Evaluating Anya Gallacio’s Commission

The Whitworth was founded in 1889, and is part of the University of Manchester. The Whitworth is a gallery that is a place of research and academic collaboration, and whose education and learning teams have generated new approaches to working with non-traditional arts audiences. The Whitworth’s extensive and eclectic collection of art and design is of international significance with over 55,000 works. A core aim is to promote the Whitworth as a gallery of international importance, as a hub offering a diverse range of culture, learning and leisure to visitors, students and scholars.


In summer 2016 the Whitworth will realise an important new sculpture by Anya Gallaccio in Whitworth Park. As part of this project, they wish to evaluate both the artistic and social outcomes of the commission. The commission aims to place the Whitworth as a centre of excellence for the development of projects and events that explore the synergy between the arts and environment within the urban context. The aim is to build a better connection between the gallery, the park and the surrounding communities. Their interest in Gallaccio’s work was led by her practice, particularly her exploration of the relationship between the natural and the architectural, and the qualities of decomposition, impermanence and transformation. The Whitworth has committed to developing a sculptural work that takes full advantage of their unique location, as a gallery in the park, surrounded by some of the most economically deprived communities nationally. Evaluation is an important aspect of all projects at the Whitworth including the requirement to produce final reports for funders. In recent years, they have developed a more reflexive practice that enables them to meet the expectations and respond to the needs of their increasingly diverse audiences.

PROJECT OUTPUTS – An updated project outline will be discussed and agreed between partners and  research teams at the workshop of the 17th March.

The project calls for the collection and analysis of both quantitative and qualitative data along with a summative evaluation and the Whitworth is open to discussions with the researchers’ preferred research focus. The work must take into account the following: 1) The Whitworth’s requirements in reporting to funders; 2) The Whitworth’s commitment to exploring the environment / green spaces in the urban context; 3) The diversity of the gallery’s audiences; and 4) The Whitworth’s public engagement programmes. The Whitworth will publish a full evaluation report in November 2016, and share this widely through, for example, the Plus Tate Network. This is also shared with the many local and regional agencies with which they work and which are specifically focussed on work with young people.


Nicola Harding (MMU, Sociology) – Nicola is a lecturer and PhD candidate in Criminology at Manchester Metropolitan University specialising in the use of innovative qualitative methodology to research the everyday experiences of marginalised individuals and communities. Previous research has included graffiti and street art in the UK and Chile, an evaluation of an Integrated Offender Management unit within a northern police service, and a review of sex work policy.

Rachel Smith (Manchester, Hum., Social Anthropology)