MONITORING AND EVALUATION 

Collecting data and monitoring the progress of “Kaunas 2022” is an essential part of preparation for the European Capital of Culture 2022. In accordance with the ECoC panel’s recommendations, the monitoring plan of “Kaunas 2022” has been established and is already being implemented. In order to monitor the impact of European Capital of Culture in Kaunas, several layers of data collection and analysis have been established.

The plan for monitoring the preparation for ECoC in Kaunas consists of assessing internal performance and external impact of “Kaunas 2022”. In order to assess the external impact, we established a scheme involving various objective indicators to monitor the internal performance of “Kaunas 2022” and its partners. Internal examination will serve as an inspection of progress of the “Kaunas 2022” programmes. It will help to evaluate, if the progress of individual projects meets the primary expectations. Internal assessment is also an important contribution to a broader perspective of the performance of “Kaunas 2022”, which is needed to analyse the external impact of ECoC. Furthermore, in order to monitor the external impact, a complex research will be conducted by a team of researchers. By analysing economic, social and cultural impacts of ECoC in Kaunas, the study will show how the project contributes to the development of Kaunas City and District.

The indicators to monitor and evaluate the performance of “Kaunas 2022” have been implemented in consultation with monitoring specialists and other professionals of the cultural fields. In order to carry out the monitoring and evaluation plan, a wide range of indicators are being collected by a team effort of “Kaunas 2022” and its partners. The involvement of partners in the “Kaunas 2022” activities comes with a requirement to keep a transparent record of the indicators that are needed to measure their performance and contribution to the programmes of “Kaunas 2022”.

The indicators that are collected by “Kaunas 2022” and its partners include the number of visitors, participants, events and other activities that are required in a creative process; the reach of advertisements and other forms of communication; the amount of partnerships on a local and international level; and products that are being created in the process. The data of indicators is collected together and documented internally by specialists that ensure the monitoring process.

 

A full list of indicators:

number of visitors;

number of participants;

number of visitors in educational programmes;

number of participating professionals;

number of events;

number of other activities;

number of people that were reached with means of communication;

number of local partners;

number of international partners;

number of cultural products.

 

Application of innovative tools to collect and measure the indicators

On July 2020, “Kaunas 2022” is planning to finish the automatisation of the monitoring system, after which the data of indicators will be collected and stored in a digital database of cultural field in Kaunas. The database is a part of the digital platform kultura.kaunas.lt, administered by Kaunas Artists’ House. It connects various cultural and artist institutions, organisations, and initiatives in Kaunas, offering them tools for communication, community building, monitoring, and providing Kaunas with an analysis of cultural field. The platform also includes budgetary cultural institutions of Kaunas city municipality that are required to join the platform and give monitoring data on the indicators of their organisational activities. Other cultural operators are motivated to join the platform by free registration and free of charge usage of all the qualities that it offers. Acting as a mediator between the city municipality and the cultural field, as well as an intermediary between the cultural institutions and their audiences, the platform seeks to carry out the monitoring and analysis of the activities of cultural field in Kaunas. This innovative tool was launched in 2019 and is currently working with data of a nearly 50 cultural operators through the city, and is expected to reach up to 200 cultural organisations, initiatives and institutions in Kaunas. The diversity of cultural operators in the platform ensures a wide range of data on the cultural field and enables to research it. Monitoring and analysis is intended as the initial task of the platform’s activities, and the collected and analysed data further will be used to identify problematics and to find and provide research-based solutions and guidance. In the result the administrators of the platform are focusing on developing guidelines for the cultural field in Kaunas, giving suggestions for particular cultural operators on how to improve their activity, and forming educational programmes for professional development of the field.

The legacy of the digital platform kultura.kaunas.lt after the events of ECoC in 2022 will ensure the continuation of the cultural analysis and will remain to be one of the milestones to a sustainable development of cultural field in Kaunas. Therefore, the application of “Kaunas 2022” monitoring plan to the platform will contribute to the sustainability of the field and supplement the possibilities of analysis. In addition to the indicators that are already established in the platform – various data about cultural operators, the accessibility of their venues, information about their events and the outcome of their activity – the monitoring system of the platform will be supplemented with additional means of evaluating the cultural field in Kaunas. By applying the indicators that are needed to assess the performance of “Kaunas 2022” to the platform, an infrastructure for transferring the data between “Kaunas 2022” and its partners will be established. The information related to the indicators will be collected and stored to the database by the partners, creating a faster means for accessing data and evaluating the progress of each “Kaunas 2022” programme. The database also provides a tool to explore the data. Analysis of various categories of indicators helps to find additional insights on the dynamics of the “Kaunas 2022” programmes.

Monitoring and analysis are not the only additions to the platform by “Kaunas 2022”. In order to support the aims of various programmes of “Kaunas 2022”, other additions to the digital platform kultura.kaunas.lt will be established. In 2020 the platform’s website for cultural events in Kaunas will be customised to suit the need for accessible information about culture in Kaunas for people with visual, hearing and intellectual impairments, as well as for the English speaking audience. The supplementation of audience feedback system will help us to understand the audience’s satisfaction in culture and its accessibility and will deepen the analysis of the cultural field. These additions will contribute to the legacy of Designing Happiness in Kaunas. For sustaining the process of community building, on which “Kaunas 2022” puts a sharp emphasis, a tool for sharing information about the resources that each cultural operator has will be created. It will contribute in solving the problem of the lack of resources that some of the cultural operators face. Furthermore, the establishment of a database for independent artists will help them to find new project opportunities and will sustain the inclusion and synergy of Kaunas’ cultural field. Several marketing-oriented supplements to the platform are also planned to be installed. For example, filtering of cultural events by the target audience will provide opportunities to create specialised newsletters about culture in Kaunas for families with children, younger generation, seniors and foreigners. In order to enhance the ability to attract tourists in Kaunas and meet the demand for innovation in tourism, an interactive map of tourist and cultural routes in Kaunas will be created. The map will help to present Kaunas’ historical heritage, as well as the pulsing life of contemporary culture in Kaunas. The supplementation of listed functionalities that cultural operators will possess by using the platform will empower them to improve their organisation performance. By adopting these innovative tools, we will sustain the legacy of ECoC in Kaunas.

The assessment of external impact of “Kaunas 2022” involves collecting and measuring data on the economic, social and cultural processes in Kaunas City and District. The outline of the research has been laid out after a process of preparation that involved series of discussions with scientists from Vilnius University, Vytautas Magnus University and Kaunas University of Technology. After examining research practices of ECoCs and other corresponding Lithuanian researches that focuse on similar objectives and uses related databases, a number of requirements and indicators for impact assessment were adopted. On this stage of project, a public tender has been issued to invite research teams to participate in the analysis of the impact and conduct the research.

The researchers are required to adapt mixed methods of quantitative and qualitative analysis. Most of the statistical data will be collected from accessible Lithuanian databases that store information about cultural activity, performance of the CCI, tourists, demographics, and other related data that help to assess the impact of ECoC in Kaunas. The data will be collected from the databases of the Lithuanian Department of Statistics, Ministry of Culture, Creative Europe Desk, “Kaunas IN”, “Enterprise Lithuania”, Employment Services Under the Ministry of Social Security and Labour, Kaunas city municipality, Kaunas district municipality, and other sources of data. Additionally, the database of “Kaunas 2022” indicators will also be used in assessing the impact of ECoC. The analysis will be conducted by comparing various indicators of social, economic and cultural processes. Taking into account the available data on these subjects from the past years, researchers will aim at comparing the performance of Kaunas’ cultural field before and during the events of ECoC.

The analysis of statistical data will be supplemented by data collected from surveys and discussions with focus groups. By adding qualitative methods, “Kaunas 2022” is devoted to get more subjective view on cultural processes in Kaunas, to study the cultural satisfaction of Kaunas’ residents and guests, and to understand people’s opinion on subjects, such as modernism, heritage, identity and community, etc., subjects that are very important for a sustainable development of cultural field. Researchers will have to ensure the validity of the research by selecting an amount of target population that meets the requirements of the analysis. The number of respondents will be proportionate to 11 administrative neighbourhoods in Kaunas City and 24 administrative neighbourhoods in Kaunas District.

The beginning of surveying and collecting the statistical data is estimated to start from the 4th quarter of 2020 and last until the 1st quarter of 2023. Throughout the course of the research, analysts are required to show their findings and progress in a series of presentations for the team of “Kaunas 2022”. They will also be obliged to consult with “Kaunas 2022” in constructing the research design and questionnaires for surveys.

 

Economic impact of ECoC

The research of economic impact of ECoC on Kaunas City and District will be implemented by collecting and analysing the required data on tourism, culture and creative industries, the outcome of communication and marketing. By conducting a series of surveys on local and international tourists in Kaunas the researchers will focus on the motivation of tourists to visit Kaunas, their satisfaction in quality, diversity and accessibility of culture in Kaunas. The analysis of impact on tourism will be also supplemented with quantitative data of the monthly number of tourists in Kaunas, including a stratified analysis of different groups of age, sex and nationality. Observation of the dynamics of tourism and evaluation of economic benefits of the tourism sector’s development will be executed in respect to ECoC, studying the project’s impact on Kaunas. The evaluation of the impact on culture and creative industries will consist of statistical analysis of new enterprises, job opportunities, products of CCI sector, and the estimation of the economic value that the expansion of the sector brings. Researchers will study the economic impact by comparing the collected data with direct financial investments to the sector. The assessment of economic impact will also include the evaluation of communication and marketing projects of “Kaunas 2022”. By analysing social and other media, researchers will examine the outcome of communication and marketing plan of “Kaunas 2022” and inspect the efficacy and economic value of its execution. The data for the assessment of communication and marketing will come from the sources of Mediascope databases.

 

Social impact of ECoC

The assessment of ECoC’s social impact will aim at studying the attitudes of residents of Kaunas City and District, their participation in cultural process, and changes in demographics. In order to understand the attitudes of the residents and the trajectories to which they are shifting, mixed methods of surveying and discussions with focus groups will be conducted. Surveys will include a wide range of questions related to the views of residents on the heritage of modernism, and the multicultural and multinational past of the region; their satisfaction in culture in Kaunas, and their neighbourhood. Furthermore, a survey on the identity of residents of Kaunas will be conducted, focusing on the meaning and the significance of living in Kaunas, and being a part of community, city, and district. The data acquired in surveys will also be examined in series of discussions with focus groups of residents, which will help the researchers to interpret the results of surveying. Discussions with focus groups will give an opportunity to make a thorough qualitative analysis of the mental attitudes of the residents. The analysis of social impact of ECoC will be further carried out by adding statistical data of the residents’ participation in cultural process. This data will help the researchers to study, how different social groups participate in volunteering and other forms of participation. By using accessible databases in Lithuania, the assessment of social impact will also involve analysing the demographics in Kaunas. The data on immigration and emigration of various social groups will give insights on the impact on different groups of residents, on their decision to live in Kaunas. Additionally, the inclusion of economic and cultural factors into the research of social impact will show, how ECoC’s activity in Kaunas contributes to shifting social practices and attitudes of the residents.

 

Cultural impact of ECoC

The evaluation of cultural impact of ECoC will be conducted by analysing the performance of different cultural operators in Kaunas. In order to do that, various indicators for measuring the impact on the cultural field have been adapted to the research. The analysis of cultural activity in Kaunas will include statistical data on the number and the variety of events; the dynamics of visitors in the cultural and artistic events. These are important indicators of the vitality of cultural field. Monitoring the data on events will help to see the changes in the performance of cultural operators; the changes that signify the cultural impact of ECoC in Kaunas. Partnerships are another important indicator of cultural performance that shows the strength of cultural and artistic community, and the ability to work together on mutual cultural projects. By taking into account the intersectoral partnerships, researchers will evaluate the ability of cultural operators to go beyond their field in seeking innovative cultural projects. The assessment of cultural impact of ECoC will be further expanded by employing indicators of international exchange of Kaunas artists and the export of Kaunas’ cultural production on a national and international level. It will help to explore a more international perspective of the cultural impact of ECoC throughout the research period. Most of the data for the analysis will be used from the digital database of cultural field in Kaunas, as it will be adapted to monitor the indicators needed to assess the performance of cultural operators.

“Emotion Reflector”

“Emotion Reflector” is an experimental interdisciplinary project dedicated to track and reflect creative / cultural vibrancy and richness in Kaunas city. It is envisioned to commission and create an interactive, inspiring object at the intersection of art and technology (design installation / urban intervention) that would mirror and reflect “cultural” data (e. g., subjective data of cultural users) translating it into artistic language – a piece of art made of data. It is about making the unseen (raw digital material, data, information, reactions) visible through artworks – it is about telling stories with numbers and subjective data, something that numbers or data alone cannot do. It is more about vibrancy itself then about evaluation (good or bad, poor or rich).

Part of the data flow will be suggested to artists from the organisers’ side (such as subjective data from culture users’ questionnaires collected via digital platform for monitoring and analysing the cultural field – kultura.kaunas.lt (Kaunas Artists‘ House)), however artists will be free to propose their own versions of data to be interpreted and visualised (on culture) that will be discussed and decided by consensus. The data collected by questionnaires will also be an integral part of the assessment of cultural impact of ECoC. Moreover, “Emotion reflector” will be a part of the legacy of “Kaunas 2022” after the ECoC events. Therefore, it will contribute to the sustainability of cultural analysis in Kaunas.

Due to force majeure in connection with coronavirus pandemic and changed conditions, the project will not be exposed to international audience via design competition but will be commissioned to chosen artist (or team of artists). The decision to be made until the third quarter of 2020. By the end of the year, the agreement with the chosen artists is to be signed and initial realisation works to be started.

 

United Cities and Local Governments: Culture 21 Lab

In 2018, UCLG announced the findings of Culture 21 Lab’s research, in which Kaunas took part. By providing a framework for assessment, Kaunas was analysed together with other cities that participated in the research, giving a comparative perspective on the indicators that were collected from the cities. The strong interconnection between these indicators and aims that Kaunas city and the organisation “Kaunas 2022” has, makes this study especially useful to evaluate the changes that the cultural field of Kaunas is undertaking. The next assessment of Culture 21 Lab’s proposed indicators will take place in 2023. It will give an opportunity to explore the direct and indirect impact of ECoC in a longer timescale and assess the changes that were brought by implementing the agenda of “Kaunas 2022”.

 

Expanding the partnership with institutions of higher education

“Kaunas 2022” acknowledges the importance of higher education institutions as think tanks for a sustainable development of the cultural field in Kaunas in the future. A strong collaboration between cultural and educational sectors complements each other’s activities in many different ways. Some of them are the scientific assessment of the cultural field and cultural policy proposals that could originate from this collaboration. Therefore, “Kaunas 2022” is always open in including the scientific community in the analysis of the cultural field and sharing the findings of monitoring and assessing the cultural activity in the city. The current example of partnership with institutions of higher education is Edvinas Vadoklis’ bachelor thesis on the development of social partnerships in creative clusters (2020), in which the young scholar analyses the case of “Kaunas 2022”. Partnerships like these give not only a scientific expertise but also an opportunity to involve scientists to the cultural process.

 

Feasibility study

In 2019, “Kaunas 2022” programme Designing Happiness has issued a „Feasibility study of Developing an Objective and Subjective Welfare Monitoring System for Kaunas City Residents“. The feasibility study was carried out for two main reasons:

  1. To analyse the situation of Kaunas City municipality to track and measure the state of the well-being of Kaunas residents (Kaunas officially strives to become a home for happy people according to the Strategic Development Plan of Kaunas City Municipality until 2022) and to present proposals for optimal solution of the objective and subjective well-being assessment and monitoring system of Kaunas city residents.
  2. To study the possibilities of the methodology and technique of measuring the objective and subjective well-being of Kaunas city residents that could be used as a data and information source for artistic project “Emotional reflector” – an interactive interdisciplinary object to reflect creative / cultural vibrancy and richness in Kaunas.

The study analyses the theoretical methods of objective and subjective well-being assessment and their application possibilities; reviews examples of good practice in objective and subjective well-being assessment; explores the possibilities of the methodology and technique of measuring the objective and subjective well-being of Kaunas city residents; presents and evaluates the financial costs of alternative options for developing monitoring systems; suggests the optimal solution of the objective and subjective well-being assessment and monitoring system of Kaunas city residents.

The findings of the feasibility study show a lack of a complex welfare monitoring and evaluation system that would allow assessing the objective as well as subjective welfare situation in Kaunas city. It also stresses the importance of culture for the city‘s quality of life and well-being and proposes main cultural factors to be included in future research measuring subjective welfare in the city. Those factors are planned to be addressed developing a two-fold system (questionnaires) to get the users‘ feedback and reflections on culture events via Kaunas Cultural Monitoring and Analysis Platform (Kaunas Artists‘ House) while using this subjective data flow for future interactive artistic project “Emotional Reflector” (under development).

The results of the feasibility study were also presented to the Strategic Planning Department of Kaunas City Municipality for their further considerations to possibly revise the existing monitoring system and develop a complex and more advanced system of monitoring and evaluation of the well-being of Kaunas residents.

In the end of 2023, “Kaunas 2022” will present a study of the final evaluation of ECoC. The record of the performance of every programme of “Kaunas 2022” will constitute the first part of the final evaluation. It will include not only successes of the programmes but also failures. The transparency of them will contribute to setting up guidelines and recommendations to the future European Capitals of Culture. The remarks on each programme will be supported by statistics and other data that will be collected in the database. The second part of the study will present the findings of the assessment of external impact of ECoC in Kaunas. It will outline 3 segments of impact – economic, social and cultural – and give a detailed analysis of different indicators that compose them. In this respect, the study of final evaluation of “Kaunas 2022” will conclude the monitoring and analysis of ECoC in Kaunas.