"Sarah's a clear thinker who's able to deal with complexity and connect a lot of ideas together without losing sight of the question or task in hand."
Anne Torreggiani, The Audience Agency
Qualitative Evaluation - Impact assessment - Planning - Bid preparation - Audience Research
Looking for Clarity?
I am a consultant working with creative people and cultural organisations to make the change they want to see by connecting ideas, bringing clarity and providing practical and strategic support.
I provide bespoke support and solutions to meet your needs and help you grow your business or organisation, progress your idea and plan with confidence.
Qualitative evaluation and impact assessment
Evaluation is a practical, useful and strategic tool for business planning and organisational growth – when it’s well planned and integrated within your project or organisational culture.
Talk to me about:
Co-design of evaluation frameworks in socially engaged and participatory projects that flex and adapt
"Sarah led the evaluation of a particularly ambitious and complex community engagement project. She was very skilled in dealing with numerous stakeholders. She made it her priority to communicate with people in ways that suited them. Sarah pulled all of her findings into a coherent and effective evaluation document and she carried out all of her work in a very friendly, positive and professional manner. She is a pleasure to work with."
ROH Thurrock and Thames Gateway
Working with meta-evaluation frameworks, adapting existing models for assessment
Qualitative research, in-depth interviewing and facilitating structured discussions
Writing to a publishable standard, devising evaluation tools, guidelines and supported coaching for individuals and teams within organisations to self-evaluate
"Sarah's insight was invaluable. Her excellent organising mind and great energy were essential [and] at the project's conclusion, Sarah produced a first-rate piece of evaluation that brilliantly captured the project and served to inform the development of future work."
Planning and bid preparation
‘As a creative I don't like translating my ideas to application forms, Sarah makes it painless allowing you to speak freely and creatively and captures the essence of what is being said to translate it to application form speak, it's very liberating.’
The Cultural Assembly
Experience across artforms and different sizes of organisation means I can hit the ground running on your project or goal.
I can help you shape your project idea, prepare a funding bid and support you through the application process to interview, as a contributor, reader and sounding board.
I enjoy working with new and emerging talent and innovators who want to make a difference using new models.
"What I love about working with Sarah is that you are dealing with a grown-up. I can give her the brief, have a short chat, when she always asks useful questions… and then the work just arrives, right first time."
"Where do I start? Sarah is a no-nonsense, get the job done effectively, type of person, and I love working with her because of that."
Kwesi Johnson, FRSA, The Cultural Assembly
Step by Step: a different way of working
Step by Step recognises the needs and growth cycles of new and small enterprises. Affordable, flexible consultancy, responsive to your needs, within your timescale and budget.
Step 1: Free, no obligation 45 min Check-in Call by phone or Zoom
Step 2: A Three Point Action Plan based on the consultation, focusing on the next three priorities for you to move forward
Step 3: Tailored to meet your needs, ranging from a short session to deal with a specific request, to ongoing advice, bid preparation and applications
I’ve worked with a wide range of people and organisations, including:
• Arts Council England • English National Opera • Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra • Royal Opera House Bridge • the Barbican • Warwick Arts Centre • Art UK • The Cultural Assembly • South Essex African Caribbean Association • Pulse Arts • Southend Choirs
I'm able to advise and support you with:
Qualitative research and facilitation – do you need to dig deep into understanding your customers?
Research and facilitation of planning meetings, round table and audience groups to discuss best and emerging practice and ideas for sectoral development/collaboration
Community engagement, particularly under-represented groups, audience development, inclusion & diversity; experience in developing and managing hyper-local community facing projects
Speaking with and interviewing wide range of people from all backgrounds across roles and interests.
“I couldn't help but think how different it was with you and how much more information you drew out of our discussions. I know you probably don't realise how much of a difference you make because the way you work is so normal to you, so I wanted to say that not everyone is up to your standard, and believe me, people do notice (and appreciate) the difference.”
Damien Robinson, Artist
Why work with me?
“I’d also like to thank you myself for being so helpful, and guiding us through this project. It’s been great working with you... It’s been a whole new, thoroughly enjoyable project!” Liverpool Phil
Clients say that what they particularly value about working with me is my ability to:
• Make connections between ideas, strategies, potential opportunities - ‘Join the dots’
• Handle complex data or nuanced issues, making sense of it for deployment/planning
• Listen and think deeply about the scope and potential solutions
• Bring their ideas to life on paper and for funders.
Value isn’t just about the price or number of days, but also attentiveness, clarity of communication and reliability. I’m results-focused and pride myself on delivering on time
'My team and I have worked with Sarah for several years now, in different ways. She's helped us develop our evaluation planning and practice and supported our successful Creative People and Places bid. I LOVE working with Sarah – She's flexible, fantastic at seeing the possibilities and joining up the dots, hard-working and reliable. I've learned so much from her.'
“We hope that other funders will follow Sarah Bedell’s recommendations to consider ways of nurturing best practice and ensure that their monitoring and evaluation requirements are fit for participatory arts.” Andrew Barnett, Director, Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation (UK branch), Foreword to Sharing the Stage, summary evaluation (2019)
Organisation for Responsible Business
"Operate our business in an honest and ethical manner; to consider people and the environment when making business decisions; and endeavour to make a positive contribution to the local community and society at large.”
Last week, I had an amazing catch-up over coffee with Sarah Bedell, the founder of creative community consultancy Aspirational Arts Partnerships Ltd and a member of ORB since 2010.
Sarah first met Jill on a postgraduate course at the University of Essex, and in her own words, "chimed" so absolutely with her that as soon as Organisation for Responsible Businesses was formed she immediately said, "sign me up"!
Sarah is in "total agreement" with ORB's values and is particularly keen on the easily identifiable badge: saying it "helps our chances" to be differentiated from the all-too-common wave of "scandals and disgrace" associated with businesses, highlighting the valuable contribution responsible ones make to society.
Sarah loves the fact this community is proud to stand up for what is right and that, here, her philosophy isn't disregarded as "naive idealism". Her motto?
"We could be doing this differently folks!"
Sarah promotes a form of good living that refuses to "trample over others" in the process and has always fundamentally thought that this membership organisation is "such a good idea".
She sees that in her own line of work, more and more assessments or evaluations require a list of your values anyway. The wide-ranging, joined-up thinking of ORB and its sister Responsible Business Standard is "bigger" than a trend; she believes members should make good use of that fact.
We are so grateful for your 13 years of ORB membership, Sarah, and I really loved experiencing your infectious drive, good humour and sensible perspective.
Value isn’t just about money, but also attentiveness and thinking beyond the brief to fully meet your needs.
Commitment and Reliability
With a select portfolio of clients, you can be assured that I will be as committed to your vision and goals as you are.
Support in every step
I bring clarity so you can succeed in bringing your project to life. I’m results-focused and pride myself on delivering on time and within budget