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The department commissioned this work to better understand and measure the public value created through government investments in arts and culture, and in the department’s role as a development agency for the sector.

The aims of the work were:

  • To generate a much sharper understanding of how public investments in the arts create value, enabling the department to make a stronger case for future investment, and to transform its performance as a public investor.
  • To engage with the arts sector to try to produce a measurement framework that sensitively reflects the understanding of how best to foster and measure artistic quality, engagement, and innovation.
  • To stimulate debate with other partner investors and key stakeholders across Australia about how the policy and practice of arts funding can be improved.

To meet these aims, the project team has:

  • Worked with the department to identify the key outputs, outcomes, and value it is trying to create through its public investment in arts and culture. This has led to modelling the links between the department’s policy framework and the measurement framework proposed.
  • Logic checked the resulting measurement framework against leading thinking on the ways in which a public funder might want to measure the value of its cultural investments. This ensures that the measurement framework the department will be using reflects best practice understandings around the definition and measurement of the value created by arts and cultural activity.

As a consequence of this approach, the proposed measurement framework has two important users. Firstly, the department, as it harnesses the measurement framework to its investment and evaluation activities. Secondly, the broader arts and cultural sector as it plan its efforts to measure the value it contributes. In producing the framework, the project team has been challenging the department to bring clarity to its intentions and ambitions as an investor with the expectation that the measurement framework will provoke similar challenges to the broader arts and cultural sector in Australia and elsewhere.

This short paper presents the Public Value Measurement Framework (PVMF) model generated by the work, and practical reflections about how to model questions of public and cultural value from the perspective of an active public funder.

Page reviewed 11 September 2023