How to Grow a Forest: An Evaluation of Making Change National Conference 2023

A person making a colourful banner that reads 'We Need A Change'
Michael Aiden Photography

It’s been just over month since The Culture, Health & Wellbeing Alliance came together with over 300 colleagues, in Barnsley and online, to host the Making Change national conference. Here we reflect on the event, our findings, and our plans for the future.

Whilst in some ways it’s hard to believe so much time has passed, in others, the gift of three whole days to simply connect, reflect and share might feel worlds away from the pull of our full calendars and daily tasks. Though CHWA’s other work hasn’t stopped, we knew it was imperative to soak up as much as we could about how people experienced the conference, and try to gently mould their feedback into a series of tangible focusses going forward. So what did we do?

Firstly, we stopped (this was hard!). As the staff group chat of ‘got home safes,’ funny anecdotes and lost jumper pleas died down, we tried to let everything that had happened sit with us. Sometimes clear reflections can take a while to crystallize, and striking a balance between this, and capturing the more pressing, post-event excitement before it dissipates isn’t easy. Even now, new themes, thoughts and feelings are emerging about the process and informing our future plans.

Next, we invited people to share their experience with us through our evaluation forms. We’d also received lots of feedback via email and at the event, so the task of categorizing, analyzing, and deciding how best to present this was an evolving approach. The nuance and intricacies of such a live experience can be hard to distil down into a document. We didn’t just want to report on the stats, we wanted to tell the story of Making Change. We took some inspiration and guidance for this from our colleagues at The Centre for Cultural Value.

With the generosity of many contributors, partners and attendees, we’ve put together the below evaluation. Our main aim is that it influences our approach going forward in some very actionable ways, and becomes a roadmap that we refer back to, helping us keep our priorities for future approaches clear. Whilst we're still determining exactly how this may look, with the support of our board and other staff and partners, we look forward to sharing our progress with you in the coming months.

We’d like to thank every single person who has helped make Making Change, and who continues to make the wider work of creative health possible, and hope you find the reflections useful.

Culture is a Frontline Service

Fiona Moon, National Coordinator
December 2023


Making Change 2023 Evaluation

Making Change 2023 Evaluation - Easy Read