The Arts Council has committed to improving the way we measure and evaluate the outcomes and impacts of our work in our organisation strategy, Making Great Art Work (PDF, 3.29 MB). We believe that measurement and evaluation is at its most powerful when it is used for learning and continuous improvement. By constantly analysing what is working well and, its converse, what is not working well, the Arts Council can better lead the development of the arts in Ireland.
How does the Arts Council use data and evidence?
We gather data and evidence from artists and arts organisations, commission research, and also make use of publicly available data such as the census. This allows the Arts Council to:
- Be transparent about the link between policy priorities, funding decisions, activity reporting and demonstration of results
- Build tools for artists and arts organisations based on data and evidence to help them with their work
- Share knowledge about the impact of the arts with government and other partners to inform national policy-making
- Better equip ourselves, the arts sector, and government to plan for the future and respond to change by providing insights into existing knowledge (e.g. arts practice, the economy, shifts in demographics or technology)
For the Arts Council, measurement and evaluation includes both quantitative and qualitative information.
- Quantitative information is numerical: it comprises data that can be counted or otherwise expressed in numbers. It responds well to questions of ‘how many’, ‘how much’, ‘how often’ and ‘how long’. This may be data the Arts Council has gathered or may be publicly available data such as the census.
- Qualitative information is textual or expressed in other forms such as images or sound (if gathered in sufficient quantity, it can also be assigned numeric values). Qualitative data respond well to questions such as ‘how’ and ‘why’.
Data gathering and insights