by Flying Geese Consultant, Beckie Smith

Screen shot of Culture in Common website home page


Flying Geese were commissioned by Skimstone Arts to conduct an organisational review on activity over the last 10 years and to develop recommendations for future strategic development.  Skimstone Arts is a dynamic and inclusive arts organisation based in Newcastle-upon-Tyne in North East England. Its mission is to support diverse artists, people and communities at risk of social isolation to create work with, for and about the world that matters to them.

What did we do?

To capture and evaluate absolutely everything that Skimstone Arts has accomplished over the past 10 years would be a massive task, so to make it more manageable, we worked with the team to develop a succinct theory of change and evaluation matrix which streamlined exactly what was most important to review and evaluate.

We started off with a desk research project which brought together a number of exiting evaluations, papers, articles and strategic documents, and drew a consistent narrative that united the planning and learning across them all.

Using traditional analysis tools, including a SWOT analysis, PESTLE analysis, comparator and competitor analysis, 5C analysis and a VIRO analysis, amongst others, the research above was combined into an external and internal situational analysis of the company to understand the environment that Skimstone operates in, and in particular some of the struggles and celebrations within their area of Newcastle.

We held one-to-one interviews with the team and Board members to really dig deep into the what they believed were Skimstones’ strengths, challenges, opportunities and risks.

We evaluated the impact that Skimstone’s activities had on their beneficiaries through one-to-one interviews, through a collection of case studies, a review of previous testimonials, and held an online survey which was specially tailored to reflect the theory of change and evaluation framework.

With all this learning under our belt, we developed the situational review and impact evaluation, and then used our strategic consultancy expertise to turn this learning into a series of short, medium and long term recommendations that would guide Skimstone through the next 3 to 5 years.

Read more about our strategic planning work with Skimstone here. 

Legacy and Impact

Before our work started, Skimstone Arts knew they had an impressive 10-year history behind them, with an exciting future ahead. Our work helped the organisation to pinpoint the exact success areas and articulate and quantify to funders and stakeholders the important impact that they have had on society.