Confronting perspectives on evaluation – beyond funding
This Experts’ Group meeting on 12 December in Brussels brought together academics, researchers, consultants, European Networks funded by the Creative Europe programme and Project Leaders of Creative Europe, Erasmus + and Horizon 2020 projects. It built on the progress achieved from previous meetings in Brussels, Potsdam, Manchester, Antwerp, Maastricht, Zagreb, and Lucca.
The ENCATC working group on evaluation of transnational cultural projects invited researchers, trainers, Projects Leaders of Creative Europe cooperations and networks, cultural managers, policies makers and officers from European Commission to confront their views and perspectives on evaluation. After previous working sessions on different topics since 2016 (audiences, events, festivals, networks, evaluation methodology, education) in Brussels, Potsdam, Manchester, Antwerp, Maastricht, Zagreb and Lucca, the working group discusses to identify consensus and dissensus, common objectives and values and fundamental differences on evaluation expectations and practices from three different perspectives: practitioners, public funders and academics.
The morning programme included a lively session with representatives from Creative Europe, Arnaud Pasquali and Fiona Deuss-Frandi as well as Creative Europe Desk Vlaandren representative, Gudrun Heymans. They provided insight into the EU's expectations on the evaluation work done on Creative Europe projects and took questions and evaluation policy recommendations from the audience.
It is important for European cultural projects to have mechanisms for implementing good evaluation practice, investigating impacts, and using storytelling to help communicate evaluation results in a way that is easier for policy makers, funders, target audiences and the greater public to understand and access. A coherence picture of what has been financed with EU funds for culture, its impact, and gathering stories is going to equip EU policy makers with the evidence needed to lobby for future cultural funding. However, it this often this puts project evaluators in the hard position to emphasize the positive and inspiring stories of successful projects without security to share difficulties and failures which are crucial for testing new ideas and improving future project design. This is where cultural networks can play an important role. They can provide the necessary space for exchanges among peers to learn about evaluation practices, innovations and from one another's mistakes.
The afternoon had break-out groups where participants shared issues, methods, indicators and results on evaluation of cooperation projects choosing from the themes of: Impact on audiences and participants; Impact on business models, ecosystems and intersectoral dynamics; and Impact on territories. Participants were encouraged to share case studies, concrete experiences and shared analysis. There was also time to raise common evaluation challenges with leaders in project evaluation design and implementation who shared their expertise and advice.
The Working Group on Evaluation is an initiative of ENCATC. This meeting is hosted by Europa Nostra.
The ENCATC Working Group was created to share evaluation experiences of transnational cultural projects and networks subsidized by EU and improve methodologies as well as to identify rigorous indicators for successful cooperation and share them with EU and international organisations.
Evaluation has become a more and more crucial matter for public authorities and professionals in cultural field. Several ENCATC members are involved in the evaluation of European projects subsidized by Creative Europe, Erasmus+, Horizon 2020 or other transnational programmes of European Commission. They have to develop methodologies to help arts and cultural managers to implement the evaluation process. At the same time, several European networks are looking for best practices on evaluation and monitoring. Upon several occasions they have expressed the need to create a space for exchange and mutual learning. The European Commission is also working on finalising its own evaluation policy for the Creative Europe programme. The feedback from the beneficiaries and cultural experts is very important for the finalisation and validation the EC’s work. All of these factors are contributing reasons for the need of a working group on the evaluation of international and European transnational projects.
On 25 October 2016 in Brussels, ENCATC held the kick-off meeting for its Working Group “Evaluation of International and European Transnational Cultural Projects”. Participants included representatives from the European Commission, national institutions, universities, European networks, cultural institutions, and consultancies from seven countries. The Working Group is led by its chair, Pascale Bonniel Chalier, a member of ENCATC from the University Lyon II in France.
In 2017, ENCATC organised two more meetings:
In 2018, ENCATC organised meetings on:
- 27 April 2018 in Manchester, United Kingdom
- 19 June 2018 in Potsdam, Germany
- 13 November 2018 in Antwerp, Belgium
In 2019, ENCATC organised meetings on: