Front cover of Blue Cabin's impact framework

Blue Cabin’s Impact Framework

Developed through a collaboration between Blue Cabin and tialt (There is an Alternative), this framework allows us to capture the impact of our work.

In 2023, Blue Cabin began working with tialt, a social enterprise which designs creative research tools for positive social impact. We wanted to develop new ways of capturing the impact of our work, across all our programmes.

Together, we’ve created an Impact Framework which Blue Cabin is now piloting. Its development was supported by Funding Plus, from the Esmee Fairbairn Foundation.

What were our aims?

A more holistic approach to evaluation

Up until 2022 we had often reported on a project-by-project basis to a range of funders. While this helped us to produce some useful data gathering and analysis techniques, there was a need to review these and develop some approaches to impact evaluation that were more closely matched to our organisational values and the creative practice on which our impact is based.

Tools for sharing stories

There was also a need to create tools that enabled us to tell the stories that are emerging from our work in a way that is accessible and engaging, while also considering issues of ethics and ownership of data collection processes and the capturing and sharing of stories.

Some key considerations in measuring our impact

  • The range of outcomes: due to the range and scale of Blue Cabin’s work, there will be lots of different outcomes for different people, far more than some arts organisations.
  • Capturing these outcomes: with such a variety of outcomes anticipated from our projects, capturing the outcomes effectively is complex, takes a lot of time and needs different methods for each project.
  • Telling the whole story: due to the number and variety of anticipated outcomes, it is complex for Blue Cabin to share a comprehensive but easy to understand story of the organisation and its work.
  • Indicators and evidence: the current indicators and evidence Blue Cabin use may not be capturing the depth of outcomes across projects.
  • Taking a trauma-informed approach: Blue Cabin is working to become trauma-informed and it was important that any new framework aligned with this.
  • Ethics and ownership: throughout the process we considered the ethics and ownership of data collection processes and the capturing and sharing of stories.

Developing the impact framework

Over a six-month period tialt reviewed Blue Cabin’s existing evaluation methods and explored the work of Blue Cabin through interviews, reflective learning sessions, a literature review and relational objects and relational songs.

This led to:

  • Conversations about the development of new creative methods to capture stories and impact
  • The creation of an adaptable, useful, and useable impact framework (download a copy here)
  • The development of two case studies across two of Blue Cabin’s core projects, which can be used as frameworks for future case studies
  • The creation of an evaluation report

How we now measure the impact of our work

An organisation-wide framework means we can better understand and articulate what we are achieving and the impact we are having, across the diverse stakeholders we work with.

The following diagram shows how some of the elements of our work link together to achieve longer term impact, particularly around systems change.

https://wearebluecabin.com/wp-content/uploads/2024/07/Impact-diagramme-.jpg

Across each of our strands of work there is a common set of outcomes and impacts that are observable, and we will continue to explore how these are achieved using a range of methodologies adapted to the needs and circumstances of those taking part.

Blue Cabin's Impact Framework

Download a copy of our Impact Framework here.