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Cultural Value Project

The Cultural Value project, supported by the Arts and Humanities Research Council, looked into the question of why the arts and culture matter, and how we capture the effects that they have.

The Project had two main objectives. The first was to identify the various components that make up cultural value. And the second was to consider and develop the methodologies and the evidence that might be used to evaluate these components of cultural value.

Understanding the value of arts and culture report (PDF, 5.3MB) presents the outcomes of the AHRC’s Cultural Value Project which looked at how we think about the value of the arts and culture to individuals and to society. This report sets out the often striking findings of the Project’s work. Some 70 original pieces of work collectively make up the Cultural Value Project – a mixture of new research, critical reviews of the literature and specialist workshops. This work has probed, challenged and advanced our thinking about how better to understand and capture the elusive phenomenon that is called ‘cultural value’. The authors of the report have also drawn on a wide range of literature from the UK and internationally. The result is among the most extensive, wide-ranging and challenging of attempts to grasp the difference to individuals, society and the economy that engagement with arts and culture makes.

Further information about the Project

In 2018 the AHRC published a second report, the Cultural Value Scoping Project Report (PDF, 357KB)The project involved consultations with 200 hundred people from the arts and culture sector, funding organisations, the voluntary sector, academia, and policy. It identified that one of the biggest and most pressing challenges in understanding cultural value is creating communities of interest and practice across these sectors. As a result, the report recommends that a new entity - a collaborative Centre for Cultural Value is set up.