What is a high quality cultural experience? How can cultural organisations best measure the quality of what they do? How can these insights enrich conversations with artists, audiences and supporters?


These are the questions at the heart of the whole Quality Metrics approach. Trying to answer them has meant giving the cultural sector the lead role in defining the metrics they think can best capture the quality of cultural experiences, and then working with them to see whether the quality metrics generate data that is credible and insightful. We are now doing that at scale with the 150 participating NPOs and MPMs.


The vital litmus test here, being explored by this National Test phase, is whether the quality metrics’ data nudges cultural organisations towards productive, data informed, self-reflection on their creative practices.


Amidst all the language of big data, standardised metrics, and triangulation that comes with the value measurement territory, it is easy to lose sight that this self-reflection process is where the transformative energy lies in conversations about valuing culture.  With cultural organisations using the quality metrics data to explore whether they are consistently meeting their creative intentions, and deepening their understanding of how distinct audiences respond to different types of work.  The opportunity is to support the cultural sector to move the conversation about data and value out of narrow ‘advocacy’ and ‘audit’ boxes, and into the creative and commercial lifeblood of their organisations. http://artsdigitalrnd.org.uk/features/data-at-the-deep-end/


The quality metrics, and the resulting data, are aiming to be the means to this bigger end – ideally with a strong community dimension with the use of standardised quality dimensions encouraging a sector-wide exchange of shared insights and interpretations.


The cultural organisations taking part in this National Test phase are going to be triggered to reflect, share and comment on the impact of the quality metrics on their internal conversations about creative practice, intention and the value of what they do. It’s going to be fascinating hearing about their experiences, and sharing them here.