Project Type: <span>Evaluation</span>

National Portrait Gallery Schools Programme

The National Portrait Gallery has undergone a huge transformation, reopening in 2023. We worked as critical friends and evaluators with the Learning Team to develop and test the delivery of new workshops for schools to align with their new hang and the National Curriculum.

The National Gallery wanted to test and refine a new schools programme that delivered two strands: art and history. The fresh curation of the galleries offered the opportunity to explore representation and challenging histories in the galleries and the art and photography workshops would benefit from new studio spaces.

Flow reviewed session plans and developed an evaluation and reflective process for the team to understand what was working in the sessions and where changes could be made. We observed sessions and worked in workshops with the Learning team and facilitators to refine the learning objectives and delivery before the programme’s launch in the new school year.


Green Futures – Royal Parks

Green Futures aims to connect hundreds of young people with nature conservation in the Royal Parks, gaining new skills to help combat the climate emergency. Funding from the Kusuma Trust has enabled the Green Futures project to offer each participating school three day-long nature conservation experiences in the Parks over one school year. There will be two cohorts, the first made up of five schools in year one and of six schools in year two. Each school is invited to bring its entire KS3 year group, and a selection of Year 12 students (c.50 each year in total) will take a leadership role.

The activities will include citizen science and practical fieldwork, designed to show how conservation work is experimenting with adaptive measures in the context of environmental changes. Back at school their experience will be used to support project work, reflecting on the work they have contributed to the parks.

Year 12 students work towards completing ASDAN short course awards, through which they will gain experience of planning events and activities whilst learning about careers in the sector. They also play a leadership role in supporting KS3 students, directing activities during their visits. In the second year of the project Year 12 students returned to support the new cohort of students. Some of these will be invited in future to advise the Royal Parks on its approach to creating engaging and meaningful programmes for young people.

We established an evaluation framework colelcting baseline attitudes and skills of the students which would measure progression through the programme. Evaluation of Green Futures demonstrated a positive experience of situated learning with strong outcomes in an understanding of biodiversity and ecosystems. Year 12 students gained ASDAN qualifications and showed an increased confidence in their leadership and communication skills. Across the project, there was a strong likelihood that at least 75% of participants will feel more confident in visiting more natural settings and are more appreciative of biodiversity and facilities in the Royal Parks. Interviews with teachers were undertaken throughout the project to capture the impact on their professional knowledge, the curriculum and schools. The report was presented alongside a workshop with Royal Parks staff to set out actions for the future of their programming and identify key opportunities and challenges as the programme expands.

The first two years of the programme ran from 2021 to 2023 with students working with staff at Hyde Park. Funding has been extended for a further two years enabling Royal Parks to expand to other parks in its estate, enhance the digital resources for schools, and offer more in-school outreach sessions.


Southbank Centre: Art By Post

We at Flow Associates were commissioned by Southbank Centre to create a robust evaluation report of Phase 1 and 2 of the Art by Post project to reflect on this responsive programming and understand opportunities for developing it in the future. The project reached 4500 participants monthly with more than 600 artworks being submitted by artists across the UK.

Art by Post is a nationwide outreach scheme devised and delivered by the Southbank Centre  in response to the pandemic, enabling a continuation of community and wellbeing programmes during and beyond the extended closure of the building. It is more than just a replacement for on-site and local activity, however, as it is creating opportunities for SC to build relationships with arts and care organisations across the UK and to innovate in the design of remote and distributed creative activity for people without digital access.















The programming consists mainly of booklets designed by artists and inspired by Southbank Centre’s art collection and artistic programme. The activities are designed for adults living with one or more long- term health conditions, who through COVID-19 restrictions are at further risk of isolation. SC is especially interested in giving people living with dementia, and their supporters, access to creative resources. The project also aimed to reach those without digital technology at home.

People who sign up to take part are guided through a series of activities which aim to spark the imagination, keep minds active and help people stay connected to others. Along with the booklet participants were given a freepost envelope to return their artwork to Southbank Centre, in the hope that an exhibition could be created once the site reopened after the COVID-19 lockdowns.

Virtual Classrooms

We were commissioned to create a robust evaluation of the Virtual Classrooms project supported by the Respond and Reimagine Grant from the Art Fund. The project set out to reach schools and young people during the COVID-19 pandemic and inform learning practice and programming going into an uncertain and increasingly digital future.

The evaluation followed the delivery of a pilot programme of Virtual Classroom sessions by History of Science Museum and Bodleian Library during the COVID-19 pandemic. Through consultation with staff and schools we mapped how it reached new audiences, increased access for under-represented groups, developed the digital capabilities of the staff and institutions and its reception in schools and colleges.

A report and presentation with a series of recommendations was delivered in order to report to the funder and to guide future iterations and delivery of remote learning sessions.

National Gallery Evaluation Framework

Flow worked with the National Gallery on a comprehensive evaluation framework to support the delivery their 2021-26 learning strategy. It aims to empower everyone to integrate evaluation into their practice, to design for more effective and impactful work across the broad range of onsite, offsite and online programmes that the Gallery delivers. We created a digital toolkit which guides staff through the why, how and when of evaluation, providing template tools and activities which can be used bespokely across their audiences.

The fresh redesign of the Evaluation Framework tackled issues with the existing processes including difficulty of use, the challenge of collecting relevant insights and the move to online delivery. We carried out extensive consultation with Learning staff in order to understand their programmes, current use of evaluation and the ambitions for their programmes. From this Flow developed an evaluation toolkit with materials and guides for collecting evaluation data which related to their strategic aims, reporting requirements and professional development.

A key focus was capturing evidence of qualitative outcomes for participants using a ‘360 degrees’ process as a way of understanding collective success as a team. The evaluation framework provided support to collect and analyse participants’ skills development, learning of new knowledge and of teir experience of the programme. For the Learning Team and wider National Gallery the framework also established metrics for understanding cultural capital and how participants can be empowered through it.

Training was provided across the Learning team and with facilitators and ongoing support given in order to refine tools as they were put into action.