Cultural Data Project releases Slover Linett report on arts data

January 14, 2014

The Cultural Data Project (CDP) today released "New Data Directions for the Cultural Landscape: Toward a Better-Informed, Stronger Sector," a whitepaper by Sarah Lee and Peter Linett of Slover Linett. The paper offers an assessment of the state of data collection and use in the arts & culture sector and recommends a more strategic, coordinated approach to developing new information resources to improve the sector's performance, vitality, and public impact. 

Slover Linett was commissioned by the CDP to convene a group of 11 leading researchers from academia and the consulting world in an online dialogue about the state and future of the cultural data landscape. These experts discussed how data is and could be used to help cultural organizations become more financially stable, more artistically and/or programmatically meaningful, and better equipped to both generate and demonstrate public value.

“The cultural sector faces a number of challenges in collecting reliable organizational data,” says Lee, “as well as in actually using that data for learning and decision-making.” Based on input from the dialogue participants, Lee and Linett recommend that the sector look not only at collecting more data, but at changing attitudes, creating tools, and increasing skills to make better use of the data.

The participants in the dialogue were Alan Brown (WolfBrown), Anne Gadwa Nicodemus (Metris Arts Consulting), John Jacobsen (White Oak Institute), Roland J. Kushner (Muhlenberg College), Larry McGill (The Foundation Center), Ian David Moss (Fractured Atlas), Susan Nelson (TDC), Jennifer Novak-Leonard (Cultural Policy Center at the University of Chicago), Zannie Voss (National Center for Arts Research), Joanna Woronkowicz (Indiana University), and Margaret Wyszomirski (The Ohio State University).

The whitepaper was commissioned by the CDP as part of an examination of progress within the sector: How far have the CDP and others come in the development of thinking and practices regarding the use of data for the advancement of arts and culture in the US? In addition, the paper was meant to contribute to an understanding of what resources may be needed in the future and what role the CDP itself might play. 

Throughout 2014, the CDP will convene cultural researchers, funders in the arts, and art and cultural practitioners in further ongoing dialogue and planning to develop action strategies addressing the paper’s findings and recommendations.

For more information, please visit, or download the whitepaper PDF here. We welcome your responses or questions; please contact Sarah Lee at (773) 348-9200 x104 or by email.

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