Last week saw the first ArtsAPI project workshop, which was hosted in Manchester by FutureEverything and attended by ourselves; Dundee university; the Arts API team from FutureEverything and arts organisations partners of the project.

It was a good first meeting, with lots of ideas. The point of the project is to help arts organisations make the most of the data stored within their existing networks so they can improve their services, efficiency, and decision making. It was decided that people want to characterise and analyse the social network so they can measure the impact it has. So, we’ll assess the impact of relationships between organisations by evidencing how influential their network of relationships is.

Our role is to design a data model of the social network of arts organisations. On the day, there were exercises to help everyone think about which datasets are available and which are most useful. There was also discussion about which questions the arts organisations want to ask our ArtsAPI - which was great for us because it made people think about which features of the network are most important and how they’re interconnected.

The meeting also helped focus on the big research and technological challenges we’ll face in this project:

  • how do we measure the impact of a social network’s quantifiable characteristics?
  • how do we extract sufficiently detailed and reliable information from the available data sources to populate our data model of that social network?
  • how do we help the arts organisations understand and analyse their network, so they can provide evidence of their impact, and to find ways that they can increase their impact?

We have our work cut out over the next year or so, but the workshop last week was a great start.

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