First thoughts on the literature review

The literature review currently explores two overarching questions which concern the UK arts and cultural sector: how do UK cultural organisations, their audiences, funders and peers define the measures for ‘quality’, ‘value’ and ‘success’ in the context of arts experiences? And, in which way do art organisations employ data-driven decision making to reflect on and implement these metrics within strategic management? 

Whilst quantifiable measures and indicators have become increasingly common in the arts and cultural sector of the UK over the past decade, their use has been criticised as the promotion of dualism and a market-driven economy which is unrepresentative of the complexity of arts experiences and their potential benefits to audiences and participants. Quantifying the effects of the arts is not a simple matter and the lack of bespoke, standardised metrics for quality which works cross-sector is understood to be detrimental to the sector as a whole. The problem of quality measures for the arts has previously been addressed by imposing other forms of alternative metrics to measure impact, for example, in the areas of performance studies, Sociology and Leisure Studies and education. There is a range of so-called intrinsic or individual benefits associated with arts experiences, both public and private, including increased civic pride, improved self-efficacy, learning skills and health, increased socialization and ‘learning new things. 

In order to understand these effects further qualitative approaches have explored audience responses to theatre, revealing visual and oral evidence of pleasure and captivation, a growth in communal feeling, emotional growth and personal resonance. In addition, both qualitative and quantitative research and evaluation of these individual benefits have recently been reviewed in an attempt to develop frameworks of measures which can be applied by arts organisations and pilot work has been carried out to test standardised metrics for use in self-evaluation as well as advocacy, public value statements and investment decision-making. Furthermore, the case has recently been made for an increased use of big data as part of an informed decision making process as part of advertising, user engagement and revenue measure. 

The ongoing literature review will continue to explore the above topics.