An innovative methodology. MESOC adapted and further developed a method derived from a previous Unesco Chair publication, to build a structural model of The Societal Dimension of Culture, as defined by one of the strategic objectives of the new European Agenda for Culture, which is used as evaluative tool to assess the societal value and impacts of cultural policies and practices related to three crossover themes of the Agenda : Health and Wellbeing, Urban and Territorial Renovation, People's Engagement and Participation.
An alternative approach to impact measurement, based on an ex-ante and/or ex-post reconstruction of the underlying theory of change supporting innovations in cultural policies and practices.
Cooperation with relevant third parties (particularly international statistical and policy research institutions such as Unesco, OECD, JRC and Eurostat) was actively searched and maintained since the early project stages. Other stakeholders at national and regional levels were captured during the awareness raising, dissemination and surveying activities.
A participative and co-creative approach in MESOC deployed in two main stages:
- for the validation, at pilot City level, of the initial evidence gathered through literature search and analysis, confirmed by Delphi consultations of domain experts;
- for the broadening, at European level, of the scope and potential of the suggested evaluation method and toolkit, via user and stakeholder surveys.
Testing of the MESOC Structural model within the 11 City pilots materialized through:
- Building an online repository of relevant cultural policies and practices to extract the most appropriate impact transmission variables and indicators in retrospect, and to analyze what have been the critical success factors in determining the final outcomes of the selected transition pathway(s). (Survey Evaluation Approach)
- Establishing a policy dialogue with public officials and top/middle managers in charge of culture at city level, to define a suitable group of ongoing/forthcoming projects and initiatives, with the aim of identifying the key impact transmission variables in each case, and to propose indicators to measure the societal impacts of those activities according to the underlying “theory of change”. (Build Up Evaluation Approach)
The ultimate, expected output of the project is the MESOC Toolkit. It is a Free and Open Access, online service to be used by both researchers and practitioners (the latter including both policy makers and cultural operators from all over the EU) to measure the societal value and impacts of cultural policies and practices.