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Art at the Centre Phase II

Final Evaluation Report 2005 - 2008

‘Art at the Centre’ was an Arts Council England, South East initiative, which aimed to embed creativity within regeneration practice across the region. The scheme sought to
demonstrate that involving artists at the outset of proposals (for example in design teams, master-planning and community engagement projects) can result   in more innovative, robust and sustainable regeneration.

This Report is an evaluation of Phase II ([email protected]), which ran from 2005 - 2008. It was launched at a key moment when new policies were being formed around the relationship between culture and regeneration. In 2004 ‘Culture at the Heart of Regeneration’ was published by DCMS - a vision and a position statement on the positive role that culture can play in contributing towards the social and economic aims of regeneration. DCMS and Arts Council, England were particularly interested in gathering hard evidence to support the proposition that art can contribute to other agendas, for example social cohesion, economic success and creating a sense of place. The evaluation methodology of the [email protected] report was therefore developed in response to this desire to strengthen the evidence base of the impact of culture on regeneration.

[email protected] took place simultaneously in three local authorities - Maidstone, Isle of Wight and Swale - all with ambitious plans for urban renewal. Channelled through the arts departments of these authorities funding was used to involve artists early on in the regeneration teams. The Report finds that this was a real strength of the programme; it demonstrated the value and role of art in different contexts of regeneration, and also supported the development of a network of  people directly involved in the scheme. This promoted shared learning and expertise, and suggests that encouraging the formation of networks for people working in this area is valuable.

The Report shows that  the involvement of the creative practitioner as an integral member of the project evaluation team was very successful, demonstrating that art can provide a provocative and accessible form of evaluation that acknowledges multiple viewpoints.

Follow this link to download and read the full Art at the Centre II Evaluation Report as an Adobe Acrobat document: 1.22 MB

Follow this link to the Art at the Centre website

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