Dementia Connect: Co - Designing a Creative Economy Healthcare Hub. Creative Vouchers Scheme Evaluation Report
This report is an evaluation of the creative voucher scheme used in the Dementia Connect (DC) project. DC was an Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) Follow-on Funding project which drew on core learning and collective expertise from the AHRC’s ‘Knowledge Exchange Hubs’ for the Creative Economy (2012 – 2016). The project was designed to spur health innovation – broadly defined - in the Dementia care sector through collaboration and engagement with the creative and cultural economy (CCE) – specifically the growing field of ‘Arts and Healthcare’ (AAH). The DC project mainly drew on its creative voucher scheme (CVS) as the primary tool of engagement. While the CVS is a funding scheme, there are a number of components and complementarities within the voucher scheme delivery system which allows it to be an effective and adaptable instrument of engagement in this type of cross-disciplinary setting. The type of method used to evaluate the DC CVS is openended interviews with collaborators - using thematic analysis to connect learning from four out of the six voucher collaborations. Cross sectional themes were drawn upon to evaluate the effectiveness of the CVS in the context of the DC project. The parameters that make up the evaluation of the CVS include two areas. First, interviews examined the extent to which the process of ‘co-creation’ and ‘knowledge exchange’ happened within the collaborations; secondly, particularities of external brokerage provided by the DC team were examined. These two themes were the most prevalent emerging from the interviews. The findings show that internally (i.e. within the collaborations): (1) cross-sectoral and organisational familiarity, where previous experience in these areas, were beneficial with dealing with challenges associated to time constraints but might do so at the expense of cross-sectoral learning; (2) partnerships that were new were more easily disrupted by logistical challenges as well as managing partner expectations; (3) funding amount unlocked more in-kind support but needed to be managed by project leads to ensure selfexploitation does not occur; (4) funding amount allowed for more exploration due to a lack of interim reporting; (5) funding amount acted as a stimulus to projects which may have never been funded due to constraints of large amounts of funding. Externally: (1) Managing and testing of new partnerships translated into a need for more brokerage in order to facilitate new partnerships; (2) new levels of brokerage bordering on a new role of bricoleur / bricolage which takes place at the pre-application stage is necessary when in new cross-sectoral contexts; (3) the importance of previous experience of venues delivering cross-disciplinary events which are vital to the delivery of the CVS is critical. In this particular case the voucher scheme seemed to do four important things: unlocked in-kind support, supported exploratory research, catalysed new areas of research, and led to strong partnerships.