Connecting Evaluation, Evidence and Value
15 February 2018

Longitudinal population studies suggest that there is a positive impact of arts and cultural activities on a broad range of health-related outcomes for people living with dementia, including effects on wellbeing, quality of life, cognitive function, and communication. There are still, however, considerable challenges faced in building an evidence base for such work, for example concerning how studies are designed or how subtle and often subjective changes in quality of life can be best evidenced and conceptualized.

The final development lab focused on how to connect innovation activities together with the best in evaluation methodologies. Using our first three voucher projects as live-feeds into the process, the lab interrogated where different approaches to evidencing value (qualitative, quantitative, and experimental) might connect innovation work to those making key funding and commissioning decisions..

The ‘live projects’ chosen open a window onto three very different streams of innovation activity: a creative assets audit for post-dementia diagnosis in the NHS; a network model for the dissemination of best practices amongst community organisations and care providers; an experimental multi-sensory reminiscence methodology with commercial viability. Together, they offered the opportunity for an in-depth, comparative discussion around the purposes, targets and methods of evidence generation.

Evaluation voucher projects funded in this round:

Sense of Self – to convene a multi-sector evaluation panel
Drawing on Strengths – to assess real-world implementation of their creativity audit

Photography: James Wheale