Cultural Observatory update: what we’re working on

Millennium Point in Birmnigham

This post is intended to give a run down of the main pieces of work that will be undertaken by the Cultural Observatory during 2010/11.

Our work plan is not set in stone as we are often called to respond to policy needs as and when they develop (in common with many public sector organisations), but hopefully this short post will give you a flavour of our aspirations for the coming year.

West Midlands Cultural Programme for London 2012

The main focus for the Cultural Observatory during 2010 is evaluation and monitoring the West Midlands Culture Programme for London 2012. This focus reflects the priorities of Advantage West Midlands (funders of the Cultural Observatory) and the priorities of the Department for Culture, Media and Sport agencies in the West Midlands (these are Museums, Libraries and Archives, Sport England, Arts Council England and English Heritage).

We published our first impact evaluation (pdf, 1.54mb) for the programme in April 2010, highlighting the social and economic impact to date. The next update report will be published towards the end of 2010.

Economic impact toolkit for measuring cultural events

As part of the research work for West Midlands Culture Programme for London 2012, the Cultural Observatory (in association with the Cultural Research & Intelligence Group) is coordinating development of an economic impact toolkit for measuring the impact of cultural events. The aspiration is for this to be up and running by Spring 2011.

Towards the end of the year, it’s envisaged that we’ll publish a report bringing together the overall messages emerging from our monitoring work which explored the impact of the recession on the West Midlands cultural sector.

Also, the Cultural Observatory will continue to provide analytic support to research projects undertaken by the DCMS Agencies in the West Midlands, along with the ongoing provision of a (web-based) research and data enquiry service.

Coordinating the Cultural Research & Intelligence Network

Following the Cultural Research & Intelligence Network conference on 2nd June, a key strand of work for 2010 is developing this network to better reflect the needs of members. At the conference, delegates raised various ideas about how the network could move forward, including establishing a Twitter group, and the idea of making future CRAIN events revolve around key pieces of research (akin to a ‘bookclub’).

We’ll look at all ideas raised and will look to adopt as many ideas as we can over the next year.

I hope this has given you a taste of kind of things that we’ll be working on this year at the Cultural Observatory. If you have any questions at all don’t hesitate to contact Cultural Research Analyst – Lauren Amery ( / 0121 202 3249).

Related links

Photo by joelmeadows1

One Response

  1. We’ve got a growing Twitter list of people and organisations related to West Midlands culture at:

    Send a tweet or DM @thewmro, or leave a comment below with your Twitter name, if you’d like to be added to the list.

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