April 20th Evaluation Café: What can the arts offer?

Thursday April 20, 2017 • 7-9pm @10Carden

Evaluators often seek to understand the experiences of others. Using conventional, measurement-based tools when attempting to uncover certain kinds of experiences can leave evaluators with an incomplete story. What other tools exist that can encourage greater engagement within the evaluation process and a more full representation of experience?

An arts-based evaluation approach can be a useful strategy for building relationships, collecting data and investigating change. With applications in the fields of health care, justice, youth and social work, arts-based approaches emphasize the use of creative tasks that are designed to generate conversation and reflection. They facilitate access to different qualities of communication, often because participants enjoy the process and are imaginatively inspired to contribute.

There are numerous arts-practices, models and frameworks to draw from; in this session the focus will be on physical communication and the use of movement and theatre traditions. As a group, we will develop skill and capacity for physical expression, apply those skills in a context relevant to evaluation, and debrief the experience together, examining how, when, why and with whom this kind of approach might be used.

  • Can you think of an evaluation context/project where this approach might have been useful? Why? What barriers may have existed?
  • Can arts-based approaches help us to address the (often under-discussed) emotional aspects of evaluation (e.g. hiding, resistance to failure, fear of criticism)? Is this useful/important?
  • What ethical awareness is important in using arts-based tools? When is collaboration with arts practitioners necessary?
  • How are these approaches useful in a context of professional development for evaluators?

Georgia Simms is currently the Practitioner-in-Residence with the Community Engaged Scholarship Institute at the University of Guelph. She completed her Master’s thesis in environmental governance while also working as professional dancer and expanding her practice as a movement educator. Aspects of her artistic practice, including choreography and improvisation, directly inform and influence her current activities, which include the development of arts-based research methods, creative facilitation training and process design consultation.

RSVP: If you’re able to attend, please register through Eventbrite

Location: 10 Carden, Heritage Room

2 thoughts on “April 20th Evaluation Café: What can the arts offer?

  1. SANDRA PITTS says:

    Hi all,This sounds like a great topic but unfortunately I have another commitment that night. Will there be any notes, etc. from the presentation?Thanks,Sandra Pitts

    • guelphevaluation says:

      Hi Sandra,

      No notes, it’s an experiential and discussion-based session.
      But if a blog post or anything results, we’ll let you know!

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