Image Gradient
BOP Consulting Logo | HomeButton
image gradient

Download Project Report

VIEW PDF

Place-based approaches to funding are nothing new. However, they are becoming increasingly important in the cultural sector, as a way of joining-up culture with socio-economic agendas and achieving long-lasting change.


We recently presented, alongside the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF), at the annual conference of the Social Research Association on the challenges of evaluating place-based funding schemes. Here we drew from our evaluation of HLF’s Great Place funding programme in England (jointly run with Arts Council England).


The 16 Great Place projects in England are piloting new approaches that place culture at the heart of communities and local government. Budgets range from £500k to £1.5 million, with all projects running for three years and each designed to meet the strengths and challenges of its local area.


From our work evaluating Great Place at programme level, we identified five core challenges in evaluating such place-based cultural funding programmes:


  • Definition: project aims are broad and approaches very variable. Evaluation needs to focus firmly on outcomes – the change – rather than outputs

  • Complexity: multiple projects with multiple activities. Robustness comes from shared monitoring tools not shared approaches. Our research methodology prioritises exploring how change is achieved – through focus groups, case studies and project manager surveys – not what activities are taking place

  • Data: limited data exists on local audiences, with limited resources to gather data at place level. Changes in local audiences can’t therefore be measured directly but can be addressed through proxies such as knowledge and confidence levels of cultural managers

  • Timeframe: funding is time-limited, but real change is known to take time to deliver. Evaluation timeframes need to be adapted to extend beyond the project timeline

  • Attribution: places will experience change and investment from many different sources. Identifying the impact of any one initiative is therefore problematic. BOP uses logic models and counterfactual studies to help identify the specific contribution of particular projects.


With these approaches we are able to draw learning from place-based funding schemes about the cultural sector’s role in developing local areas.

Evaluating place-based funding programmes

Five challenges and approaches

Jan 18, 2019

Green Cities helping climate change through culture and sustainability

Nov 4, 2021

How are major cities around the world responding to climate change through cultural policies and programmes?

The Green World Cities of Tomorrow: Culture and Sustainability

Paul Owens

Culture and the Climate Emergency

Apr 22, 2021

5 Priorities for World Cities in the post-covid recovery period

Culture and the Climate Emergency

Paul Owens

Culture and the Recovery: Levelling Up Culture?

Dec 4, 2020

Culture can play an important role in recovery and renewal across the UK, if the right local decision-making is put in place

Culture and the Recovery: Levelling Up Culture?

Callum Lee

Central London’s celebrated

Sep 23, 2020

This focused, coordinated set of measures can not only rescue the sector, but position it to lead the recovery

Central London’s celebrated cultural offer is in peril

Jonathan Todd

COVID-19: Government support packages for culture and creative industries #3

Aug 21, 2020

Three big questions as applications close for Arts Council England’s Cultural Recovery Fund

COVID-19: Government support packages for culture and creative industries #3

Paul Owens

COVID-19: Government support packages for culture and creative industries #2

Jul 30, 2020

The UK’s £1.57 billion recovery package: priorities for a New Deal

COVID-19: Government support packages for culture and creative industries #2

Paul Owens

COVID-19: Cities, Culture and the 3 ‘P’s: powers, partnerships, place

Jul 20, 2020

Cities are using their unique capabilities to lead recovery and renewal

COVID-19: Cities, Culture and the 3 ‘P’s: powers, partnerships, place

Paul Owens

COVID-19: Government support packages for culture and creative industries #1

Jul 7, 2020

Investing in recovery, planning for transformation

COVID-19: Government support packages for culture and creative industries #1

Paul Owens

COVID-19 is a triple blow to culture and the creative industries

Jun 30, 2020

Recovery and renewal will depend on how we address the three dimensions of the crisis

COVID-19 is a triple blow to culture and the creative industries

Paul Owens

Take planning and collaboration to whole a new level.

Jun 3, 2020

In the face of radical uncertainty leaders and policy-makers will have to take planning and collaboration to whole a new level

‘Plans are useless, planning is essential’

Paul Owens

Relief, Recovery and Renewal

May 13, 2020

Nobody knows what will happen next, but we have a good idea of the three necessary steps out of the crisis

Relief, Recovery and Renewal: navigating our way to a new kind of future

Paul Owens

The Golden Thread in the 2020s

Dec 20, 2019

A cause for optimism

Weaving the Golden Thread into the 2020s

Paul Owens

Related Articles

By BOP Consulting

Jonathan Todd

Chief Economist

Jonathan is an economist with over a decade’s experience in impact assessment and evaluation, and high-level policy experience, particularly within the cultural and creative sectors.

Jonathan Todd - Chief Economist | BOP Consulting

Planning a new project?

If you are interested to learn more about our work or if you have a project you would like to discuss, get in touch.

SHARE ARTICLE
Jonathan Todd

Jonathan Todd

Chief Economist