Research, Assessment, and Evaluation

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One of the key elements of The Cultural Ecologies Project is developing new approaches to Research, Assessment, and Evaluation. As numerous studies have shown, current models for understanding arts and humanities practice in relation to community transformation are severely underdeveloped. Integrating social science and humanities methods into our research is critical to developing this knowledge. Identifying the complex needs of cultural stakeholders (artists, institutions, patrons, funders, community members, etc.) requires the ability to:

  1. assess community needs and interests, taking care to understand the multiple and conflicting expectations of stakeholders
  2. design and fund socially engaged arts and humanities projects that respond to these sometimes conflicting community needs and interests
  3. understand how socially engaged cultural interventions participate in an ever-changing historical process that both transforms and is transformed by the communities in which they are embedded
  4. create mechanisms for measuring the effects of the arts and humanities on Indianapolis' cultural ecology to provide feedback to stakeholders who intend to reshape future artistic practice and funding.

The Cultural Ecologies Project is more than a simple program of assessment or summative evaluation. It is aimed at creating a new mechanism for community developmental assessment grounded in multidisciplinary expertise.