October 22, 2012 by Amy Ryall
Francois Matarasso is a community artist, researcher and consultant in socially engaged arts practice. He has some interesting things to say on his blog, like this post on the problem of arts impact The Problem of ‘Impact’
Arts and Humanities faces the perennial problem of having to demonstrate impact in a scientific way when what arts and humanities activity achieves is almost always not scientific. For many of us, we will never know the true ‘impact’ of the work that we do or have done. It’s too long term, too ethereal and because of that, almost unmeasurable in hard terms. Rarely is there a clear path that can be traced from activty to action. Because of this, it is crucial to think about why activity is taking place and what it can achieve for participants, but in inclusive and participatory terms. To reiterate a point already made on here, public engagement should not be done to people to achieve institutional targets, its effects and impact are more important than that.