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ArtReach makes great art possible and accessible, connecting art with grass roots and diverse communities to forge creative engagement

Evaluation: things that make you go ‘phew!’

November 12th, 2018|Comments Off on Evaluation: things that make you go ‘phew!’

Having delivered evaluation training to a number of community and charitable organisations over the years, it is great to see the moments when things click into place and suddenly it feels less daunting.

Here are my top 5 things that make you go ‘phew’!:

  1. It doesn’t have to be complex

If you’re a small organisation then the scope of your evaluation might not need to explore the unknowns. Our evaluation course will look at different planning tools that suit projects of all sizes so you can make a considered choice about what is right for you.

  1. It’s ok to think big

Be confident and set ambitious goals if it’s important to you (measurable a must of course). Don’t be daunted by this. Just be honest about your limitations and where the line of accountability should be drawn. That way, you won’t lose your connection to the bigger picture and the passion that drives your work. You’ll see that when you think big, it can make the case for how you might need to work with partners or link to other activities to increase your impact. 

  1. Only measure what you prioritise

When designing an evaluation, we make assumptions about how change occurs or the stories behind cause and effect. For small organisations or small projects it isn’t feasible to measure every change that you think a project will achieve. Nobody (funders especially) should expect this. Our course will take you through some key questions to ask yourself to establish the outcomes you really need to or should be measuring.

  1. Evidence might already exist

If your project is based on methods tried and tested, it is likely that an existing evaluation report will back up your claims. Use it to make your evidence-base stronger and your measurement activities more focussed.  Our training course will introduce how to develop your measurement action plan. A follow up course early next year will go into more detail on this too. 

  1. It is more than just evaluation

The evaluation approaches covered in our course are useful not only for projects, but for business planning and organisational reviews. I’ve even heard how people use it to think about their own personal goals!  

Join us on Tuesday 11 December for ArtReach’s Preparing for Evaluation. 

For more information and to book, click here: Preparing for Evaluation

Or contact Lynn Simmonds, Arts & Heritage Consultant by e-mail, Lynn@ArtReach.biz or by phone on 01162 616 882.

Preparing for Evaluation – A New Course from ArtReach

October 31st, 2018|Comments Off on Preparing for Evaluation – A New Course from ArtReach

Evaluation is a key component of any project. Taking the time to plan your evaluation approach means your project has the best chance of success and will achieve the changes you seek to deliver. In addition, as funding for creative and community projects becomes even more competitive, a thorough evaluation approach, and in particular, a focus on outcomes, can help your project stand out from the crowd.

Outputs, outcomes, quality, goals… When it comes to evaluation, the first challenge can be trying to get your head around the language, let alone thinking about what you should measure to prove your impact.

Led by our consultancy team, this workshop will introduce you to a range of approaches and tools to help you prepare your evaluation and explore the right methodology for you. The workshop will be interactive, encourage discussion and include step-by-step practical activities to take you through the process. 

‘Preparing for Evaluation’ – a new training course from ArtReach – is for those who have little or no experience in evaluating projects or in need of a refresher. Designed to give you a solid start in thinking about your evaluation, it will dispel the myths and highlight the common pitfalls experienced by so many of us at the start of this journey.

Pulling together 20 years’ experience of evaluating its own projects as well as providing consultancy support to a wealth of creative organisations, ArtReach is offering a full-day course that will explore the tools, techniques and practical approaches you can use to plan your evaluation.

The course will help you to:
– establish goals
– clarify outcomes, outputs and activities
– practise using approaches such as planning triangles, logic modelling or outcomes chains.

Whether you deliver projects large or small, by the end of the course, you will have the knowledge to design your own evaluation using an approach that’s right for what you do.

For more information and to book visit Eventbrite: Preparing for Evaluation

Or contact Lynn Simmonds, Arts & Heritage Consultant by e-mail, Lynn@ArtReach.biz or by phone on 01162 616 882.

A ‘Hidden’ performance and digital art display sees Journeys Festival International Portsmouth launched in style.

October 23rd, 2018|Comments Off on A ‘Hidden’ performance and digital art display sees Journeys Festival International Portsmouth launched in style.

Members of the local refugee and asylum seeker community were key guests alongside Festival partners, stakeholders and dignitaries as ArtReach launched the third annual Journeys Festival International Portsmouth at Aspex Gallery on Friday night.

As we celebrated the launch of the Festival, which runs from 19-28 October, guests were able to view elements of the large-scale digital art exhibition, Look Up: Searching for Home. Artist Svetlana Ochkovskaya was on hand throughout the evening to discuss her work and to highlight where this mesmerising digital art will appear on big screens around the city throughout the Festival.

Opening words were delivered by David Hill, Founding Director and Chair of ArtReach, followed by an important message from Councillor Steve Pitt, Deputy Leader of Portsmouth City Council, who reinforced the importance of the Festival for this city and stated Council intentions to work with ArtReach and the Festival team together in the future. There was also a moving reading by Shamila Dhana, from British Red Cross, of what it means being an asylum seeker in Portsmouth – words written by representatives from the community.

Forest Forge Theatre Company joined in the launch as they offered a ten minute taster of their performance ‘Hidden’, a play about two young people who find a refugee in the sea near Hayling Island. ‘Hidden’ was subsequently performed in full to local audiences at Portsmouth Guildhall the following day.

The launch event was hosted at Aspex, the contemporary art gallery on Gun Wharf Quays, and a key Journeys Festival International partner. To see the full programme head to Journeys Festival International Portsmouth

Manchester audiences marvelled at world-class art in a myriad of forms!

October 17th, 2018|Comments Off on Manchester audiences marvelled at world-class art in a myriad of forms!

From Moss Side to Moston, Manchester audiences turned out in their thousands to witness a wide array of arts, events, live music and conversations as part of a very successful third year for ArtReach’s, Journeys Festival International Manchester.

Outdoor exhibition, Home+Identity by artist Kate Daudy, , witnessed large scale art work installed at Selfridges, The Great Northern and the National Football Museum alongside smaller scale street interventions. Daudy’s text based work involved a series of positive messages created using felt fonts which were dotted around the city centre in unexpected locations.

The launch of the Festival itself, included poetry, theatre and a rehearsed reading directed by Box of Tricks Theatre of a play last seen by the public during World Refugee year 1959-1960. Take Back Theatre also presented Be//Longing, a powerful, script in hand performance placed strategically outside of artist Matilda Glen’s touching installation inspired by housing in the Calais Jungle called Crossing Borders.

Throughout the week, people were invited along to local libraries to see performance poetry that was created as a reaction to an artefact from Manchester Museum. Ancient Objects, New Writing hosted four artists, who created four unique stories, about four artefacts, which were performed in four locations across the city.

There was a Journeys Festival International first as audiences were invited along to the UK premiere of Soufra, a film about a long term resident of a refugee camp who has successfully created her own catering company from inside the camp!

Plus thousands turned out to support a full day of live music from around the world at the music stage in Manchester Cathedral Gardens. Journeys Live celebrated music from around the globe and featured a community choir who performed alongside professional musicians in front of local audiences.

Though there were many more elements to the fantastic ten day Festival, the final day, Sunday was all about creativity. Working in partnership with Celebrating Syria, the Family Creative Celebration day saw hundreds of families, from many different backgrounds, pour through the doors at The Whitworth. Families had a great time building dens, making Origami creations, learning Arabic Calligraphy and kite making in the stunning surroundings of this amazing art gallery.

The Festival has been a marvellous way to showcase the work of exceptional artists and exploring refugee and asylum seeker experiences through great art. Thanks to funding from Arts Council England, Film Hub North, Film Audience Network, Heritage Lottery Fund, Arts and Humanities Research Council and Manchester City Council we’re already making plans for Journeys Festival International Manchester 2019!

Poetry and Performances see Journeys Festival International Manchester Launch with Resounding Success.

October 5th, 2018|Comments Off on Poetry and Performances see Journeys Festival International Manchester Launch with Resounding Success.


Over one hundred people joined the ArtReach team in Manchester to celebrate the launch of the third annual Journeys Festival International Manchester which runs from 4 – 14 October. Guests joined the ArtReach team at The Whitworth on a calm autumnal evening and were treated to a myriad of cultural activities to usher in the full Festival period.
A script in hand performance of James Brabazon’s, ‘People of Nowhere’, originally performed as part of World Refugee Year 1959-1960, was the official precursor to the launch. Guests and members of the public were offered drinks to accompany speeches by David Hill, Founding Director and Chair of ArtReach alongside Professor Peter Gatrell from University of Manchester and Mustafa Alachkar from Rethink Rebuild. Peter spoke at length about the importance of the ‘Reckoning with Refugeedom’ project that feeds into all three of the Journeys Festival International programmes in 2018. Mustafa shared the organisation’s Celebrating Syria events that complement JFI.

Audience members were then asked to join the team at Matilda Glen’s remarkable installation, ‘Crossing Borders’ that is displayed outside The Whitworth for the duration of the Festival, and for a performance by Take Back Theatre. Glen’s installation explores the hardships endured by displaced people and uses the power of art to challenge media reporting of the current migration climate. Surely, no more suitable setting could be found for the powerful performance by Take Back Theatre, as dusk descended on the gallery and gardens the audience was hushed by their dramatic portrayal of the reality behind news headlines.

The evening was rounded off with an intriguing poetic performance by Firoozeh Fozouni, who performed ‘Dear Poet, Come to My Rescue…’, a response to the Ancient Objects New Writing Project in both her native tongue and English. Ancient Objects New writing is a project threading throughout the JFI Manchester Festival and as this was Fozouni’s first full public performance of the poem in her second language it seemed a fitting closing performance to a wonderful evening.

Just as the night drew to a close audiences went on their way, programmes in hand, with a lot to look forward to as Journeys Festival International Manchester delivers across the city until 14 October.

To see the full programme head to https://www.journeysfestival.com/manchesterjfi

ArtReach Team Changes

September 27th, 2018|Comments Off on ArtReach Team Changes

These are exciting times for ArtReach, as we embed our new Arts Council England NPO status; develop the organisation’s governance with a strong new, diverse Board; initiate new strands of artistic and consultancy work; and seek to develop the theme of Journeys Festival International with a year-round JOURNEYS programme.

Supporting and consolidating these changes is an important structural development, that will see our experienced team member, Simon Brown, taking on the role of ArtReach Managing Director from October 2018.

Founding Director, David Hill, will continue in the strategic role of ArtReach Founding Director and Chair, following a transition period through to March 2019. David is supported by an experienced group of Board Members comprising Vice Chair, Anand Bhatt, Azam Mamujee, Vicki Arogundade, Clare Stirzaker and Richard Sykes.

Working to Simon Brown as MD and operational leader, ArtReach now has nine team members based in its main office at LCB Depot in Leicester, including Executive Producers for Journeys Festival International (Maddie Smart) and Night of Festivals (Sam Javid). There are also ArtReach offices in Manchester and Portsmouth from where the company delivers key Festivals and other consultancy and event projects. Consultancy delivery is led by Arts and Heritage Consultant, Lynn Simmonds, whilst the overarching Marketing and Communications Manager is Gary Cicinskas.

We look forward to working with many existing and potential new partners as ArtReach continues to evolve and grow its local, national and international work.