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Public Art Evaluation Research

Public art is now a feature of many cities as they aim to transform their economies and establish their cultural competitive advantage on a global stage. At the same time, the extent to which public art positively contributes to the regeneration of areas and neighbourhoods that have been subject to economic, social and physical decline has become a central concern of government and regeneration agencies. In an evidence-based policy environment evaluation has a key role to play in assessing impacts and benefits.

Since 2003 CUDEMS's public art policy analysis and evaluation work has engaged with the debate about the contribution of public art to regeneration, seeking to improve the knowledge and evidence-base upon which public sector agencies and local authorities develop public art strategies and policies. This research activity has centred on three national, one regional and six local projects. Each of these has provided a detailed interrogation and assessment of existing policy provision while carrying out evaluation work that has informed future strategy and policy development. This evaluation work has made specific contribution to the development of more evidenced-based policy formulation, particularly in the articulation of new and/or reworked public art strategies produced by these organisations. The beneficiaries of this evaluation work are both the public sector agencies and local authorities themselves (better informed policy-making and improved understanding of the role and impacts of public art in the regeneration process) and their local communities and populations (improvements in public service provision and enrichment of the cultural offer of places).

CUDEM's work in public art research demonstrates a sustained commitment to improving policy development and policy options that have potential to impact on the aesthetic and cultural renewal of places. Our work is carried out in collaboration with colleagues both within the University and external to it. In particular, CUDEM staff work closely with RKL (Roberts, Knight, Leeds Beckett) consultancy, established in 2003 specifically to undertake public art evaluation work. The range of projects this research partnership has carried out can been seen below. The number of past (and continuing) commissions is illustrative of an established research expertise that is well-placed to secure future work and retain research impact.

Plus Icon Key projects
  • (2009-10) Big Things on The Beach, Edinburgh City Council (with RKL consultants)
  • (2007-09) Welcome to the North Public Art Programme Evaluation, Yorkshire Forward (with the Policy Research Institute, Leeds Metropolitan University).
  • (2007-08)Architecture Week: Evaluation and Options Appraisal, Arts Council England.
  • (2006) A Public Art Strategy for Kent County Council, Kent County Council (with RKL consultants).
  • (2005) A Public Art Strategy for Durham County Council, Durham County Council (with RKL consultants).
  • (2005) An Evaluation of Situation Leeds - A Festival of Art in the Public Realm, (Situation Leeds, Leeds City Council).
  • (2004) An Evaluation of Public Art in Scotland, Arts Council, Scotland (with RKL consultants).
  • (2004) Public Art Strategy for Hull, Hull City Council (with RKL consultants).
  • (2004) A Public Art Strategy for Wigan Pier Quarter, Wigan Borough Council  (with RKL consultants)
  • (2003) Public Art Review, Wales, funded by the Arts Council of Wales (with RKL consultants).
Plus Icon Key outputs
  • Strange, I. and Usher, D. (forthcoming) 'Evaluating Public Art in the North of England: Logical Models, Frameworks and Emerging Impact,' Local Economy.
  • Long., J. and Strange, I. (forthcoming, 2010) 'Cultural Policy in Leeds', Regional Review.
  • Long, J., and Strange, I. (2009) 'Mission or Pragmatism: Cultural Policy in Leeds Since 2000', in Bramham, P. and Wagg, S. (eds) Sport Leisure and Culture in a Postmodern Northern City, Ashgate.
  • Strange, I and Usher, D. (2009) 'Welcome to the North: Frameworks, Logic Models and Emerging Impact', Public Art and Regeneration Seminar, Leeds Metropolitan University and Yorkshire Forward, June.
  • Devins, D., Sandle, D., Strange, I., and Usher, D. (2009) Welcome to the North Public Art Programme Evaluation - Final Report, Yorkshire Forward.
  • Walley, E. and Strange, I. (2009) 'Heritage and Cultural Tourism in Yorkshire, in Thomas, R. (ed) Managing Regional Tourism, Great Northern Books, pp.174-186
  • Strange, I and Wishardt, M., with Evans, N., and Sandle, D. (2008) Architecture Week - Options Appraisal, Phase One Evaluation and Review Report, Architecture Week, Options Appraisal, Arts Council England.
  • Strange, I, and Wishardt, M., with Evans, N. and Sandle, D. (2008) Architecture Week - Options Appraisal, Phase Two Options Report, Architecture Week Options Appraisal, Arts Council England.
  • Strange, I., and Walley, E (2008) 'Heritage, the historic environment and cultural tourism in the English regions', Regional Studies Association Annual Conference, University of Economics, Prague, Czech Republic, 27 - 29 May.
  • Sandle, D., and Strange, I. (2007) 'Situation Leeds 07: art interventions, city space and civic culture', Vth Waterfronts of Art, University of Barcelona, Barcelona, 14 - 15 September.
  • Sandle, D., and Strange, I. (2007) 'Situating Situation Leeds: An Impact Analysis of a Festival of Contemporary Artists in the Public Realm', in Aitchison, C., & Pritchard, A. eds , Festivals and Events: Culture and Identity in Leisure, Sport and Tourism, Brighton, Leisure Studies Association, pp.95-134.
  • Strange, I. (2006) 'The ups and downs of developing regional cultural attractions', Regional Review, 16, 3, pp.24-25.
  • Sandle, D., and Strange, I. (2006) 'The cultural and political impact of Situation Leeds - contemporary artists and the public realm', LSA Newsletter, p.40-57.

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