Blog Posts for Evaluation Learning Lab

Why Evaluation?

Posted by Ms. Maurine D. Knighton, Oct 26, 2015 0 comments

“Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted.”  Undoubtedly, we’re all familiar with this quote, which is popularly but erroneously attributed to Albert Einstein.  (In fact, this statement first appeared in 1963 in Informal Sociology: A Casual Introduction to Sociological Thinking,” written by sociologist William Bruce Cameron.) 

Whether or not Einstein said it originally, there’s irrefutable truth in the statement. And, this idea causes us to think about two key aspects of evaluation and assessment: what’s the best way to measure what we believe we can, and how to deal with the “unmeasurable.” 

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Dispatches from the Evaluation Learning Lab

Posted by Alicia Gregory, Oct 26, 2015 0 comments

In 2014, Animating Democracy, in partnership with the Art x Culture x Social Justice Network (ACSJN) and the Nathan Cummings Foundation launched the Evaluation Learning Lab. The lab builds practical knowledge and resources in three areas as they relate to arts and social change projects and programs:  measuring social impact, evaluating artistic/aesthetic dimensions, and equalizing power in evaluation.

Over the past year, guided by the Lab’s theory of change, we’ve gathered 20 artists, arts practitioners, funders, and evaluators in learning exchanges that combined case studies, presentations and discussion around existing evaluation theories and approaches, analysis of current frameworks, criteria, guidelines, and tools, and development of new tools for ethical practices.

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Arts and Social Justice: Searching for a Framework to Describe Quality

Posted by Chris Dwyer, Oct 29, 2015 0 comments

I’ve been engaged in planning and conducting evaluations for several decades now and I’m still intrigued by the intellectual puzzles involved even in the smallest evaluation project—especially the challenge of answering the related “compared to what?” and “how meaningful are the results?’ questions. Both are essential for determining the value (e-valu-ation) of the program or idea being evaluated. 

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