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Active Ingredients – The Aesop planning and evaluation model for Arts with a Social Purpose

The Active Ingredients project has
been developed jointly by Aesop and
BOP Consulting. It aims to deepen our
understanding of the ways in which arts
interventions in health and social contexts
actually work - and to improve the ways
these are designed and their impacts
measured.

Last week, in partnership with Aesop, we launched Active Ingredients – a new report exploring how arts and cultural activities achieve broader outcomes, particularly in relation to health.


Based on the participation of over 120 practitioners and representatives of the arts, culture, health and social care sectors, the report proposes that more can be done to understand and outline the ‘active ingredients’ in arts and cultural projects that lead to short and longer-term outcomes for those taking part.


In a policy and funding environment that is increasingly defined as ‘evidence-based’ (despite an often-narrow definition of evidence), the report acts as a guide to help those designing and delivering arts and health projects to uncover the specific mechanisms by which the interventions create changes at an individual or collective level.


For example, what are the ‘active ingredients’ in a group drumming session seeking to improve social co-operation? Is it engaging in a new form of abstract expression, or the social interaction? Is it encountering something ‘other’, or, most likely, a combination of these aspects? This short discussion paper provides an opportunity to consider the combination of these different ‘ingredients’ to support better understanding of how project design is linked to different effects or outcomes.


This ‘active ingredients’ approach helps arts and health practitioners define their work in a way that clearly articulates its value, and for commissioners and funders to discuss this work using shared concepts and language.


It is hoped this will lead to stronger partnerships and clearer communication across sectors as the complex processes at play in creative activities are better recognised by all those involved. We welcome any further thoughts and feedback as people test it out and refine how it can be used in the future.


Download the full report below.


The Active Ingredients

Our new guide for understanding arts and cultural interventions in health and social settings

Sep 17, 2018

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

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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

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By BOP Consulting

Douglas Lonie

Associate

Douglas is an Associate at BOP Consulting, leading on major multi-stakeholder research and evaluation projects in the UK and internationally.

Douglas Lonie - Associate | BOP Consulting

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Douglas Lonie

Douglas Lonie

Associate