THE PROCESS

EVERYBODY DANCE evaluated four of its projects during summer 2014. This involved seeking feedback from participants, staff, audience and artists about their experiences of the events. We knew instinctively and intuitively, from our work, and feedback from the participating individuals and groups, that our projects benefit people in lots of different ways, and we were keen to learn more about this. We employed a Research Agent, Emma McFarland, to work with us over a five month period to research our work and evaluate the projects. This has enabled us to more clearly articulate and evidence the benefits and impacts of our work; it has also helped us to develop ways to increase the positive outcomes, address criticism and support our fundraising for future projects and organisational development, so that we can benefit even more people. The R&D work demonstrated to potential funders/commissioners/partners how important evaluation, outcomes and impact are to EVERYBODY DANCE, as well as providing some inspiring resources to showcase the quality of the work.

We’ve produced a TOOL KIT of practical resources that can be adapted to suit the needs of individuals. They provide templates that organisations and practitioners are invited to adopt, adapt and change for their own needs.

Included in the TOOL KIT are Headline STATS and EVERYBODY DANCE Impact Report as examples of how the evaluation findings might be collated and presented and a Project Information Form template which gathers the basic information on a project and is used as a front page for the file.
The TOOL KIT is freely available under a ‘Creative Commons’ licence. This license lets you remix, tweak, and build upon the TOOL KIT non-commercially, and although your new works must also acknowledge EVERYBODY DANCE and be non-commercial, you don’t have to license their derivative works on the same terms.
Each section, including this introduction, is available to download as a pdf here on our web site or they can also be obtained from us as Word documents for easy editing: to do this please email Rachel Freeman at rfeverybodydance@gmail.com .
We hope that they will be of use to you but we ask that EVERYBODY DANCE be given credit for their use in the following ways:
● printed in the footer of each evaluation document
● referenced when presenting findings
● referenced when used in funding or commissioning applications

We are grateful for the financial support of Arts Connect West Midlands who supported the R&D, to Emma McFarland who led the work and to the Knowledge East Creative Impact project (2006), Darts and Sheffield Hallam’s Positive Futures Monitoring and Evaluation Framework (2007) which have been used as templates for some of the tools.

 

USING THE TOOL KIT


You don’t have to use it all! There are many ways of gathering feedback and you must find the most accessible and appropriate ways for your participants. We are still adapting the tools so that they are fit for purpose with each group. First think about:

What you want to find out:
● Demographic information /STATS (number, age range, profile of groups etc.)
● Collection of qualitative DATA (as used for our Headline STATS)
● Anecdotal evidence (interviews, quotes)
● Anonymous or named feedback
● Continuous assessment

How much time can you give to the process?
This might vary from a few minutes at the beginning and end of a one off session or specific in depth evaluation sessions for longer projects.


What are the communication needs of participants so that they can access the tools?
● Complete by themselves
● Complete as a group
● Use of scribes
● Use of pictures, stickers
● Video and photographic evidence

What human and practical resource do you have?
● This could be a sole workshop leader, a team member or dedicated project evaluator
● Paper, pens, stickers, clipboards etc.
● Video and/or still camera (we used flip cameras as they are small and inconspicuous but this did cause quality of image and sound issues when it came to the editing process)

Have you secured relevant permission?
You must seek the permission from individuals/parents/guardians/schools and organisations to gather material, specifically photographic and video material and be very clear about its use – for your own research, to be made public, for marketing use on printed material and the web etc.

Each tool is available to download as a pdf here on our web site. They can also be obtained from us as Word documents for easy editing: to do this please email Rachel Freeman at rfeverybodydance@gmail.com .
We hope that they will be of use to you but we ask that EVERYBODY DANCE be given credit for their use in the following ways:
● printed in the footer of each evaluation document
● referenced when presenting findings
● referenced when used in funding or commissioning applications

 

Creative Commons License


EVERYBODY DANCE Evaluation Toolkit by Rachel Freeman is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.

 

Useful links: Arts, Health and Wellbeing, Critical Response Process

 

THE TOOLS

Observation matrix - personal & social skills, physical skills & fitness
These proved to be a really useful tool to gauge impact of sessions and projects: we asked them to be completed for a small selection of participants, to show how the project impacts on a wide spectrum of participants (non-disabled to profound and multiple learning disabilities / PMLD). We also gathered anecdotes from staff to further support our findings.
Initially it looks a bit scary but it isn’t when you break it down.
The Observation Matrix Blank form is for staff (artists, teachers, carers and/or support staff) to fill in and the Observation Matrix Criteria form shows the criteria for each level. We asked staff to record usual levels that participants show during everyday activities at school etc. (usual) and also to record levels they observe during our dance sessions (today).
A matrix for each participant being observed is to be completed after each session and then analysed/compared at the end of the project, but it can also be a useful tool during a one-off session.
It’s helpful for assessors to familiarise themselves with the criteria so they can be subtly assessing participants as the session progresses.

Goal Setting - For participants to complete, ideally before the project begins or if not it could be taken away and worked on outside the first session and brought to the second session. These Goal Setting forms proved really helpful during our project planning sessions and were revisited by participants at the end of the project along with the Self-Evaluation - final session scales.

Self-Evaluation Scaleall sessions. To be completed at the end of each session. Helps as a cross-check to any case study information – are participants’ perceptions of their performance in the session the same as the Staff or Artists? It also encourages self-reflection. Participants can be ‘tracked’ across the sessions to assess progress.

Self-Evaluation Scalefinal session. To be completed at the end of the project and used in conjunction with the Goal Setting activity.

Mood-o-meter A4 sheets given out as part of any ‘check-in’ and ‘check-out’ circle at the beginning and end of the session. Participants simply take a moment to reflect on how they feel and circle/colour/tick/stick a coloured dot on the face they most identify with. This shows how the session affects mood (links to mental well-being). To be completed at the beginning and end of every session.

Limitations: Due to the issues of children feeling shy declaring their mood and being influenced by other factors e.g. peer choices, we were not confident that all the data we gained were reliable. However it was a useful tool as it generated communication between staff and participants and supported self-appraisal.


Emoticon boards - A3 laminated boards, each with a face on (happy, neutral, unhappy)
Participants are asked to indicate by pointing, placing stickers or moving close to the face that expressed their opinion in relation to verbal questions e.g., ‘How did you feel about the warm-up? How did the performance make you feel? Would you like to do another workshop like this?’

Limitations: Data can be unreliable if the choices are skewed by other factors, e.g. use of different colours, different people holding them, external factors unrelated to the activity. However, we found that from this informal questioning with groups, it became clear how popular our participatory aerial workshops were, which was helpful.

End of Project feedback form - A tool we used for gleaning general as well as specific information about participants’ experience of projects: easy and quick to complete with visual cues.

Performance Project Questionnaire - Used with groups who are working towards and presenting their own performance work. Questionnaires are given to participants at the end of the performance project and used in conjunction with Self-Evaluation Scale completed at the end of the first and final sessions.
We found that the Self-Evaluation Scale needs to be introduced carefully to the group and the reason this data is being collecting explained. Used in this context participants can ‘anonymise’ their response by making up a name, but they need to use this same name on all the forms they complete.

Traffic Light exercise - One of the most crucial potential benefits of our aerial dance work is building willingness to embrace challenges, test boundaries, take considered risks and trust.
Useful for longer term projects with potentially greater impact on participants. This could be done at the start of a project and then again at the end to gauge how participants’ cultural horizons had changed. Select printed material that has a range of cultural activities, places, events, things that participants may be interested in. The material should be as broad as possible while being appropriate to a group (eg. youth, older people). The material could include:
● magazine articles,
● advertisements in the local paper
● national press
● print-out of web pages
The content may be about events, classes, groups, regional activities, exhibitions, performances, community sector activities, college courses, adult education, workshops, jobs.
Give participants coloured stickers.
Red = definitely would not try this
Yellow = might try this
Green = definitely would try this
As a group, look at materials. Participants mark material with stickers according to their feelings and perceptions of what these events etc. might be like, facilitate and record the discussion.
You will get back:
● An indication of what cultural activities people are aware of
● Information on the kind of cultural activities people are comfortable with and perceptions of risk
● Changes in these perceptions (if repeated over time) and changes in risk-taking and confidence

Graffiti Board - We introduce these at the beginning of a workshop/project and use them at the start, during breaks and end of the workshops as seems appropriate. A giant piece of paper is taped to the wall, floor or table and a big tin of coloured pens and pencils left near it.
Participants are invited to write/scribe or draw to illustrate how they feel about their experience and/or specific questions ‘What did you learn today – New skills?
We’ve often left it very open to participants to express anonymously any thoughts or feelings about the project and the results are often works of art in their own right. We gather quotes, photograph the illustrations and create ‘wordle’ pages from the Graffiti Board material.

Interviews and vox pops - Using video to capture feedback seems like a quick and easy option; however it does have its drawbacks. We found that interview content and style is crucial to outcomes and plenty of time is needed to look back through material for editing or transposing into a useful format. A few suggestions:
• Decide exactly what you want to find out
• Plan the questions very carefully, are they open or closed, do you want one word answers or longer statements?
• Is it a group activity with a video hot seat whilst other watch or group interviews with everyone pitching in or individual interviews in a private space?
• Do you have full permission? Despite getting written permission from schools to interview pupils we found that when the camera appeared staff were often reluctant to let us record. In future we will work more closely with the schools to ensure that the permission is communicated to the class teachers.

Artists’ Reflective Diary - Useful for the evaluation if artists can keep a reflective diary of the project, briefly recording their thoughts/feelings at the end of each session on:
● How participant/s of different ages responded to tasks
● How the group dynamic develops
● Any physical, behavioural or emotional changes observed in participants as the sessions progress
● Adaptations of material and tasks to suit the group
● New creative ideas in response to participants’ work and feedback
We found the reflective diaries the most difficult thing to maintain during our summer projects. The intensity and demands of the projects as well as the introduction of the new evaluation tools that we were testing out left us will little time, energy or inclination to do more paperwork at the end of each day. However, our plan is to create a template for Artist Reflection with tick boxes and 1 to 5 grades to make it a quick and easy tool.

Audiences’ Survey - It‘s fantastic to capture feedback at the end of a performance when the audience is buzzing, which is particularly true if their friends and family have been part of it.
We may watch the audience in order to gauge reaction and will target certain people in our after show surveys, those who are obviously moved or excited about what they have witnessed.
But it’s not easy gathering evidence on paper and there seems to be no easy solution so be creative!
We’ve used:
• Lots of people with clip boards asking the questions
• Quick video interviews transposed and anonymised
• Graffiti board or visitors book
• After show discussion sessions
• Follow- up questionnaires sent to parents/guardians of participants

 

Contact details

Rachel Freeman, Programme Development Manager
M: 07870429528
Email: rfeverybodydance@gmail.com
Web: www.everybodydance.org.uk
Twitter: @everyBODYdancin
Facebook: www.facebook.com/rfeverybodydance
Post: Longlands Barn, Whitbourne Hall Park, Whitbourne, WR6 5SG

Registered Charity Number 1147421 Registered Company Number 7934348