Arts Impact Wales: A call out for help from the community arts sector

Date: 10/10/2016 | Category: News

Artis Community needs help from community arts organisations and experienced community arts practitioners.

Artis Community, in partnership with Artworks Cymru, has been awarded second stage funding by Nesta and the Arts Council of Wales, to undertake detailed R&D to test the concept of building a shared data platform that records the social impact of arts projects across Wales.

Artis Community are spearheading this project as we believe community and participatory arts organisations need to continue to diversify their funding from non-arts based commissioning organisations and to do this effectively Artis Community believes the sector needs better evidence and greater levels of shared evidence.  They will also work with partners from local and national government and health boards to ensure the test platform is beneficial for commissioning agencies and policy makers too.

Artis Community have already run two briefing sessions / workshops for Artworks Cymru members to explain their project and get initial feedback about needs and usability of the portal. That feedback has already been incorporated into the software development. The next stages will involve more detailed engagement with the community arts sector across Wales.

UI Testing Group

Artis Community are looking for about 6 community arts organisations or practitioners to join their User Interface (UI) testing group. Joining this group would involve attending 2 workshop days, between now and December, to test the software and also sharing some of your past project social outcome data, e.g. reports of how participants benefited from taking part in arts projects such as securing jobs or further training or improvements in health and wellbeing. Artis Community only need anonymous data. During the 2 workshop days the UI testing group will add their data to the test portal and then seek to report and query the portal to demonstrate how the portal might be used by the sector in the long-term.  Please contact Rhian Hutchings on  if you can volunteer your organisation to join the UI testing group. Deadline for expressions of interest is Monday 31st October 2016.

Online survey

At the same time Artworks Cymru will be running an online survey to find out the diversity of social impacts and outcomes which the community arts sector currently aims to achieve in transforming both the lives of individuals and their communities. The survey will also ask community arts companies how you might use the data - if the portal is built - and whether your organisation is happy to share its data/ social outcomes from arts projects.  Feedback from the sector is vital in trying to build a portal that is usable and flexible enough for any arts organisation to join in.

Other partners

Rebecca Sarasin, Knowledge and Analytical Services, Welsh Government  (author of Fusion Programme -Tackling Poverty Through Culture - pilot report) stated,

“Yes having more robust data on the social and other outcomes of arts and cultural activities (and one place where such data could be accessed) would be very useful for policy development purposes for us as well as lots of other partners. As we discussed, for various reasons….. we have found a lack of robust evidence … around the impact of cultural activities in Wales.”

Artis Community are building an impressive range of public and voluntary sector partners who are also helping to shape and test the portal so that it can help them better commission arts projects and better develop public policy. To date the Welsh Government, Aneurin Bevan University Health Board, Rhondda Cynon Taf Council and the Office of National Statistics are confirmed partners. Artis Community are hoping the DWP, other health boards and Public Health Wales will soon also join; with their most recent new partner being the Alliance for Useful Evidence. These non-arts partners will also form a UI testing group for the project.

By February 2017 Artis Community hope to have successfully built a test portal and will advertise nearer that time how you can attend an end of project sharing event.

More information about this project and others in the digital innovation fund for the arts can be seen here

A short video of the project is here

Richie Turner, Project Manager