Measure for measure:
An interesting new report, Measuring the economic and social impact of the arts, from The Arts Council (PDF, 418kb). The report…. “Assesses different models and methods of measuring the economic and social impact of the arts, assesses the quality and appropriateness of existing research design and methods, and highlights areas for further exploration”. From the Conclusion…. “work in this field is still in its infancy…” / [there is a] “need for systematic evaluation and more robust methodologies and evidence” / [many studies suffer from] “over-reliance on official statistics which presents a partial picture of the arts and creative industries” / [and] “simplistic and naive explanations for attributing positive outcomes to arts projects” / “There are further issues concerning to what extent the impacts of short-term arts and cultural interventions are sustained over a longer period” / “there has been no research to date comparing the outcomes of community-arts projects against other arts interventions” [and] “there have been no attempts to test the impacts produced by arts projects or programmes against other types of interventions, both in or outside the sector.” So that’s all right then; we spent all those Lottery and Millenium billions; and we didn’t conduct even a jot of basic empirical research.