Source M.E.L Research

The Core Monitoring and Evaluation Team

The Core Monitoring and Evaluation Team (M&E) is a partnership between the University of Warwick, Coventry University and Coventry City Council (Insights team). The team has met regularly (usually fortnightly) since late 2018, before the City of Culture year, and continues to meet into 2023, during the evaluation phase.

Although the M&E team was independent from the Coventry City of Culture Trust, there were regular discussions, as the Trust was responsible for the capture, performance monitoring and measurement of necessary and sufficient time-sensitive data to satisfy funders and stakeholder requirements.

The universities are responsible for providing research and expertise to inform the design of performance measurement and evaluation, track progress towards outcomes and impacts and for the preparation of the evaluation reports. This includes interpreting data provided by the Trust and City Council and supporting an array of deeper and wider research and evaluation activities relating to impact evaluation of Coventry UK City of Culture 2021 (UK CoC 2021) over time.

The City Council has regularly conducted Household Surveys which ask a representative sample of Coventry residents about their views of their local area, city, behaviour, services, concerns and cultural participation. These data, amongst other demographic, housing and environment, economy and prospects, and health and wellbeing data, enable cultural and non-cultural data − including a number of surveys capturing the sentiment of residents specifically related to UK CoC 2021 − to be compared and contrasted with other routine socio-economic and place-based metrics. An example is the Coventry Cultural Place profiler.

The M&E team is responsible for reporting and disseminating findings to a wide range of audiences and providing evidence-led recommendations.

Everything that we do for the monitoring and evaluation of the City of Culture is publicly available.

Jonothan Neelands, Warwick Business School. Cultural Policy and Evaluation Summit

Jonothan Neelands was part of a panel, and described the work of the M&E team, at the Cultural Policy and Evaluation Summit, on 25 June 2021, in the early stages of the UK CoC 2021 year. (Starts 25:30)

Technical Reference Group

The Core Team received expert support from a Technical Reference Group (TRG) which acted as an independent and impartial group. Led by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, other representatives included Arts Council England, the Arts and Humanities Research Council, Spirit of 2012, NESTA, What Works Centre for Wellbeing, UCL, the University of Derby, the British Council and the West Midlands Combined Authority.

The remit of the Technical Reference Group was to:

  • support the M&E activities through guidance on appropriate methodological approaches, validation of surveys and ethics around the collection of data
  • assist in identifying gaps in the reporting data and how new data sources can be aggregated alongside current datasets
  • provide input to ongoing M&E activities where appropriate, drawing on the expert knowledge and experience of the members of the group
  • guide to ensure relevant evaluation is being undertaken to meet funding body requirements
  • advise on the dissemination of data and key results from the M&E activities to key stakeholders, funders and other interested parties.

I think [chairing the monitoring and evaluation steering group] has been really important where we have had DCMS involved early on in that work. I have definitely found really valuable the sheer amount of work that has gone into… that monitoring and evaluation approach.

Harman Sagger, DCMS. Cultural Policy and Evaluation Summit

Harman Sagger from DCMS, chair of the TRG, was part of the panel speaking at the Cultural Policy and Evaluation Summit, on 25 June 2021, in the early stages of the UK CoC 2021 year. (Starts 45:23)

Arts and Humanities Research Council Funding

The results outlined on this website reflect a variety of UK CoC 2021 activities, funded by different funding bodies. The website also includes work undertaken, as part of Arts and Humanities Funding Council (AHRC) projects: Coventry place-based Knowledge Exchange and UK Cities of Culture that shares lessons learned for future cultural mega-events.


This website is designed to share results and findings of the UK CoC 2021 M&E process, and respects the privacy of its users.


The majority of the pages of this website were created by Tim Hammerton, Coventry University, by summarising reports, editing content and writing original material.

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