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Culture Counts - Flying Arts

Flying Arts CEO Kerryanne Farrar reflects on what the organisation learnt about surveying educator workshops using Culture Counts' digital platform as part of Arts Queensland's 2016 pilot.

Flying Arts Alliance has a strong track record of surveying clients and participants to improve the quality and relevance of our programs. With over 200 individual activities conducted in 2016, attracting over 3,400 individual participants, many of which were conducted across the state and hosted by other organisations or groups; and over 28,900 attendees at regional, metro and online galleries, we sometimes have gaps in the collection of participant feedback.

We were keen to use Culture Counts to evaluate one of our workshop streams delivered in Brisbane – our Art Educator Professional Development program. In addition we trialed a workshop in a regional location at Jimboomba, which was part of our ‘by request’ program. We wanted to trial the use of Culture Counts’ quality dimensions with the quantitative and qualitative data we usually collect, and integrate with a digital platform with potential for national and international benchmarking. Few before us had used Culture Counts to evaluate workshops, which is why we were selected to be part of the Culture Counts trial.

We found the demographic information collected through Culture Counts was consistent with our standard profile of attendees to the arts educator workshops. However, Culture Counts allowed us to identify that 31% of attendees were new to Flying Arts, and of those that had accessed our services before, 45% had equally participated in webinars and other similar professional development workshops for art educators. In addition, 36% had accessed online resources and made workshop bookings in the past. This provided confirmation that our range of services are being well utilised by participants.

We chose eight 'quality' dimensions – Captivation, Rigour, Relevance, Meaning, Practice Development, Artistic Skills, Motivation and Connection. The responses to the quality dimensions across the public, peer and self-assessment were mixed. While consistently high ratings above 80% were reported across all activities by the public; the pre- and post-activity ratings fluctuated from the peer and self-assessment surveys due to four different facilitators (peers) and the unforeseen change in internal staff (self-assessment) which meant that different people responded before and after the activity. Changing staff is a challenge working in a small organisation and ideally would not be present in a pilot project like this. 

Given that we often have 100% of participants fill out hard copy surveys at the end of a workshop, one of our ongoing challenges is the time it takes to manually enter data from paper-based surveys into our database. By participating in the trial, we were interested to see how an application on digital tablets could assist this process. 

We were moderately successful in capturing over half of the respondents' data digitally. However, given the large number of unique locations our business is conducted in, the relatively small numbers that attend each activity and inconsistencies in regional digital connectivity, we need to continue to survey participants at activities using hard copy surveys at this point in time.  

This meant during the trial we had to manually enter data into the Culture Counts platform as well as into our database and this was time-consuming. The experience has highlighted that we have some work to do to move to a digital platform such as Culture Counts. 

What was really valuable was that we did practically explore how 'quality' dimensions might be used in our context and, from our experience of Culture Counts, we are now reviewing all our survey instruments across our five portfolio areas. We are standardising questions across all surveys and building in flexibility to continue to gather specific feedback. The analysis of data is a key focus for us so we can continue to be responsive to our stakeholders.

Read more about the experiences of other organisations with Culture Counts including Creative Regions, Red Ridge, Cairns Indigenous Arts Fair, Brisbane Writers Festival and UPLIT and Blue Roo.



Kerryanne Farrer, CEO of Flying Arts Alliance Inc. has had a career in the creative industries spanning 30 years, and has always been passionate about producing and facilitating contemporary arts and cultural the make a difference to the lives of Queenslanders. Kerryanne has produced festivals, shows and events, directed cabarets and carnivals, chaired organisations, sat on panels, run creative enterprises and facilitated educative experiences and courses for children, young people and adults from diverse backgrounds and regions. As a Regional Arts Development Officer, she facilitated 15 communities across Queensland to re-invent their towns through arts place-making initiatives. Currently in the pilot seat as Executive Officer of Flying Arts Alliance, Kerryanne combines her dedication to access for Regional Queenslanders together with her working knowledge of the arts and culture. Flying Arts Alliance has a vision to inspire the appreciation, practice and professional development of visual arts as a lifetime interest or career, especially to those with limited access across regional and remote Queensland. For individual artists, young artists and educators, Flying Arts offers an exciting selection of scheduled programs to assist with developing practice, exploring career options or increasing business acumen. For schools and creative communities such as art groups, organisations, festivals, local governments and galleries, a large range of by request programs and services are offered, that can be delivered anywhere in Queensland. 


Top image: Flying Arts Paper Cutting workshop. Photo: Elysha Rei