Blog

3.4.13

NDP’s PRD Program Evaluation and Lessons Learned

Steven Skerritt-Davis
Program Coordinator, NDP

Since 2010, NDP’s Production Residencies for Dance program has undergone an extensive evaluation led by M. Chris Dwyer of RMC Research Corporation. Our goal for the evaluation was to use the experiences of the pilot year grantees to refine the program and better meet artists’ need for access to technical facilities and staff and additional time for artistic, directorial, and/or dramaturgical input. Each pilot year residency evaluation included: 

  • an orientation session with each grantee where NEFA staff introduced the evaluation materials and discussed the artist’s residency goals 
  • an online update form that grantees filled out at several points during the residency, tracking activities, progress, and challenges toward three residency goals 
  • forms completed by residency partners, NDP Partners, and other leaders in the field, assessing the impact the residency had on the work
  • post-residency interviews with artists, residency partners, and observers

Lessons from the pilot year evaluation’s findings were shared in an earlier post and are available here.  

In the second year of the program, we adapted the evaluation processes a bit. We offered artists ways of tracking progress toward residency  goals using social media and other platforms (see Brian Brooks’ video series from an earlier post) to augment or replace the online updates. By working with the artists to develop reporting materials we were able to capture the impact of PRD funding using methods already integral to the artists’ processes.  Another significant change in the program’s second year has been the inclusion of residency partners in the orientation sessions. Because we have observed that the net impact of residencies on the development of the work is linked to the level of pre-planning and communication between artists and residency partners, we’ve offered artists the opportunity to invite their residency partners to our conversations about their residency goals. Though it may be too early to assess the full impact of this change, our hope is that these preparatory conversations have helped nurture the artist/residency partner relationship. 

As we jump into the third year of the program—see selected Year 3 artists and residency partners here—we continue to develop the program and its evaluation. In this year’s applications, we were most excited to see how the practice of production residencies is spreading, with many presenters and residency partners offering time, space, and resources for artists to make more fully realized, better produced, and higher quality work. The selected residencies also exhibit stronger, better-articulated artist/residency partner relationships. As mentioned above, the better these relationships are, the richer the residency experience is for all involved. We are eager to see where these partnerships lead and are excited to see how they impact artists’ work and the dance field!

Be sure to catch my other posts in this NDP PRD blog series:

  1. Lessons from NDP's Production Residencies for Dance Pilot Phase (2.19.13)
  2. Production Residencies: Pilot Year Case Studies (2.22.13)
  3. Production Residency: Palissimo/Wexner Center for the Arts (2.25.13)
  4. Production Residency: Brian Brooks Moving Company/DANCEworks Santa Barbara (2.27.13)
  5. Production Residency: Emily Johnson, Catalyst/MASS MoCA (3.1.13)
  6. NDP's PRD Program Evaluation and Lessons Learned (3.4.13)