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Now published: The value of arts and culture to people and society – an evidence review

  • Date: 14 March 2014
  • Area: National

On Friday 14 March we published The value of arts and culture to people and society – an evidence review. Focussing on the impact arts and culture has on the economy, health, wellbeing, society and education, the review presents research that helps demonstrate the importance of arts and culture on society.

Of course, the inherent value of arts and culture is something that cannot easily be measured in numbers. Arts and culture illuminate our inner lives and enrich our emotional worlds, and this is what we cherish. However, while we do not cherish arts and culture because of the impact on our education system, our economy or on our health, they do confer those benefits and we need to be able to show how important this is.

Some facts and figures from the review

  • £12.4 billion was the aggregate turnover of businesses in the UK arts and culture industry in 2011
  • 60% likelihood of reporting good health having attended a cultural place or event in the previous 12 months, compared to those who had not
  • 68% of UK businesses believed the European Capital of Culture had a positive impact on Liverpool’s image
  • secondary school pupils are 20% more likely to vote as a young adult if engaged in arts and culture at school

Filling the gaps: our future research plans

While there is a considerable body of research literature, there are also many gaps. The evidence review has acted as a catalyst in our thinking and we will be committing substantial research grants to cover those areas where there is a lack of data – for example, longitudinal studies of the health benefits of participation in arts and culture.

In autumn 2014, we will open a research grants programme that invites arts and cultural organisations, higher education institutions, consultants, think tanks, foundations and trusts, along with consortia or partnerships of these bodies, to develop research proposals that will improve the evidence base. So by working in partnership with others, we will support the arts and culture sector to build the evidence base around the value, impact and benefit of arts and culture.

Join the conversation

Take a look at our infographic or download and read the full publication.

Join the conversation online and tell us what you think by tweeting us or using the hashtag #artsculturevalue.