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Social Impacts ~ DCA

Social Impacts

The John Butler Trio at Fremantle Arts Centre. Photo by David Craddock.
Social Impacts of Culture and the Arts WA

DLGSC Culture and the Arts WA engaged Culture Counts to undertake this research project to align social instrumental outcomes with the current Public Value Measurement Framework (PVMF) and identify appropriate techniques, metrics and data collection approaches to enable the quantification of social impact. 

The Social Impacts of Culture and the Arts WA report and its application are part of the further development of the overall Public Value Measurement model.    

What it captures: 
The report contains a literature review identifying positive social impacts linked to artistic and cultural activities and concludes that there are social instrumental impacts that can be quantified. The focus lies on three main areas of social instrumental impacts: health, education and social capital.   

There are several steps involved in the process of quantifying the impacts of arts and cultural activities, including establishing a base case, finding evidence of an impact (causal relationship), identifying the scale of the impact and impacted population, and linking the impact to a financial proxy.  

What is next: 
This is a first step towards operationalising the measurement of intangible social benefits, a highly complex area of public value in relation to government investment. It proposes preliminary techniques and dimensions (metric statements) related to health, education and social capital that can be included in the current PVMF.

Arts and cultural organisations will have the potential to integrate the social impact dimensions in their evaluations when using the Culture Counts software platform. This will allow the sector to start gathering social impact related insights on an event by event basis while also contributing to whole of sector aggregated data. At the same time, the work acknowledges limitations in the space of accurately quantifying social impacts. This model introduces an approach requiring further testing and engagement from academia and other experts in the field. 

For more detail or questions, please get in touch with the research team at Culture and the Arts WA at or with Culture Counts at  


Social Impacts of Culture and the Arts WA

Full Report (PDF, 5Mb)