Images courtesy of: Arthur Lockwood, Nick Hedges


Black Country Echoes 2014 Impact Study


Following the success of the first pan Black Country Festival, Home of Metal, the Black Country Museums Partnership and the Black Country Arts Partnership secured funding from Arts Council England to stage a second exhibition which celebrates the distinctive character of the Black Country.  Black Country Echoes (BCE) was a celebration of the industrial and manufacturing heritage of the Black Country.

The ambition for the BCE programme and festival was to present high quality exhibitions and events reflecting the involvement of a cross section of organisations and participatory opportunities at many levels. This region-wide project consisted of 87 events and activities and 27 exhibitions in venues across Sandwell, Dudley, Walsall and Wolverhampton.

Type of work

Impact assessment

Project evaluation


July 2014 to February 2015

The brief

Wolverhampton City Council commissioned Earthen Lamp to carry out a research based evaluation and impact study of BCE across the Black Country. The primary objective was to ascertain and measure the impact of BCE and investigate any change of perception of the Black Country as a result of it. The aims of the impact study as outlined in the brief were the assessment of:

  • Number of attendees to BCE exhibitions and events
  • Audience profile
  • Visitor satisfaction / Perceived quality of the festival
  • Impact of BCE Festival marketing in the Black Country
  • The economic impact of BCE Festival in the Black Country
  • Perception of the Black Country
  • Movement of visitors between venues / across the Black Country

The activity

The aim of this impact study was to present a mix of numerical and contextual impacts. In order to do this, a mixed methodology of data collection was used.

Face-to-face interviews with festival visitors and participants in all four local authority areas and a total of 714 surveys were completed. Observational research was carried out at a sample of events and exhibitions. This information has been used to understand the level of engagement and enjoyment of visitors at BCE. In-depth interviews were carried out with partners and stakeholders of BCE to understand issues such as the impact of the brand, partnership working and the legacy of the festival. In addition, information about overall income and expenditure was collected and used to calculate the economic activity and impact of BCE.

The outcome

A summary of the impacts of the festival can be seen here

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