Upgrade Yourself Event

Invitation To Tender – Independent Evaluation Partner

Somerset House is embarking on an exciting journey over the next three years, with funding from the Paul Hamlyn Foundation we are conducting an evaluation study of our inclusive talent programmes and we are seeking an evaluation partner to steer this programme.


In 2014 the trust embarked on a new strategic direction, towards being a multi-disciplinary arts space and the “home of cultural innovators” with nurturing talent as an absolute priority. This ambition at the intersection of artistic and social innovation is currently articulated as: to develop the widest span of talent and minds across community, sector, race, gender, age and stage. Key principles so far have been to: 

  • Focus on providing entry routes for the age range 16-30
  • Seek to tackle under-representation in the creative sector
  • Create opportunities for individual artists, creatives and for creative businesses of all types, rather than focusing on a particular artform or creative discipline
  • Experiment with programmes across every element of the Somerset House creative ecosystem – Studios, creative enterprise residents, Exchange shared workspace and young people’s Upgrade Yourself programme
  • Ensure progression routes from entry-level and upwards
  • Enable pathways between the programmes that are appropriate to the individual or business

Somerset House’s current talent development portfolio includes entry routes, career interventions for artists and makers and for creative enterprises and entrepreneurs. It offers connections between discrete elements so that an individual or a creative business has sight of the possible pathways and is supported by the system to progress according to need, while also having opportunities to contribute back into the Somerset House cultural programme and community. In this respect, Somerset House works as an enabler and a facilitator, creating the conditions in which creativity and creative growth can be nurtured and thrive privately and publicly.

Diagram of Somerset House’s current talent development interventions and their relationship to our cultural programme and the wider creative sector.

Somerset House is now looking to understand the positive difference that these programmes are making as part of Somerset House’s overall approach to creative innovation. Elements of the portfolio have been subject to evaluation, and these have yielded evidence that what happens at Somerset House uniquely leads to talent thriving in the sector. But so far, the portfolio of talent programmes at Somerset House has not been evaluated over time, comparatively, or within the same framework. This evaluation study will enable the Trust to be more deliberate in its interventions and more confident of the results. 

To that end, Somerset House is seeking an independent evaluation partner to undertake three tasks: 

  • Assess the talent development portfolio, its work to date and the evidence collected related to its impact; 
  • Use this, and new research, to test and develop a theory of change connected to Somerset House’s talent development work, and then to design an evaluation framework that sits across the different elements of the programme; and 
  • Support Somerset House in the implementation of this framework and in assessing the evidence it yields at agreed intervals, including to consider how to adjust and scale the programme, prioritising growth areas in future in service of Somerset House’s charitable objectives and creative ambitions.

All information regarding the Tender, the full brief and proposal submission portal can be found here.
Tender Opens: Thursday 04 July 2024
Deadline: Sunday 03 August 2024
Invitation to presentation w/c 19 August 2024

We will be hosting an online Q&A session on Tuesday, 16 July, 2024 at 13.00 to answer your questions and tell you more about the Independent Evaluation Partner tender process & brief. Please feel free to register your interest and submit any questions by emailing engagement@somersethouse.org.uk.