Evaluation of the Building Resilience Programme

Client: Arts Council England

In 2016/17 Arts Council England (ACE) invested £1.8 million into the Building Resilience programme. The programme focused on exploring and piloting different approaches to long term sustainability, to increase resilience across the sector. Four external organisations each led a project focused on a different approach (or ‘theme’) to long-term sustainability:

  • Arts Manager International Limited focused on international philanthropy, with BOP consulting
  • Cass Business School at City University London focused on intellectual property, with The Culture Capital Exchange and Manchester Metropolitan University
  • People Make It Work focused on change management 
  • School for Social Entrepreneurs focused on diversity and entrepreneurship.

A total of 104 organisations took part, spanning all art forms as well as libraries, museums, architecture and publishing agencies.

In July 2019 ACE commissioned SQW to undertake an evaluation of the Building Resilience programme. The evaluation assessed the progress and outcomes of the programme against its main objectives, considered the successes and challenges, and developed a longitudinal evaluation framework for the programme and for use by ACE for future similar programmes.

Key outcomes emerging

Several positive outcomes emerged from the programme, at sector, organisational and individual levels.

Organisations benefited from an increasing ability to adapt and change. New networks and partnerships were created, which are anticipated to lead to future aligned activity, including common approaches to contracts. Organisations were supported to develop and articulate a shared vision and commitment, and there is evidence of income diversification and growth, including improved access to grants and generating revenue through marketing and re-branding. Individuals participating experienced outcomes, including a change in approaches to resilience and improved understanding of related issues, increased confidence and self-belief, and increased leadership skills. Some achieved promotions within their organisations or gained employment in other organisations.

Across the sector as a whole, knowledge is being spread as postholders take insights into new organisations and roles, and others learn about the programme and its models via dissemination activities underway.

The infographic below shows the key headlines regarding the evaluation.

For more details about the programme, please contact Nicola Saunders, Director, Business Improvement and Innovation, Arts Council England via nicola.saunders@artscouncil.org.uk. For more details about the evaluation, please contact Lauren Roberts, SQW Director, via lroberts@sqw.co.uk