Ruth Melville

Measuring the Unmeasurable: Exploring the Impact of Measurement on Value in the Arts

Ruth Melville

PhD student, University of Essex

Start of the project: October 2011

Funding: Essex Doctoral Training Centre and firstsite

Co-supervisor: Michael Bailey

Abstract: Recognising the increasing emphasis on the need to evidence social and economic impact in order to receive government funding in the UK arts sector, my research looks at measurement of impact, and how it affects how people value within the arts. As an area where value is personal and shifting, and relies on aesthetic judgement and other hard to measure signifiers, the arts are a particularly interesting case study through which to understand how measurement and value interrelate. My research takes a case study ethnographic approach, working with firstsite, a contemporary visual arts centre in Colchester which is a collaborative partner for the PhD and in which I will be embedded for the fieldwork.

Contact: rmelvil AT