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Does your art have impact? Can you prove it?

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“In modern, fast growing societies if you are not able to prove the positive impact of your work you will probably be left behind” says Dr Jasmina Kuka, Head of Programme and Senior VP at Yayasan Hasanah. According to Dr Kuka, inability to prove their contribution to either social, cultural or economic development processes at the local or national level can make artists and art organizations seem not important enough to fund.

This inability to communicate core value and impact of their work leads to the artists being excluded when public or corporate budgets for arts, heritage and culture (AHC) are set or when policymaking bodies make decisions affecting future developments and investments in AHC.

Identifying and demonstrating

Why does the AHC sector have difficulty in securing necessary funds? Dr Kuka explains that this is partially because “artists or art organisations haven’t be successful enough in identifying and presenting how exactly they are positively impacting growth and development of the society.”

While AHC are talking about intrinsic values of their work, decision makers and the economy are talking about profit and GDP and relevant societal stakeholders are talking about different priority issues that affect quality of people’s lives. Different languages, different perspectives, and different value systems are usually issues responsible for lack of proper cooperation among key stakeholders and consequently, lack of sufficient funding for AHC.

Transforming artists into economists or vice-versa is not a solution but learning how to measure and demonstrate the positive impacts of AHC could be the first step towards better understanding of cultural impact (both within AHC sector and among other stakeholders) and wider/higher valuing and supporting of AHC.

If the people operating within AHC sector are given knowledge and tools on how to measure impact of their work and how to demonstrate their results,a domino effect will ripple through the sector. It will reach all the way to policy and decision makers, showing that AHC sector deserves their respect and dedicated resources.

Updated 2 May, 2017. Original post recommended:

A good place to begin would be Can you prove impact of your programme to partners, an ARTERI Pop-up workshop conducted by Dr Kuka, where she will illustrate how arts/culture practitioners can improve their capacity in measuring and demonstrating the impact of their work.

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Fathimath Nuha
Fathimath Nuha

A bibliophile, Fathimath Nuha is a writer on a quest to craft the perfect sentence.