Social Value Assessment (SVA) is an expanding method for assessing the impact of funded activities, including in the cultural sphere. It is argued that this form of assessment gives both a more complete and less reductive valuation of impacts and, more fundamentally, greater understanding of potential social change achieved. It has played an important role in the monitoring and evaluation of Coventry UK City of Culture 2021 (UK CoC 2021).
The consultancy, MB Associates, is developing four carefully selected case studies from the UK CoC 2021 programme upon which to calculate social value, including social return on investment:
- Home Festival − a week-long celebration of arts and homelessness projects in Coventry, co-produced by people with lived experience of homelessness.
- Animals! – a fun, interactive theatre show featuring original songs animals, humans and nature.
- Pirates of the Canal Basin – a performance that was developed to provide an immersive theatre experience.
- Global Youth Series – a three-day-long event delivered by young people, exploring global issues affecting young people today.
The aim of the SVA has been to experiment with and validate a social value approach and methodology applied to these specific projects. In so doing, the ambition has been to establish a model for SVA for small scale co-creation cultural projects (in the city and beyond), that can demonstrate to potential funders the economic and social value of participation and engagement in cultural projects.
The image above was created for day one of the three-day We Move! Global Youth Series produced by My Runway Group. It was a Coventry City of Culture Trust project that was supported by the British Council.
The Future Trends: Social Value Creation and Measurement paper also explores this theme.
Mandy Barnett of MB Associates was part of the panel speaking at the Cultural Policy and Evaluation Summit, as the UK CoC 2021 year began, on 25 June 2021. (Starts at 1:44:53.)
An independent research report also provides details of the Home Arts and Homelessness Festival.