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City of Culture Evaluation Interim Report Published

The monitoring and evaluation of Coventry UK City of Culture 2021 is a step-change in expectations around evaluation, impact reporting and learning. This interim report has been prepared and written by the Core Monitoring and Evaluation Team led by the University of Warwick and Coventry University.
In the video below, hear from Professor Jonothan Neelands, Director of Creative Partnerships and Academic Lead for Coventry City of Culture's Monitoring and Evaluation on what this new interim report tells us about the impact of cultural mega-events.

Further to the economic impact of Coventry being awarded UK City of Culture, the report also identifies substantial engagement of the local community with City of Culture projects; with 43% of tickets being issued to Coventry residents on reduced means, over 160,000 tickets issued in total (with a further 52,000 attendees of non-ticketed events), and over 1500 local artists and performers participating over the first six months of the programme. There has been cultural activity in all 18 Wards of the City and participation from all 42 neighbourhoods (MSOAs).

The investment linked to Coventry, after being awarded UK City of Culture, was identified thanks to a new evaluation methodology developed by the Coventry City of Culture Trust, led by Professor Jonothan Neelands of Warwick Business School, and has provided the widest and deepest evaluation of a City of Culture to date.

Supported by external evaluations of social and economic impact, the report uses innovations in the methods by which to evaluate the social value of Coventry’s time as UK City of Culture – including the pioneering use of non-cultural population and other data to better understand what makes the people, neighbourhoods and cultural needs of Coventry distinctive, and the means to understand the impact of City of Culture at a neighbourhood level.

Commenting on the development and benefits of the new methodology Professor Neelands said:


“This Interim Report outlines evidence of progress towards a wide range of outcomes and impacts achieved during the unique circumstances of a festival held during a global pandemic. New methods of evaluation allows us to understand the impact of UkCoC2021 in every neighbourhood in the City and residents on different income levels and from different ethnic backgrounds and cultures.”


The Coventry City of Culture Trust, in partnership with the University of Warwick, Coventry University and supported by Coventry City Council, committed to monitoring and evaluating the impact of being awarded UK City of Culture 2021 on the City. 

Established during the bidding period prior to Coventry winning the title, the evaluation programme has since evolved in the context of a broader UK policy and organisational environment that has seen a step-change in expectations around evaluation, impact reporting and learning. 

In late 2019, the Trust and partners devised a Theory of Change detailing four impact areas and fifteen measurable outcomes. These outcomes were derived from the public consultations leading to Coventry’s successful bid.