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PSI#18 Theatre Studies Conference Abstract on Evaluation

Evaluations and efficacies Andrew Ormston (UK) / Ben Walmsley, (UK) / Barbara Orel (Slovenia) Chair: Calvin Taylor

Two stories, one ending: plotting a new course for investment in creativity Andrew Ormston, Drew Wylie Ltd (UK)

Recent calls for a new ‘coherent narrative’ (O’Connor. J 2011) for the creative industries reflects a growing dilemma facing those in the business of creative and cultural investment. New initiatives such as the Creative Europe programme of the European Commission reflect a belief in the potential of the sector to continue to grow and to create employment and business opportunities for young people. European investment in national initiatives such as Creative Estonia rest on the same foundations. The words of Richard Florida still resonate, particularly in countries hungry to found new opportunities and ways of doing things. Yet those words have been used time and again to underpin the investment case for cultural industries initiatives where impacts have been shown to be as much, or even more to do with the social and cultural economies than the direct creation of wealth.

We may have triple bottom line assessment but the work of academics like Pierre Luigi Sacco is going to be increasingly important in demonstrating how cultural impact links to wellbeing impact which in turn links to economic impact. How are we to continue to develop our investment case and our evidence base over the coming years? We will need a methodology that conjoins the cultural and creative economies so the full weight of the sector can be recognised. We need ethical and philosophical underpinnings of the value of creativity and culture to be reintroduced into our evaluation. Finally we need a story that is as powerful as the wide ranging and deep impacts that our sector makes at local, national and international levels of development.

A range of case studies from the UK and wider Europe will be used to illustrate key points throughout this paper.