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Extending Creative Practice

The Extending Creative Practice (ECP) is a European project which is motivated by a desire to make ICT accessible to marginalised communities, particularly elderly people and isolated people from rural communities.

During ECP, older people used Digital Storytelling to make short films using their own photographic archives to tell personal stories about their lives. At the same time the project provided an accessible route into IT learning for older people. From a starting point of having no IT knowledge whatsoever, participants were soon sharing their stories onto YouTube, chatting to distant relatives on Skype and e mailing.

Older people’s access to digital technologies is a policy concern and effective e-inclusion is now recognised as central to the active participation of older people in society contributing to active ageing at work, independent living and active community membership.   Our work  also addressed the social, economic and geographical isolation of older people whilst simultaneously gathering a vibrant social history which tells us about the personal, social and historical changes older people have lived through.   An added benefit of our work through ECP was scope to consider the potential for digital storytelling in work with older people who are often discursively positioned as oriented in the ‘ past’ through ‘reminiscence’ narrative formats to explore how this method extends the opportunities for autobiographical storytelling  by older people whilst simultaneously placing them to the digital present and future as contemporary voices commenting on issues or subjects of immediate relevance.

The work programme agreed at the first meeting was the benchmark for the partnerships progress.  Each partner accepted responsibility for the delivery of activity against the agreed schedule.  Partnership Meetings were timed to coincide with workshops so progress could be gauged against the original schedule. An evaluation framework setting out project aims and objectives against a series of indicators and methods for gathering evidential data, was established at the outset, in agreement with all partners. Responsibility for data gathering and reporting was established early in the process. Objectives were agreed and as were a set of indicators and methods by which data would be collected and achievement assessed.

At the inception meeting in Slovenia partners were asked about their experiences of evaluation, and their expectations of the evaluation in order to inform the design and delivery of this. The evaluation team also identified partner organisations challenges and the potential learning that could emerge from the project. Partners agreed common procedures for recording project activities and their impact and targets.

Researchers from CUCR worked with the partners to agree and deliver a clear evaluation programme and this activity was an essential component of Extending Creative Practice. These ongoing discussions of evaluation enabled partners to reflect on the significance of their delivery and develop quantitative and qualitative indicators of the impact of their practice and local partnerships.

Evaluation was standing agenda item at each partner meeting and the CUCR team maintained regular contact with all the partners in the periods between workshops and meetings.

Through gathering all of this evaluation material an interim report was produced, which was shared with the partnership. This contributed towards sharing progress and learning to date.

The CUCR approach uses feedback questionnaires, survey and more adventurous approaches to  gathering information from trainers and trainees.  CUCR also conducted skype interviews with project leaders from each partner and met regularly with staff  from DigiTales to discuss progress.

The final evaluation report was presented at the Extending Creative Conference in Maribor during June 2012  and is now freely available as a PDF document below and via the partner websites.

Extending Creative Practice Evaluation Report May 2012