Evaluating research impacts: ‘The Exchange’

the exchange - workshop

We’re developing new ways to capture the wider impacts of collaborative research in partnership with The Cultural Capital Exchange (TCCE)’s project The Exchange and Gemma Burford of Green Spiral. The Exchange was funded by HEFCE and Arts Council England and aimed to establish a national network to promote collaborative research between early career researchers (ECRs) and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the cultural and creative sector. The evaluative approach was based on the methodologies developed as part of the AHRC’s Creating Living Knowledge programme, in the Legacies project Starting from Values, led by Prof Marie Harder, on which Gemma and I had previously collaborated. Gemma extended this innovative evaluation approach and worked with Paula Graham-Gazzard at Fossbox to build a prototype platform supporting ECRs in developing and carrying through collaborative community research projects, gathering evaluative data as the projects progressed.

We found that one of the most significant achievements of this pilot was the development of skills for both academics and creatives in the interrelated areas of understanding my partner’s world and understanding how to work collaboratively.. This study is a powerful testament to the ability of academic/creative partnerships to work together effectively to co-create and implement shared visions, even in the face of multiple challenges and barriers relating to factors such as time, distance, conceptual differences, and the management of expectations that were initially unrealistic. It confirms the initial belief that specific, directed, investment in collaborative research at the level of micro-projects and one-to-one partnerships can provide a substantial return.

The final report will be published shortly and we’ll be looking at how to develop the prototype further in our future research collaborations.

Download our interim report: The Exchange – Final Evaluation 2017 [PDF | 2MB]