Collaborative Connections evaluation

Evaluation of a community heritage project to develop audiences, creative programming and new models of site management

The evaluation methodology included:

  • Survey and interviews with community management group members

  • Interviews with Museums, Arts and Heritage Service staff

  • Discussions with council staff from other departments

  • Interviews with artists and external consultants

  • Observation of meetings and training (via online recordings)

  • Reflective logs completed by key staff

  • Analysis of social media data

  • Photographs of arts events and activities

  • Site visits

  • Outputs produced during the project (e.g. learning pack, films)

Highlights from the evaluation report

  • Collaborative Connections was devised and managed by Rotherham Museums, Arts & Heritage and funded by Historic England.

  • Participation and engagement in Collaborative Connections encompassed a range of activities – from social media engagement, to participation in events and involvement in community management groups.

  • The project increased awareness of local heritage sites, not only within local communities, but also amongst staff.

  • Engagement with the project via social media was stronger than expected, especially via Facebook.

  • Arts installations at the heritage sites were popular and helped to expand audiences to include those with less interest in traditional heritage approaches.

  • Expressing and sharing pride in the local area was an important outcome of the artist commissions, and of the project more widely.

  • Bringing communities together was challenging due to Covid restrictions, but Collaborative Connections demonstrated the possibilities for using the heritage sites to build greater community spirit.

  • Staff knowledge increased, not only of the heritage sites themselves, but also of the local communities surrounding them.

  • The project offered an opportunity to undertake active collecting in relation to heritage sites.

  • The project offered staff opportunities to explore new forms of digital engagement and develop both technical and communication skills.

  • Collaborative Connections enabled Rotherham Museums, Arts & Heritage to gain knowledge around working with communities and put infrastructure in place that can be used in the future with other groups.