Details on article

Id 214
Author Jackson, A., ; McManus, R.,
Title SROI in the art gallery; valuing social impact

Jackson, A.; McManus, R. (2019) SROI in the art gallery; valuing social impact, Cultural Trends, 28:2-3, 132-145, DOI: 10.1080/09548963.2019.1617937

Keywords SROI; Evaluation; Social impact; Turner Contemporary; Margate; Art galleries
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Abstract This article considers a project that used the Social Return on Investment (SROI) methodology to describe and measure the social impact of Turner Contemporary art gallery in Margate, a coastal town in the South East of England. The article details the reasons why the methodology was chosen by the gallery, setting this in the context of the wider debate around evaluation and social impact reporting. A section of the research and analysis, which was carried out by COaST, a consultancy and research centre based within Canterbury Christ Church University, is described in detail, allowing the reader to understand the processes involved in this type of project and the kinds of outcomes that can be delivered using this method. Finally, an account is given of the impact the work had on the management of the gallery, and the ways in which the final report was used.

Metodology Social Return on Investment (SROI)

Findings The paper describes a project to measure the social impact of Turner Contemporary art gallery in Margate, UK during the 2015/16 financial year. The total investment by Turner Contemporary in the Lifelong Learning programme for that period was £111,825. The study found that ‘in one year, for every £1 invested by Turner Contemporary, £4.09 of net social value is created for participants in lifelong learning activities’. Through discussions with staff, a focus group and a survey the study established three outcomes for the lifelong learning programme. The outcomes were that participants became more open-minded and confident, strengthened their social networks, and enhanced their knowledge and skills. The researchers held a ‘valuation workshop’ with participants and used previous research to arrive at a value for ‘intensive participation in Lifelong Learning at Turner Contemporary’ which came out at ‘£3,000 per year per participant’. This amounted to ‘a total value for the outcomes of all lifelong learners who participated in the 2015/16 financial year of £1,185,570’. However, any calculation of this type needs to recognise what happens in real life. This figure does not account for the fact that participants only experience some of the outcomes to a degree, that some would have felt the same way without participating in the Lifelong Learning sessions, and that the sessions prevented some of them from doing other activities. Further analysis to account for these factors brought the value of the Lifelong Learning programme down to £569,074. Social return on investment is about much more than just a number. The authors are keen to emphasise that it is ‘a story about change that includes case studies and qualitative information as well as quantitative and financial information’. The research gave management at the gallery the need to ‘look carefully at how they invest resources, the kinds of returns this gives, and where they can usefully focus their activities’.
Open Access NO
DOI DOI: 10.1080/09548963.2019.1617937
Search Database SC (Scopus)
Technique Focus group; Survey; Discussion sessions
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