Working with colleagues at the University of Edinburgh, specifically in Digital Education (Moray House School of Education) and Design Informatics (Edinburgh College of Art), I was part of a team that in 2015-2016 developed a new inventive approach to evaluating visitor engagement with art in museums and galleries.


The (Arts and Humanities Research Council funded) artcasting project developed a mobile application which asked visitors to consider where they would virtually send or relocate the artworks within two ARTIST ROOMS On Tour exhibitions (Roy Lichtenstein at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art and Robert Mapplethorpe at The Bowes Museum).


Further information about the artcasting project can be found on the project website




It stands to reason that a background and interest in the arts would necessitate a creative approach toward understanding, representing and evaluating the impact of an arts project.


My own creative response to the ethical challenges of using visual research methods was to utilise Photoshop to alter the photographs I engaged with as part of my research. Rather than blurring or pixelating faces, which I contend can detract from the intended message, I used line and masked space (as well as other techniques) to highlight meaningful components of the selected photographs.


While successfully anonymising those represented, the image raises questions about the decisions taken in doing so.



Sowton, C. (in revision) ‘Cultural sector perspectives of evaluation: collage, dialogue, and holy grail’ Cultural Trends


Sowton, C. (in writing) From Dialogue to insight: articulating participant experiences of voice in the arts Journal of Arts and Communities


Sowton, C. (in writing) ‘A visual ethnography of transformative learning in a collaborative community arts film’ Journal of Transformative Education.


Sowton, C. (née Wright) (2014) A Review of Literature on Young People's Motivation and Gallery Engagement. ARTIST ROOMS Research Partnership. [Online] Available at:


Trew, H. and Wright, C. (2011) Once Upon a Time in Fife: Stage 1 Final Report. Edinburgh: Theatre Workshop Scotland.


Wright, C. (2008) Cultural Education Strategy 2009-2011. Elgin: The Moray Council.


Claire Sowton

Cultural research and consultancy