Category: Upcoming Virtual Study Groups

News and updates about future Virtual Study Groups, online gatherings to learn and talk together about emerging issues in cultural research.

Theory of change for arts organisations: how a theory of change approach can help improve practice and advance outcomes

Wednesday, February 15, 2018, USA;  Time: 1-2.30pm PT (4-5.30pm ET); 9-10.30pm London,  

Thursday, February 16, Australia, 8-9:30am (east coast)

Audience: institution-based and consultant researchers, funders and arts organizations who wish to understand more about how theory of change might be utilized by them.


Theory of change (ToC) is a process that articulates how and why a desired change is expected to happen in a particular context. It is part of a family of program theories that include intervention logic, logic model, program logic and theory based evaluation. The idea originated in the field of evaluation in response to the challenge of understanding causal factors that lead to desired community change. Theories of change are increasingly being required by funders and decision-makers in fields outside the arts, to support program developers and managers to be clear what they are doing and why. This type of thinking is less prevalent in the arts, as yet, with arts organizations not yet understanding the relevance of ToC to their activities, nor having impetus or skills to develop theories of change. Yet many arts organizations and practitioners pitch for funding of public resources on the basis of change that they seek to instigate or support.

This session discusses the contribution of theory of change approaches in the arts and cultural development, in a lively conversation between two researchers working as consultants in different countries and contexts.

Presenters will draw from their experiences using theory of change as researchers and advisors to cultural organizations, to offer participants skills, knowledge and insights about theory of change in this field.


Presenters: Ian David Moss,  Washington DC, USA; Dr. Kim Dunphy, Research Consultant, Cultural Development Network, Melbourne, Australia.