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ACA TIG Week: Annabel Jackson on Using Neurolinguistic Programming (NLP) to Capture Non-verbal and Tacit Knowledge

Hi, I am Annabel Jackson, Co-chair of the Arts, Culture and Audiences TIG. My Co-chair, Ivonne Chand O’Neal, and I are delighted to host a week of aea365. Together, we have curated this week-long series to highlight examples of evaluation methods used to explore arts and culture, arts education, arts participation, and informal learning. Featured evaluation methods will include the use of neurolinguistic programming (NLP) to capture non-verbal and tacit knowledge, root cause analysis, neurophysiological measurement, storytelling/narrative-sharing, and the use of creativity measures.  We look forward to hearing from you using the comments feature of aea365 to let us know how these methods may influence the work in your field of evaluation. Thank you for joining us and Happy Holidays!

I am an evaluator based in the UK who also works in America, as well as Africa and Asia. 70% of my work is in the arts. My clients include icons such as the British Museum, Royal Opera House, Glyndebourne, Sadler’s Wells, National Portrait Gallery, Barbican, Tate, ICA, Hayward, Old Vic, Film London, Cleveland Orchestra and many others across the art forms.

Lessons Learned: If evaluation is about learning as much as accountability then where should we look for learning?

Artists and practitioners in the arts often develop exquisite sense-based skills. We should not be surprised that musicians invariably develop finely tuned auditory skills; visual artists invariably develop intricate visualization skills; and dancers invariably embody deep understanding of timing and kinesthetic knowing. Artists excel at their use of metaphor and lateral problem-solving. Arts organizations have something to tell us about risk-taking, and combining perfectionism with innovation.

I have used NLP, in particular the experiential array and list of sub modalities, as frameworks for my observation tools to evaluate the quality of artist-delivered educational workshops, and also when interviewing on the subject of artistic quality.

Resources: Gordon, David and Dawes, Graham (2005) Expanding Your World. Modeling the Structure of Experience. Desert Rain.

The benefits of using NLP are:

1. A structure to expand our boundaries in conceptualizing learning.

2. Prompts to expand our questions beyond verbal and conscious knowing.

3. A guide for questionnaires for observation.

4. Support, as we develop our cultural competence as evaluators, to be sensitive to and respect non-verbal contextualities and resources.

When it comes to sense-based learning, artists and the arts have something to teach us all.

Hot Tip: When evaluating individual and organizational learning, look beyond verbal and conscious articulations. Explore non-verbal skills, and resources that lie in organizational beliefs, metaphors and values.

The American Evaluation Association is celebrating Arts, Culture, and Audiences (ACA) TIG Week. The contributions all week come from ACA TIG members. Do you have questions, concerns, kudos, or content to extend this aea365 contribution? Please add them in the comments section for this post on the aea365 webpage so that we may enrich our community of practice. Would you like to submit an aea365 Tip? Please send a note of interest to aea365@eval.org. aea365 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators.

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