We work with cultural producers and providers. But we never forget that, in the long run, we work for cultural consumers, participants, and communities.
We bring a healthy skepticism about the assumptions that have long shaped practice in the arts, museums, science communication, public media, and other corners of culture. What got you here won’t get you where you need to go next. That’s why we’ve earned a reputation for helping forward-looking practitioners challenge and update those assumptions through clear-eyed research and evaluation.
To help the cultural sector, broadly defined, understand its participants and communities, experiment with new strategies for engagement, and connect more deeply to more—and more diverse—people.
A world where culture belongs to everyone, inclusively and equitably. Where relevance is built in partnership with communities and audiences. And where social research & evaluation open a conversation between institutions and audiences about new possibilities.
This is what fuels our research—a hunger to learn more and a humility about what we think we’ve already learned. Inquiry is a journey, not a spot on the map.
We’re all about thought-partnership, both with each other at the firm and with our clients and colleagues around the field. We’re all in this together.
Equity, diversity, and inclusion.
Because culture is stronger and more creative in itself and a more powerful tool for social change when it welcomes difference and diversity. And we’re a stronger firm when we do the same.
Rigor and integrity.
As researchers, our job is to provide an independent, empirical view: methodologically rigorous, critical when necessary, and candidly conveyed. (If that’s not your cup of tea, we’re not the right firm.)
Co-creation with communities.
We see research and evaluation as paving stones on the two-way street of engagement. We use co-creative techniques to not just understand audiences and communities but also empower them and tap their creativity and vision.
Field-building and sharing.
Whenever possible, we share—and encourage our clients to share—research findings and strategic lessons with the wider field. And we do mean “wider”: our broad definition of culture means that learning cross-pollinates from one community-of-practice to another.
These are not just data-points in a graph, they’re real people living in real, complicated communities. I love that the museums and arts organizations we work with–really all our clients–want us to channel those people’s voices in our research. It’s a practice in empathy that’s built into the process…”