Thinking and collecting insights, beyond data, on our and others’ practice ensures that good ideas are shared and implemented. We also hold the UK’s most significant participatory arts archive, which needs liberating.
We are an organisation that strives to ensure that what we do is the best it can be through constant formal and informal evaluation. This may include monitoring information about the artists we employ to ensure that our programmes meet their needs, seeking feedback on our printed materials and evolving our practice. It also includes researching new artists and producers to improve the artistic challenge in the work that we share.
We are also curious about what others are doing. In 2021 we co-edited an anthology of live responses to the covid-19 pandemic from professionals working in arts and culture worldwide. We produced this in partnership with Erasmus University Rotterdam. It’s called the Corona Rollercoaster, and you can download it for free from our resources section.
Also, in 2021, we completed a piece of research for a group of artist-led organisations that are part of Arts Council England’s National Portfolio funded by the Central School of Speech and Drama. You can find a summary of our research in the resources section of this website.
These are just two examples of research conducted by us for others.
For ten years, we were the editors of mailout, the national magazine for participatory arts. mailout ceased to exist as a periodical as information moved online but, safely contained in several tin boxes in our office, is an archive dating from 1987 to 2016 which chronicles a movement that changed the face of Britain’s arts and culture forever. We are currently seeking partners and funding to help liberate this archive for scholars, policymakers, historians and practitioners.