Cultural Observatory hosts its first workshop

Stoke-on-Trent’s Cultural Observatory has hosted its first workshop for partners to discuss the impact of the arts on the city and its people.

Hosted by Keele and Staffordshire Universities and B-Arts at the Potteries Museum and Art Gallery, the session explored how we evaluate the impact of arts and culture in the city and how communities across the city can get involved.

Professors David Amigoni (Keele University) and Ieuan Ellis (Staffordshire University) introduced the forthcoming Cultural Observatory for Stoke and North Staffordshire which aims to map change in the cultural sector under themes including economy and tourism; health and wellbeing; inclusion and cohesion; education and skills; culture and place-making. All will be informed by an understanding of the place of the digital.

The Cultural Observatory – established by Staffordshire and Keele Universities – celebrates the powerful impact arts and culture has on the city and its people. It brings together academic specialists, communities across the city and major providers from the cultural sector, such as the New Vic Theatre, B-Arts, Live Age and FRONTLINEdance, through shared research and learning into tourism, health and wellbeing, economic impact, educational aspiration, and cultural engagement.

Guests also heard from speakers such as Jeremy Nicholls of Social Value UK, Fee Woods from SOTcan Together, Nic Gratton from Staffordshire University, DR Jackie Reynolds and Trevelyan Wright of B-Arts covering topics including maximising value of the project, the evolution of inclusive and participation-driven evaluation methods to cultural activity and collating data to bring to life culture change.

Guests also participated in five artist-led workshops from Laurel Gallagher, Rebecca Frankenberg, Selina Oakes, Nic Winstanley and Deb Rogers that explored how artists incorporated evaluation in their artistic practice and were able to view an exhibition from Letting in the Light.