This is the third (and final) post for the Measuring the Impact of Festivals and Events on Thursday 6 August. The second post detailed some background readings, and this post looks at social and cultural impact measures.
WHAT ARE SOCIAL AND CULTURAL IMPACTS?
Events can produce enormously important social impacts for regions or populations and while some events may not be economically significant, they may be culturally important. As well, there are funding opportunities for events that provide important social and community impacts.
The indicators we measure are more nuanced, showing how an event has made an impact (positive or negative) on individuals, groups, event organisers, volunteers and staff, as well as the local community in terms of attitudes, behaviour, learning and well-being / belonging.
Social impact measures we have used included:
- Socialisation – within the group and with others in the host community
- Meeting new people
- Sharing their experiences during or post-festival – via social media and other channels
- Being an inclusive event
Cultural impact measures included:
- Being inspired
- Undertaking further research/finding out about aspects of culture that tweaked their interest
- Expressing a desire to return to the event or other similar ones
- Developing a sense of pride in their culture – whether it be Indigenous, LGBTQIA+, music, vintage cars …
We measure these impacts in three ways:
- Questions in the onsite survey to gain quantitative stats
- Depth interviews with stakeholders, event organisers, staff and volunteers Council, Traditional Owners, F&B vendors and anyone else identified by the client
- Online focus groups with attendees, sometimes broken down by specific criteria (for example parents, non-car enthusiasts, first-time or repeat attendees, young people, recruited via an onsite survey ad using GroupQuality
QUESTIONS TO ASK
Question areas include:
- Develop pride in local traditions and customs
- Play an important role in tourism
- Help people feel a sense of belonging and involvement
- Involve people in local projects
- Promote contact and cooperation across different cultures
- Develop community and social networks
- Develop contact across different age groups
- Did event increase employment opportunities
- Opportunities to meet new people
- Preservation of local culture/heritage
- Provision of new or improved facilities and infrastructure
There can also be negative outcomes that can be uncovered and unpacked, especially for host communities:
- Bad behaviour
- Increase in crime
- Excessive drinking
- Damage to environment, litter and waste
- Traffic and parking issues
- See money spent on events rather than community needs
- Police issues
For event attendees specifically you want to find out:
- Satisfaction indicators
- What else they did while in the locale and broader
- Expectations met / not met
- Why did they visit – serendipity / planned?
- Increase understanding of and empathy towards other cultures
- Socialisation – within their group, with others in the host community, meet new people
- (for families) More likely to take their children to similar cultural events as a result of their experience
- More likely to take greater risks in their cultural choices and explore new cultural experiences as a result of the event
- Accessibility needs met
- Behaviour change
- The event is a stimulus to further attendance at similar cultural events
- Increased understanding of other cultures, finding out more (reading, media, purchasing, etc)
ECONOMIC IMPACT – FINAL WORDS
Here’s some easy economic questions (from the 2019 AMaGA Conference delegate survey, with permission).
- What was the ONE main reason for attending AMaGA 2019?
- Conference program
- Keynote speakers
- Was funded to attend
- Present a paper, workshop, panel
- Conference location
- How many nights did you stay in total in Alice Springs where the conference was held?
- Less than 4
- More than 5
- How many nights did you stay in the Territory in total, including those spent at the conference?
- Less than 4
- More than 10
- Did you travel elsewhere in the Territory?
- Did you travel with another person who did not attend the conference?
- Approximately how much did you spend while in Alice Springs on the following:
- Food and beverage
- Other purchases (e.g. books, artworks, jewellery, gifts)
- Local transport (excluding airfares)
I added the figures from the last question, did some fiddling, and came up with a rough impact measure – for AMaGA 2019 overall delegates spent around a total of $561,000 or around $1,800 per delegate. This data was used when talking to future venues and in sponsorship proposals, and is extremely important.
Find out about upcoming webinars on the AMaGA website.