DCMS blog

Unlocking CASE data

Sally Staples


Sally Staples

Cultural Strategy Manager at East Sussex County Council

How can CASE data be brought to life through third party software? Sally Staples, Cultural Strategy Manager at East Sussex County Council, explains.

When I took up my post my priorities were to promote the value of culture to internal colleagues and find out the best way to invest in cultural provision. Making sure the importance of culture was reflected properly in policy documents was key. I needed to be able to show where the evidence base is for what we were saying.
I’ve taken two parallel approaches: on the one hand I tried to find some fresh ways to analyse the impact of our arts organisations; on the other hand I turned to CASE. But presenting the data was a challenge. I needed an easy way to format the information to meet our specific needs.

East Sussex in Figures

But then I was introduced to our East Sussex in Figures (ESiF) website and Tim Carpenter, theESiF Co-ordinator. The website provides the latest statistics and publications about East Sussex and its communities.
ESiF uses an application called Instant Atlas to visualise complex datasets. InstantAtlas™ enables information analysts and researchers to create highly-interactive dynamic and profile reports that combine statistics and map data to improve data visualisation, enhance communication, and engage people in more informed decision making.
I’d been asked to provide a cultural section so shared the CASE data with Tim. What happened next was extraordinary, not least because Tim was so enthusiastic and acted so quickly. We now have quick and simple access to all the CASE data we need.

Unlocking CASE data

CASE data lends itself very nicely to Instant Atlas as it is so neatly ordered by data theme and geography. Three atlases were created with CASE data, but I’ll just outline one here.
Map showing CASE data in part of East Sussex
Above, you can see data on culture and heritage business stock in Wealden District Council. The data mapped is for advertising but all categories and data for Wealden are displayed in the right hand table. A time series chart for Wealden is shown and the comparators for the other five districts in East Sussex are charted. Metadata for this dataset is then shown at the bottom of the atlas.

Visual and interactive

All of this data is interactive. So for example, if you required the same data for Eastbourne Borough, you could simply click on the area of the map relating to Eastbourne and the relevant the data would be returned.
By visualising data, I can immediately identify trends and patterns. It’s also easier to mentally draw on key data when I’m having incidental conversations – great for advocacy!
So thanks to CASE, a willing colleague and some third party software, the whole East Sussex cultural sector now has easy access to information to help underpin marketing strategies, business plans and those all important funding bids.

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