic pride, etc.) and intrinsic outcomes – (the subjective and experiential – e.g. aesthetic growth, intellectual stimulation, etc.) for the individual, for the community and for society.

The research will also attempt to clarify where the Canada Council’s own outcomes both overlap and diverge from those of the artists we fund. Articulating impacts for all will provide evidence for outcomes-based programs – such as those in the New Funding Model. This evidence substantiates the investment and trust that the Government of Canada places in the Canada Council for the Arts.

The work will take place over the next 18 months. It involves examining and evaluating impact frameworks to inform the Canada Council’s. Then there will be sector consultations and, finally, tools will be designed to measure and demonstrate findings in an ongoing manner. Future phases may look at how to implement these tools, in collaboration with the arts community.