It is important to consider the work of an evaluation lab as it is timely and essential in the current generation in which the cultural equity in arts has advanced to a great extent. The artists and cultural workers are deeply embedding the social justice involved in their work at the margins of the sector in funding, and this has made their work invisible by most of the established institutions. Moreover, the work that they do is infrequently summed up by the usual metrics that the funder need. The measurement of change is an estimable task.
How can you measure those things that are not easily visible to our eyes such as the dark matter of the arts and culture? Well, the dark matter cannot be measured or seen, but it is claimed to contribute to a majority of the universe. Likewise, the dark matter of art as well as social justice cannot be easily measured. There are measurements, but these show up only in stories, history, relationships and memory. The standard evaluation practices try to measure the completed event cycle, but the social change will not happen within a timeframe. The practice of measuring a work is comparable to taking a very small frame snap of a huge ecosystem.
The work of the arts as well as the social justice sector is quite diverse as the different communities that ground these works. Most of the works in the arts and social justice sector are viewed as a field of experiments in the creative development and human interaction. Practically, artists should have the ability to advance their work with a theoretical framework and afford the space to discuss each step of this process. Even the outcomes and the learning of the results of this work have been provided clearly. This scenario will recognize that both the processes development and engagement and the final product are tied together. Evaluation is quite iterative, and it should not be motivated by the requirements for the results that talk to the bottom line. The philanthropists have the opportunity to redefine their role of being a partner from a funder.
As per Rise Wilson’s blog, one should not give too much of power if the tools or terminology is not their flavor. If a person creates a language that will guide the field that should be rooted instead of being forced by the study, the process will create a disconnection and knowledge gap from the sector. In fact, it is essential to understand and evaluate the dysfunction. The language without placemaking, aesthetics, and metrics is not the one that is used in the communities that are served by art. The evaluation labs are places where the partnerships, relationships, and collaborations are valued greatly. There are multiple perspectives from artists, funders, analysts, community members, etc. in the evaluation labs.