DEADLINE EXTENDED – Doctoral project in collaboration with Manchester Metropolitan University

Posted on 24 May 2013

Castlefield Gallery has teamed up with Manchester Metropolitan University to offer an Industry-based Full Doctoral Studentship. The extended deadline is Fri 28 June 2013.

New ways of articulating the value of the arts: the challenges and opportunities of evaluating Greater Manchester’s talent development offer to visual artists: a collaboration with the Castlefield Gallery, Manchester (REF: JA2013/4d)

Project summary

Finding new ways to articulate value is the defining debate for all involved with arts and cultural policy (Belfiore, 2012). This doctoral project will contribute new knowledge by working with our partner organisation Castlefield Gallery to devise and trial methodologies of evaluation that reflect the workings of small arts organisations and the deferred impact of their talent development offer to visual artists  – something about which little is known (Thelwall, 2010). It is currently standard practice to define the value of the arts using functional and quantitative measures such as footfall, external funding etc. (Holden 2010; Bakshi, Freeman & Hitchen 2009; Knell & Taylor 2011; Flemming & Erskine 2011). These measures have been criticized for missing complex cultural values, dichotomizing instrumental and intrinsic values and favouring high impact organisations over small and medium sized ones (Thelwall 2010; Belfiore 2013). For smaller organisations whose activities display ‘non-commercial tendencies’ and/or have deferred impact, such performance indicators are ill-suited to their unique particularities and strengths (Thelwall, 2010, Gordon-Nesbitt, 2012).

The student will develop a consensus-building programme in Greater Manchester with arts organisations and artists at different stages of their careers to agree new ways of evaluating and articulating value, focusing on artists’ talent development. The student’s time will be divided equally between Castlefield Gallery (developing the methodology, conducting primary research and developing a framework for the data analysis) and MIRIAD/MMU (research skills training, analysing data, writing the research report and thesis).

Data from the research process itself will also be captured to assess the impact of the research on the professional community. Findings will be widely disseminated for use in other regions. The research will increase MMU’s capacity to bid for funding (leading to an AHRC Standard grant bid) and consultancy work and inform MSA/MIRIAD’s articulation of the value of its arts curriculum, ATD and artistic research.

Project aims and objectives

The project aim is to develop and test methodologies for evaluating the impact of artists’ talent development opportunities (ATD) in ways that can become part of organisational learning and be integrated with more functional quantitative measures.

Project objectives are to: a) model new methodologies for assessing ATD opportunities; b) assist arts organisations in articulating the value of their work with artists; c) build capacity for Research and Knowledge Exchange opportunities in the area of cultural value and artists’ development; d) identify and capture data to evaluate the impact of the research project.

Specific requirements of the project

It is desirable for the candidate to have a 1st or 2.1 at undergraduate level and an MA in an Arts and Humanities or Social Science subject.  Equivalent professional experience may also be considered. The student will have access to training in appropriate research methods and other relevant and generic skills in MIRIAD/Manchester School of Art. The PGR will gain experience not normally available in academia through in-depth access to Castlefield Gallery’s expertise through engaging with the gallery as place of exhibition and talent development.

Supervisory team

1)       Dr Amanda Ravetz (DoS) (Senior Research Fellow, MIRIAD, MMU)

2)       Mr Kwong Lee (Executive Director, Castlefield Gallery, Manchester)

3)       Dr Steve Gartside (Research Fellow, MIRIAD, MMU)

4)       Dr Beccy Kennedy (Lecturer, Contemporary Art History)

5)       Dr Alison Slater (Advisor) ( Temporary Lecturer in Contemporary Art History)

DoS Contact details: Tel: 0161 247 4606; Email: a.ravetz(at)

Draft proposals for feedback are welcomed before the deadline to a.ravetz(at) You can also contact the supervisors Amanda Ravetz <A.Ravetz(at)> and Kwong Lee <kwong(at)> to arrange a time to discuss your application either on the telephone or to meet for an informal chat.

MIRIAD reference REF JA2013/4d