I have conducted the independent evaluation of the Great Art Quest since 2014 to measure the impact of project and its operational effectiveness. The project introduces primary school children to the visual arts by bringing together schools, local galleries, professional artists and storytellers.
Each year the project engages 16 primary schools and four galleries. I create a framework and methodology for the evaluation, which encompasses all stages of the project, from initial INSET days, through gallery visits and school workshops to the finale events. A range of techniques are used to engage pupils, practitioners, teachers and gallery staff in order to meet the relevant evaluation needs. These include focus groups with pupils, interviews with teachers and practitioners, session observations and photography.
Since 2015, the project has also been explored through the lens of Arts Council England’s Quality Principles; seven principles for work by, with and for children and young people in arts and culture.
In 2014-5, handmade log books were given to pupils and teachers to record their journey through the project. This format was particularly appreciated by some teachers: ‘I’ve been really inspired by the books – at the weekend I was punching holes in things, and putting them together with skewers…’. The evaluation fed in to the project throughout the year, helping to shape sessions and guide practitioners.
Working with Catherine over the past two years on The Great Art Quest project has been wonderful. First and foremost, she cares about the level of impact the project has on its participants, and as such the advice and feedback she offers in her evaluations is very well-thought-out and helpful. Catherine’s evaluations have helped to shape the development of Great Art Quest and make it a better or more effective project.
Katherine Hannon, Project Manager, Children & the Arts
The galleries involved in the project over recent years are: Falmouth Art Gallery, Chapel Gallery, Golden Thread Gallery, New Walk Museum & Art Gallery, MK Gallery, Oriel Myrddin Gallery, Tullie House Museum and Gallery Trust, Yorkshire Sculpture Park, Ben Uri Gallery & Museum, Reading Museum & Town Hall, Russell-Cotes Art Gallery & Museum and Stirling Smith Museum & Art Gallery.