Over the years, the Foundation has provided millions of pounds of funding to arts and cultural organisations. We have a firm belief that the experiences the arts provide can be a force for change in individuals, encouraging creativity, reducing exclusion and assisting social and personal development. We want to help to build the evidence base so that others, including government, can understand the difference they make to people’s lives and communities. Over time, we hope to widen our focus on impact evidence into other social policy fields.

The evidence base for the value and impact of the arts in people’s lives is weak. Within the arts sector, there is growing recognition of the consequences of weak evidence. It means that organisations lack an important resource to use in improving the impact of their work, developing new approaches and convincing others that their work is worthwhile and should be supported.

Our contribution will be designed to be complementary, not duplicative, to the work of others. Our aim is to improve the evidence base in selected areas associated with our other two strategic priorities in the arts – widening access and participation in the arts, and education and learning through the arts. Our focus will be the particular needs of our grantees and similar organisations.

Our work under this strategic priority will include:

  • Supporting grantees to capture and use better evidence
  • Filling some evidence gaps and collating existing evidence in areas where we think we can most add value
  • Disseminating evidence that helps people to understand the value of the arts

There are no plans for this strategic priority to be open to applications for funding.