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Lessons for measuring and realising impact

In the cultural and creative sector, measuring impact is much discussed topic. The absence of physical audiences during the Covid pandemic, showed that simply keeping track of reserved seats or sold tickets is not enough. Culture is not a one-way street. A visitor is not just a passive observer, but watches, listens, talks, makes and gets inspired to think or act differently themselves. In doing so, the influence of a cultural institution goes beyond the individual visitor and reaches many more parties. For instance, artists are invited to create new work that can be exhibited elsewhere, or new collaborations are formed between organisations who never worked together before. These types of impact cannot be captured in numbers of visitors, and require a broader understanding of impact.

Waag is therefore exploring new ways of measuring its impact. How should we define impact? When can we say an activity has had impact? With a model based on the Theory of Change, we test our objectives, output and impact for each of our research labs. It is an iterative process, in which we continuously sharpen the definitions of different types of impact.

Read more about the key lessons we have learned so far (in Dutch).

On Thursday 14 December, join the conversation (in Dutch) at the symposium This is our audience. Read more about the symposium.