Public Art Now: Thinking Beyond Measure

The White Building, 
Hackney Wick, London  

Friday 9 May 2014, 10am – 5pm
£10, book tickets

A day workshop introducing a ground-breaking new approach to research and evaluation in the arts

Building an evidence base is fundamental to making the case for the arts; finding arts sensitive methods to gather and analyse data has become one of the primary challenges for the arts sector. How often have you felt something was missing from the stories revealed by social science based approaches?

Researchers from the University of Central Lancashire (UCLAN), working with arts producers Situations, have been developing an innovative new group based method  – the Visual Matrix – to move beyond overt measures of impact and unlock the deeper story of an artwork’s effects on the imagination. This could then be used alongside quantitative approaches to form richer, more complex evaluations.

The North Devon town of Ilfracombe was host to Alex Hartley’s Nowhereisland in the summer of 2012 and, shortly afterwards, the 66 foot high bronze statue Verity by Damien Hirst was loaned to the town where it now towers over the harbour front. In 2013 the Visual Matrix method, which is framed by images of the artworks and depends on visualisation and association, was used alongside a conventional focus group to explore the town’s on-going relation to these large-scale, high profile public art projects. The Visual Matrix revealed a rich depth and diversity of response, which did not emerge through conventional methods.

Join this workshop to hear what happened, how the Visual Matrix works and the value it has for Situations as an organisation. You will also take part in a Visual Matrix, learning how to organise you own session and how it might be applied to your projects.

This project is led by the Psychosocial Research Unit at the University of Central Lancashire, in partnership with Situations. The study has been funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council Cultural Value Programme. The workshop is presented as part of Public Art Now, a national programme of talks, films, publications and workshops dedicated to showcasing the most internationally significant forms of public art.

This event is being kindly hosted by the Live Art Development Agency and Space Studios.

Banner image credit:

Amy Franceschini and Futurefamers, image by Max McClure courtesy of Public Art Now

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