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Bruno Catalán

Bruno Catalán is a Chilean arts worker and researcher. He has spent the last ten years straddling the fields of social inclusion, community development and the creative arts.

Workshop 1:
Evaluation as Arts Practice
Bruno Catalán

What is Arts Gen’s evaluation approach? We’re attempting to promote meaningful frameworks of research and evaluation that centres arts practice to support socially engaged projects and learn about them.

Traditionally, evaluation frames are the following:

  • Asks about the effectiveness of a program or project (including art projects): did the project achieve its intended outcomes? How is it working to achieve those outcomes?
  • Relies on ‘measuring’ those changes by gathering ‘data’: quantitative (e.g. surveys) or qualitative (e.g. interviews) and creating indicators.
  • Don ́t necessarily address political and philosophical questions about (cultural) value involved in the process (or takes them for granted).

Arts Gen acknowledges the learning involved in socially engaged art practice as a broader process that involves knowledge-making and sharing. Our evaluation approach is informed by perspectives (e.g. decolonising research) that give space and understand that:

  • Meaning and knowledge-making is not neutral: historically framed from vantage point of predominant (e.g. white, economic) views and values.
  • When we centre our concerns and world views, then we come to know and understand projects (theory/practice) from our own perspectives and for our own purposes.
  • Evaluation it’s more than data: ‘is action, it is process, it is the seeking of meaning in community’.

Why evaluate to k(not) art projects then?

  • Create rather than ‘capture’ cultural/artistic value involved in the journey.
  • Acknowledge that each art project is a source where knowledges are made. Value is also made in the process of asking, looking, reflecting on the process.
  • This knowledge feeds into present and future Arts Gen socially engaged art projects.

K(not) evaluation = an invitation to reflect on the process and/or outcome of your project creatively.

You setting the terms of the process: what are your evaluation questions?

What would you like to learn (therefore, look, and document) about your project’s development, process, outcomes, reception, etc.?

Some prompts/questions to think around it:

What is (or was) most important or meaningful about the project (and/or the process)? Why?

What happened with the project? What did the project activate, contribute, produce? How, and to whom?

What worked (is working) well? Worth repeating or highlighting? What didn ́t work? What would need improvements or adaptations?

Your questions (like your project) can change along the way. That’s fine and is part of the process that we encourage you to keep an eye on the following process: register, think about, learn from, and eventually share with others.

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