Measuring quality

On November 30, 2016, the Cultural Research Network hosted a virtual study group to explore a new research method that seeks to help artists, arts organizations and funders to develop a shared approach to evaluating the reception of their work.

The session comprised a short presentation from an independent researcher who has worked with the Culture Counts Quality Metrics system in the UK: Catherine Bunting.

This was followed by a panel discussion with Catherine and Dr. Abigail Gilmore (University of Manchester, UK), featuring contributions from around the world, with Alan Brown (WolfBrown: USA) and Kim Dunphy (University of Melbourne/Cultural Development Network: Australia). We were able to feed questions and observations from attendees into the discussion.

The VSG was hosted by James Doeser, CRN Committee Member.

The concept of quality measurement has attracted a great deal of controversy, from the arts community as well as researchers. The purpose of the VSG was to demystify this particular approach, and to interrogate the policy, theory and methods that underpin it.

The following readings were distributed to study group registrants to get them up to speed on the issues at hand:

  • Quality Metrics on the Arts Council England website:
  • An explanation of its application in Scotland:
  • An arts correspondent’s take on the controversy it’s generated