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Digital Culture Award Winner Case Study: Watershed

Unlimited Connects at Watershed. Photo credit: Jon Aitken.

Watershed is a cultural organisation focused on togetherness, producing accessible and inclusive experiences that fire up the imagination in their venue, online and across the world. Watershed is a multi-use venue, acting as a research and creative technology research and development space (the Pervasive Media Studio), cultural cinema, a café & bar and and a conference & events venue.

Watershed won the Using Data category in the 2023 Digital Culture Awards for the Balance & Belonging report.

The winning project

In 2020, Watershed committed to improving intersectional diversity across their staff and board, which included a promise to openly publish their demographic data. An Inclusion Data Working Group was established to develop a new approach to their staff surveys and wider inclusion work. They employed Culture Amp’s Balance and Belonging framework which moved them away from measuring against demographic benchmarks and towards understanding the intersectional identities of the people who work with them (Balance) and how those people experience working with Watershed (Belonging).

Text reads: Belonging Data. "It’s not enough to have people of different
backgrounds working at a company, they need to
feel like they belong in order to do the best, most
meaningful work of their lives.” Aubrey Blanche
A page from Watershed’s Balance & Belonging report, featuring a quote from Aubrey Blanche.

By updating the language and questions in their staff survey, they provided a new framework for anonymous employee feedback on inclusion strategies. The Balance & Belonging dataset allows them to annually measure and track the impact of inclusion activity and has resulted in meaningful changes to decision-making and inclusion strategies. These changes include prioritising staff training around inclusion and data literacy and new recruitment strategies to reach underrepresented groups.

An exemplar in how to collect, use, present and interpret data in an ethical and inclusive way, with a clear grounding in the strategic aims of the organisation, but also with practical and tangible outcomes.

Katy Raines, Using Data Judge

Watershed’s transparent approach to collecting data has resulted in a high level of staff buy-in and a robust dataset which will provide an invaluable foundation for long term decision making. Their efforts serve as a benchmark for cultural organisations striving to make use of their data for intersectional diversity and inclusion work.

About the Using Data category

The Using Data category celebrates innovative use of data collection and analysis to steer decision making and drive impactful long-term change. Watershed won the category in the 2023 Digital Culture Awards with their entry Balance & Belonging.

2023 Digital Culture Awards

Meet and be inspired by more of the brilliant Winners in the 2023 Digital Culture Awards. The nine categories celebrate innovation in areas including digital content creation and distribution, online audience engagement, digital income development strategies, data-led decision-making and overall commitment to digital skills development and capacity building.

Want to know more about using data for decision making?

The Digital Culture Network can help! Our digital experts can provide free 1-2-1 support to all creative and cultural individuals and organisations who are in receipt of, or eligible for, Arts Council England funding. If you need help with a specific issue or would just like to chat about your digital ambitions, please get in touch.

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