Evaluating for the past, present and future: A values-based evaluation of an Aboriginal-led project in rural and remote Australia

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Futures, 2019, 109 pp. 1 - 12
Issue Date:
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© 2019 Elsevier Ltd We use ideas from futurist Sohail Inayatullah and others to unpack the layers of a values-driven evaluation, and the potential role for such an evaluation strategy to support Aboriginal people in Australia to gain acknowledgement of the past and to support a desired future. Inayatullah's Causal Layered Analysis (CLA) is used as a way of understanding the deep context of evaluation and the way in which a project might meet community priorities emerging from a dark history and its legacy. We present a proposed evaluation strategy centred around the CLA domains of Narrative, Discourse, Systems and Litany. We then use a case study from remote Australia to illustrate the kinds of community priorities that emerge from this deep context, and suggest that in an environment of complex and evolving relations, rather than measuring the contribution of a particular project to economic opportunity or social change, evaluation may need to focus on the ways in which the project becomes integrated into stories of change and other activities, either as a catalyst, an affirmation of commitment, or as part of an array of connected activities enabling change.
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