It is well known that culture is a catalyst for change, helping economies respond to societal problems and demands and that culture is where people turn to in moments of crisis. In this case study around designing and implementing evaluation methodologies/frameworks for Coventry UK City of Culture 2021, it is suggested that in English public policy and within publicly invested arts there is a maturation of thinking around recognising/measuring the public value of culture including its social value. The purpose of this paper is to chart the recent policy of justifying cultural expenditure with social value claims and highlight challenges for evaluating activity within Coventry UK CoC 2021 as a change in wider policy is taking place.
This paper provides creative insights into the design and implementation of the evaluation methodologies/frameworks for Coventry UK City of Culture 2021. The authors of this paper as the collective team undertaking the evaluation of Coventry's year as UK City of Culture 2021 bring first-hand experiences of challenges faced and the need for a cultural mega-event to evidence its value.
The case study aims to address the concepts of measuring value within cultural events and argues that a paradigm shift is occurring in methods and concepts for evidencing the aforementioned value.
The case study within this paper focuses on the build-up period to the UK City of Culture 2021 year and the thinking and logic behind the creation of the evaluation/measurement framework and therefore does not include findings from the actual cultural year.
It is acknowledged that there are papers examining measuring and evidencing the “value” of cultural mega-events, the authors bring real-life first-hand experience of the concepts being utilised by them on the ground in the delivery and evaluation design of Coventry, UK City of Culture 2021.
The authors acknowledge the support of the Coventry City of Culture Trust and Coventry City Council in providing data and access for the writing of this paper.
Since acceptance of this article, the following author(s) have updated their affiliation(s): Ila Bharatan is at the University of Liverpool Management School and Si Chun Lam is at the West Midlands Combined Authority.
Scott, M., Neelands, J., Beer, H., Bharatan, I., Healey, T., Henry, N., Lam, S.C. and Tomlins, R. (2023), "Measuring the changes: how can a perceived cultural mega-event evidence its “value”? Insights from implementing evaluation methodologies for Coventry 2021", Arts and the Market, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print. https://doi.org/10.1108/AAM-08-2021-0042
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