Applied Practice

Evidence and Impact in Theatre, Music and Art

Theatre (Matthew Reason and Nick Rowe)

The origins of this book rest in a symposium that Matthew Reason and Nick Rowe organised at YSJU in 2014, titled Elusive Evidence. Inviting contributors from across the UK and guests from the US, this event brought together a diverse range of approaches to documenting and researching arts in health, education, community and social contexts. One of the outcomes of this was an edited collection, published in 2017.

This book, Applied Practice: Evidence and Impact in Theatre, Music and Art, engages with a diversity of contexts, locations and arts forms – including theatre, music and fine art – and brings together theoretical, political and practice-based perspectives on the question of ‘evidence’ in relation to participatory arts practice in social contexts. This collection is a unique contribution to the field, focusing on one of the vital concerns for a growing and developing set of arts and research practices. It asks us to consider evidence not only in terms of methodology but also in the light of the ideological, political and pragmatic implications of that methodology.

In Part One, Matthew Reason and Nick Rowe reflect on evidence and impact in the participatory arts in relation to recurring conceptual and methodological motifs. These include issues of purpose and obliquity; the relationship between evidence and knowledge; intrinsic and instrumental impacts, and the value of participatory research.

Part Two explores the diversity of perspectives, contexts and methodologies in examining what it is possible to know, say and evidence about the often complex and intimate impact of participatory arts.

Part Three brings together case studies in which practitioners and practice-based researchers consider the frustrations, opportunities and successes they face in addressing the challenge to produce evidence for the impact of their practice.

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