Research & Evaluation



I have over 10 years’ experience as an evaluator to the arts, cultural and heritage sectors. I have led on a broad range of evaluation projects, for organisations of different sizes and remits, including ACE and NLHF-funded projects. My experience includes 2 years as a Senior Consultant at The Audience Agency specialising in community engagement. I specialise in creative and arts-based evaluation methods which support a broad range of people to take part in research and evaluation. I am also experienced in delivering mixed method studies, which combine quantitative and qualitative data to tell stories of change.

My evaluation approach has a focus on learning and how organisations can make positive changes that are built on new knowledge, evidence and insights. I am particularly interested in the challenges and opportunities of co-creation in evaluation, and how these principles translate into practice.

My services include framework co-design, creating bespoke evaluation toolkits, creative and arts-based methods, audience profiling, survey design, analysis and reporting.

I also support organisations to develop their own evaluation strategies, so that they can:


  • Identify tangible outcomes that relate to their aims, mission and values
  • Build confidence in embedding data collection and evaluation across their ongoing programmes and activities

‘Nicky’s work on the Bravo 22 Art of Recovery evaluation was invaluable to developing The Drive Project’s ongoing work with the veteran community. Nicky is warm and approachable which means she has an innate ability to work in sensitive contexts. She was able to create a safe space and support participants, some of whom have complex combat PTSD, to open up and explore their experiences of change during in-depth interviews and project observations. The rigour with which Nicky analyses the data and project observations was also extremely valuable to the team.’

Dr Maia Mackney

Postdoctoral Research Fellow, GSMD and former evaluation lead for the Art of Recovery project

Art of Recovery Evaluation: Bravo 22, The Drive Project and Royal British Legion.

Art of Recovery Evaluation: Bravo 22, The Drive Project and Royal British Legion.


I have a PhD in participatory theatre and am an active researcher in the field of arts and health. My practice-led PhD used participatory and creative research methods to explore the creative role of artists in dementia care settings. I am the author of several publications on arts and health, including my (2021) book Performance and Dementia: a cultural response to care.

My expertise in arts and health and participatory research approach informs my ongoing research activity. Recent activities include:

Delivering a paper at the 2022 Failspace conference on improvisation and failure in arts practices in care homes:  FailSpace | Failspace Conference

Performance & Dementia

‘In Performance and Dementia, Nicky Hatton creates a new vision of performance that challenges the arts-based dementia field to focus on relationality, interdependence, reciprocity, and collective capacity as radical care practices.  Based on her own research, Hatton explores intimate worlds of sound, atmosphere, movement, sense, and taste as vital ways of overcoming our devaluation of people with dementia.  Her cultural response to the dilemmas of residential care is artful, imaginative, influential, and deeply human.’
Stephen Katz, PhD, Professor, Sociology, Trent University, Peterborough, Canada