We are passionate about monitoring and evaluating our impact – one of the key measures of our success is how we help individuals achieve personal change – and we are equally passionate about advocating the unique power of contemporary dance to help achieve social change.
Demonstrating how and why our programmes work is critical to our credibility, and for this reason we have worked with Dr Andrew Miles, University of Manchester to design and implement an evaluation methodology for the Academy programme. A key aspect of this evaluation has been recording the positive impact the Academy programme makes on participants’ ‘capacity to learn’, and how this turnaround helps them in their future lives.
What’s more, in what represents a radical departure from normal practice in the arts and criminal justice sector, Dance United employs a social anthropologist as a fulltime embedded researcher at the Academy. Ethnographic research provides insights into the dance mediated processes of change, while the systematic collection of data continues to track the success of the effects of the programme after participants have taken part.
I can do more than what I thought I could, I learnt new skills. I didn’t think I could do this and six weeks later I’m at the end of it getting awards and stuff. At first I didn’t really find it appealing but now it’s like a daily routine.