Assessment is essential for æffective artistic activism. Without some form of evaluation, how can you know what sort of affect your project generates and the effect it has? But assessment isn’t just about measuring impact, it’s about clarifying intent so outcome will be more impactful.
Based on ten years of practical experience working with artists and activists around the globe and extensive research, including in-depth interviews with over 100 artist-activists, the Center for Artistic Activism has developed a Universal Methodology for Contextual Assessment specifically created to help artistic activists to plan, strengthen, and assess the effect, and affect — or æffect — of their projects.
Used and tested in the US, Western Balkans and West Africa, our methodology is query-based. It doesn’t tell people what to do, or how to do it. Based upon a comprehensive series of prompts and reflections, it helps artistic activists develop stronger projects, evaluate their impact, and plan their next steps. We don’t just do assessment, we work collaboratively with people and organizations to help them do assessment themselves.
(all in collaboration with your team)
- Collaborative planning and assessment, tailored to your needs and contexts.
- Designing appropriate measurements and tools for projects.
- Carrying out assessment measures.
- Data collection and analysis.
- Assessment report writing.
- Workshops in artistic activist assessment for your team.
- Comprehensive project planning document created in collaboration with your group
- Detailed assessment report customized to your needs.
- Complimentary planning and assessment toolset to help you and your organization plan and assess future projects.
Sample Assessment #1: ActionAid West African Arts Action Pilot
In Spring of 2019, ActionAid, a large Danish NGO with a global footprint, staged a series of artistic activist interventions in Ghana and Senegal as part of their youth creative activism training initiative. C4AA, who had been partners in the initial training of the trainers was asked to evaluate the impact of the training actions. Working with ActionAid’s Global Platform in Ghana we created an evaluation plan that each training group could use as they developed, executed, and reflected upon their projects. We also worked with regional leaders on methods of data collection and analysis. At the end of the project, we co-facilitated a multi-day analysis session in Accra with the youth participants and trainers, where we collaboratively analyzed the data that had been collected: training by doing. This analysis was further developed and written up by the C4AA primary and assembled into a multi-media report to be submitted to the parent organization in Copenhagen.
As a framework and tools for planning, carrying out and evaluating artistic activist actions and campaigns, C4AA’s methodology gave us insights in how to use art and culture as powerful tools to understand people in different contexts and to plan actions that touch their emotions and engage their hearts and minds to take action for social change.Marina Tota, Research Coordinator for ActionAid Global Platforms Ghana
Sample Assessment #2: A Blade of Grass Artists Fellowship Program
Every year A Blade of Grass, a non-profit organization supporting socially engaged art, selects eight Fellows in a highly selective process. These fellows are provided financial and professional support, including an assessment of their project. C4AA was asked to evaluate their New York-based 2019-20 cohort. Working with ABOG’s leadership we developed a unique approach to assessment that began with the artists themselves. Through a series of meetings and interviews, C4AA worked with the artists to clarify intent, audience, and ethics, and develop appropriate — and creative — measures to assess the impact they were looking for. Over the course of their projects, C4AA continued to collaborate with the artists, helping them to develop research teams from students and volunteers and adapting plans to shifting conditions. At the completion of the projects, C4AA held reflection sessions wherein the artist and ourselves analyze the data together, asking what worked, what didn’t, what was surprising and, most important, what might be done differently next time.
With a clearly articulated set of straightforward questions, C4AA successfully helped our artists clarify intended outcomes for different audiences, and provided practical and easy-to-use tools for them to be more rigorous in their practice. Their reports are clearly written and organized, and provided a rich narrative of the arc of the project–including the voices of a variety of project stakeholders. Most importantly, their analysis provides clear lessons learned and next steps for the project to become more impactful and sustainable.Prerana Reddy, Director of Programs, A Blade of Grass
Sample Assessment #3: Guerilla Science Communicating Science Workshops
Guerilla Science is on a mission to revolutionize how people connect with science through transformative experiences. They create spectacles that engage people in profound examinations of the science all around them.
Guerilla Science recognized in C4AA an shared understanding of the power of culture and experience to deeply engage and transform people. In 2019 and 2020, Guerilla Science asked C4AA to help to assess their new trainings for scientists, artists and science communicators. Our staff observed trainings and field work and conducted interviews to examine how the trainings worked to help the participants understand and gain confidence in combining creativity and science. We worked closely with Guerilla Science staff throughout the trainings to provide immediate feedback, offer up exercises from our own trainings, and help to course-correct on the spot. We created reports with specific suggestions for training adjustments. Based on this collaborative work, C4AA is co-authoring a handbook with Guerilla Science on how to effectively use culture and creativity to communicate science, due out in 2021.
C4AA brings world class passion, professionalism, and expertise to the table. It a pleasure to work with them.
Dr. Mark Rosin, Director, Guerilla Science
Get in touch if you want to know more about Impact and Assessment Advising for your group or coalition.
Learn more about Center for Artistic Activism Advising Programs