Look, I am priceless! IETM’s new toolkit on how to assess your organisation

IETM, International network for contemporary performing arts, launches its publication Look, I’m priceless! Handbook on how to assess your artistic organisation, which aims to guide art professionals through the key steps of evaluating their organisations, whether they have chosen to do it themselves or if a funder or decision-maker asks them to do so and provides them with pre-conceived tools. 

The first part of the toolkit provides the reader with an insight in the general principles that structure the evaluation process; the second part lists and explains the various tools an art organisation might choose to use for their evaluation; the Annex includes a blank template that can be adapted to specific needs, and a visual summary of the self-evaluation process.
The toolkit builds on the belief that arts organisations need to be equipped with the right tools to defend their own agenda when it comes to define, measure and investigate what is the ‘value’ of arts to our troubled societies. Art should not be reduced to a policy instrument and should not follow any agenda other than its own. That is the core principle that guided this toolkit too. That is why the publication does not follow the typical self-evaluation toolkit pattern, which predefines the ‘value’ and elaborates allegedly universal tools to assess it. Instead, it allows the organisation to decide whether the focus of its evaluation will be ‘innovation’, ‘participation’, ‘vibrancy’, ‘inclusion’, ‘artistic excellency’ or anything else the organisation considers important. 
The toolkit considers the variety of contexts it may be applied within, and so it addresses both organisations able to commission evaluation to external experts and organisations conducting evaluation in-house. 
Look, I’m priceless! Handbook on how to assess your artistic organisation is written by Vassilka Shishkova, independent arts and culture impact researcher, and published by IETM. 


IETM is a network of over 500 performing arts organisations and individual members working in the contemporary performing arts worldwide: theatre, dance, circus, interdisciplinary live art forms, new media. IETM advocates for the value of the arts and culture in a changing world and empowers performing arts professionals through access to international connections, knowledge and a dynamic forum for exchange.

Vassilka Shishkova is an independent arts and culture impact researcher based in Sofia, Bulgaria. Her quest for finding strong evidence of the impact of cultural projects in the NGO sector started in 2011 when she joined the Global Libraries Bulgaria Programme, an initiative funded by The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, under the management of UNDP and the Ministry of Culture of Bulgaria. Since then she has been engaged in the evaluation of libraries and cultural centres. Vassilka has been collaborating with IETM for publications on the impact of the arts since 2015. For the purposes of this publication she has studied the examples of evaluation procedures at several IETM member organisations along with her work as a recorder at the RECcORD project (2016-17).