Domain: Art & Culture

Type: Research Publication

Publication date: 2021

Author: Andrew Wearring, Bronwen Dalton & Rachel Bertram

Keywords: Social impact, Evaluation, Arts and culture, COVID-19, Not-for-Profit, Australia

Suggested reference: Wearring, A., Dalton, B., and Bertram, R. 2021. Pivoting Post-Pandemic: Not-for-Profit Arts and Culture Organisations and a New Focus on Social Impact. Cosmopolitan Civil Societies: An Interdisciplinary Journal, 13:2, 44–59. http://dx.doi.org/ ccs.v13.i2.7729

Pivoting post-pandemic: Not-for-profit arts and culture organisations and a new focus on social impact

While the Australian arts and cultural sector has been adept at shaping the national conversation around its economic significance, the COVID-19 pandemic has brought multiple and serious challenges. Weakened by years of government defunding, the sector now faces the shocks of shutdowns and social distancing on their bottom line. Post-COVID we propose that arts and culture organisations in the Not-for-profit sector express their contribution to society as social impact, in order to access more diverse sources of funding. This paper looks first at established ways of assessing economic value, then discusses the broader social value of arts and culture organisations. It then explores methods by which this can be measured and reported. Lastly, a review of relevant literature and best practice approaches to social impact measurement is provided, outlining a framework to produce evaluations that both strengthen their programs and enhance their ability to communicate their value to funders.

This is part of the Making a difference: The social impact of Australia’s arts and cultural sector project, funded by the Nelson Meers Foundation.