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OUR PUBLICATIONS > A critical review of the Creative Partnerships archive

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A critical review of the Creative Partnerships archive

January 7, 2015

Authors: Pat Thomson, Rebecca Coles and Maddy Hallewell with Jan Keane

Institution: Arts & Humanities Research Council, The University of Nottingham

Full reference: Thomson, P., Coles, R., Hallewell, M., & Keane, J. (n.d.). A critical review of the Creative Partnerships archive: How was cultural value understood, researched and evidenced?


The Creative Partnerships (CP) archive offers the opportunity to understand more about the impact and effects of creative practitioners, mainly artists, working with students, teachers and schools. This report examines what CP commissioned research might have to say about the cultural value of the CP offer, as well as the ways in which this research was conceptualised. The research identified and critically analysed publicly accessible documents that explore or evaluate the CP programme comissioned directly by CP or by Creativity, Culture and Education (CCE), along with the two dedicated websites, and the types of research undertaken.

The report suggests that CP cultural offer was understood as having both extrinsic and intrinsic values. Like schooling more generally, CP always understood its mandate to be wide-ranging. Because of its focus on creativity, CP did not see its outcomes as being about arts learning, but about learning more generally. There is some research evidence in the archive for CP supporting modest gains in learning within formal school curriculum areas, as measured by tests and exams. There is stronger evidence for it encouraging enjoyment and engagement in school: this evidence ranges from improvements in attendance to increased motivation. The analysis of the publicly available research in the CP archive suggests that overall the programme did produce considerable benefits for young people in the areas of wellbeing, citizenship and work-related skills and habits, areas of interest to the AHRC cultural value programme. There were also learning gains for teachers through the professional development opportunities on offer.

CP’s commissioned research was designed to provide ‘evidence’ of impact, but also to inform the development of the programme through theory building and the provision of heuristics for teacher and school learning. This is an approach of interest to future arts and creativity initiatives.

Read the report.