How the Arts Measure Up

Australian Research into Social Impact

Deidre Williams

Debates about community art—what it is, why it is important and how to assess its value— have abounded in Australia for more than 20 years. Historically the work has been primarily resourced through government arts funding programs. This has generated a continuing problem in that community arts projects have been required to demonstrate their value against the criteria of the relevant arts funding bodies.

This Working Paper, no 8 in the series, was written by Deidre Williams, a former community arts worker and now an arts consultant, from South Australia. Deidre conducted the only substantial research into the social impact of community arts projects which we have come across, published as Creating Social Capital in 1996. She draws on, and updates, this unique Australian research to make a powerful case for recognition of the diverse benefits arising from community art, and the factors on which they depend.

Source: Article Preface