Is this the best it can be? Toolkit

Is this the best it can be? is a toolkit that can be used by anyone delivering arts and creative learning through collaborative or participatory projects and programmes.

The toolkit builds on research and was designed with help from artists and organisations.

At the core of the toolkit is a set of prompt questions to assist you in the creation of a ‘compass’ for your creative partnership - to help navigate what is important and what can be improved.

The toolkit is designed to be adapted for each context, partnership and participant group and can be used:

  • to develop your organisation, project or proposal
  • within a project or programme from start to finish
  • to sense-check what is important as a project proceeds
  • within an evaluation or review for a project or programme

Watch and read the case studies to see the toolkit in action and get inspired, or jump straight to the Toolkit and Guidance downloads.

Case studies


This set of 3-minute films shows how artists and organisations have used the Is This The Best It Can Be? Toolkit.

Further case studies

You can also read a number of case studies and top tips from pilot organisations who have used the toolkit.

Toolkit and guidance

Watch the video with Chrissie Ruckley, Creative Learning Officer, to learn about the toolkit and how it should be used.


Toolkit and Guidance Notes: Is this the best it can be?

Guidance notes on using the toolkit in pdf format.

Tool 1: Planning checklist

Download Tool 1: Planning checklist in word format.

Tool 2: Questions

Download Tool 2: Questions in word format.

Toolkit 3.1: Checklist

Download Tool 3.1: Checklist in word format.

Toolkit 3.2: The compass

Download Tool 3.2: The compass in word format.

Tool 4: Observation and reflection template

Download Tool 4: Observation and reflection template in word format.

Tool 5: Is this the best it can be?

Download Tool 5: Is this the best it can be? in word format.

Tool 6: What shall we do differently?

Download Tool 6: What shall we do differently in word format.


A holistic approach for quality in participatory arts: Impacts on practice experienced by artists in Scotland, Wales and Portugal, QMU Working Paper Series 2020/3 (December 2020)

This report shares the findings from surveys of practitioners in Scotland and Portugal using the Is This The Best It Can Be? toolkit and artists in Wales using its sister toolkit and quality principles for Wales. Their feedback shows the many ways people are using the tools across their practice and what they think about using this quality approach.


Watch the video with Rachel Blanche, Senior Lecturer in Arts Management and Cultural Policy at Queen Margaret University to go behind the research that went into the toolkit.

For more information on the research, read Developing a Foundation for Quality by Rachel Blanche.