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The Social Effects of Culture - A Literature Review

Authors:

Abstract

This literature review is intended as a background document on recent research on the social effects of culture. In it, the field of culture has been defined to include both the professional and amateur creative arts (visual, literary and performing), the industries and organizations that support them (broadcasting, film, publishing, sound recording, and digital media), and the curation and preservation activities that are often grouped under the label of “heritage” (museums, historic sites, archives, and libraries). The social field has been broadly surveyed and has included academic literature from across the various disciplines that normally constitute the “social” in modern societies, including health, education, social services, poverty reduction and social inclusion, aspects of the justice system , identity studies, and urban studies.
The Social Effects of
Culture
A Literature Review
2017
M. Sharon Jeannotte
University of Ottawa
11/21/2017
1
The views expressed in this analysis are those of the author, and not those of the Centre
on Governance or the University of Ottawa or the Ottawa Culture Research Group.
Acknowledgements:
This document was produced with the support of:
Ottawa Culture Research Group (OCRG)
2
Table of Contents
Executive Summary
3
1.0 Introduction
6
2.0 Frameworks
2.1 Culture, sustainability and community development
2.2 Culture, wellbeing, and social cohesion
2.3 Culture, connectedness, and participation
2.4 Culture and citizenship
8
9
13
20
20
3.0 Methodologies
3.1 Surveys and indicators
3.2 Valuation-based approaches to social wellbeing
3.3 Evaluation-based approaches
22
23
28
30
4.0 Compilations of evidence and literature reviews
4.1 Culture, sustainability and community development
4.2 Culture, wellbeing and social cohesion
4.3 Culture, connectedness and participation
4.4 Culture and citizenship
4.5 Culture and health / education
4.6 Literature reviews of frameworks and methodologies
33
34
36
41
47
48
54
5.0 Advocacy documents
55
6.0 Critiques of frameworks and methodologies
58
References
62
3
Executive Summary
This literature review is intended as a background document on recent research on the
social effects of culture. In it, the field of culture has been defined to include both the
professional and amateur creative arts (visual, literary and performing), the industries
and organizations that support them (broadcasting, film, publishing, sound recording,
and digital media), and the curation and preservation activities that are often grouped
under the label of “heritage” (museums, historic sites, archives, and libraries). The social
field has been broadly surveyed and has included academic literature from across the
various disciplines that normally constitute the “social” in modern societies, including
health, education, social services, poverty reduction and social inclusion, aspects of the
justice system , identity studies, and urban studies.
Only works published in English since 2000 have been included, and every effort has
been made to provide hyperlinks to digital copies of this research. All links were
functional as of late 2017, and as the short summaries in this document are meant to
provide an introduction only, the interested reader is encouraged to access the full text
for a complete description of the research. Finally, the focus has been kept as narrowly
as possible on “social” effects of culture, and leaves out the large body of literature on
economic effects of culture and on public attitudes toward culture some of which
touches on social aspects of culture, but not as a central concern.
This report has been structured to provide an overview of selected literature on the
following:
General frameworks for understanding and analyzing the social effects of culture
Methodological approaches that have been utilized to examine social aspects
of culture and to try to understand their effects
Compilations of evidence and literature reviews on the social effects of culture
Advocacy documents supporting the development of more robust indicators of
the social effects of culture
Critiques of frameworks and methodologies that have been used to examine the
social effects of culture.
The general frameworks used to understand and analyze the social effects of culture
fall into four broad categories, which frequently overlap:
Holistic frameworks examining the relationship between culture, sustainability
and community development
Frameworks that link culture to the concepts of wellbeing and social cohesion
Frameworks that examine culture’s role in promoting connectedness and
participation
4
Frameworks that examine culture’s role in building citizenship capacity.
Frameworks that place culture within a sustainability or human development context
are usually (but not always) place-based. They generally view culture as one of four
interconnected domains social, economic and environmental are the other three
that have an impact on the overall sustainability of a society or place. The concept of
wellbeing is somewhat related to the concept of sustainability, but in the literature
reviewed, it tends to be more closely related to social cohesion. While there are few
frameworks that deal exclusively with culture as a factor in connectedness and
participation, this domain is almost always included as part of the more holistic
frameworks and is the subject of a large part of the research on the social effects of
culture. It, along with frameworks that look at the role of culture in the formation of
citizens, privileges the notion of inclusion as a societal asset.
One of the main criticisms of studies on the social impact or social effects of culture and
the arts has been aimed at methodological weaknesses. Many studies have described
outputs and, to a lesser extent, outcomes of engagement with culture and the arts, but
few have been able to prove causation between participation in the arts and specific
effects. Although frequently advocated as the “gold standard” of research,
experimental designs of studies, with random selection of subjects and control groups,
are seldom used in studies of the social effects of culture, except in the health care field
where a few researchers have examined the impact of the participatory arts on the
health of seniors. Instead, those studying the social effects of culture and the arts tend
to rely on quantitative analysis of surveys and qualitative analysis of case studies to
investigate this subject. Advocates of theory-based evaluation argue that culture is not
amenable to being studied using experimental models because it operates in complex
open systems that are often not generalizable to other contexts or environments.
Therefore, research in this area must be closely tied to theory articulation and
evaluation of outcomes in specific environments. Finally, an emerging methodological
approach is attempting to assign monetary values to participation in various types of
cultural activity based on subjective assessments of wellbeing by research subjects.
Despite the widespread view among policy makers and practitioners in the cultural field
that there is little evidence with regard to the social effects of culture, there has actually
been a deluge of recent literature citing the (usually positive) impacts of engagement
with the arts and , to a lesser extent, heritage. This document groups this literature
under the same headings as the section on frameworks (with the addition of sections
on health and education, and frameworks and methodologies):
Evidence about culture’s effects on sustainability and community development
Evidence about culture’s effects on wellbeing and social cohesion
Evidence about the social effects of participation in culture
Evidence about culture’s effects on citizenship
5
Evidence about culture’s effects on health and education
Literature reviews of frameworks and methodologies
The largest body of research examines the effects of participation in culture, but a
significant portion of this evidence also documents positive impacts on well-being and
social cohesion, as well as the development of social capital. These types of impacts
also feature prominently in the literature on culture’s effects on health and education.
Convincing evidence comes from several American studies that have examined the
impact of arts participation on the health of older adults and on the cognitive skills
children and young adults. There is also a growing body of evidence about the
linkages between cultural activity and individual wellbeing (usually measured as
happiness or life satisfaction), and the formation of social capital (usually in the form of
volunteering and participation). Overall, evidence linking individual wellbeing to
community and national wellbeing is still relatively sparse, although a few studies have
examined possible associations between cultural engagement, social cohesion and
community sustainability. One framework occasionally used to examine the social
effects of culture relates to citizenship and the public good, but little empirical research
has been done to link cultural engagement to democratic values, although a few
studies have examined cultural participation and voting behaviour. As pointed out in
more than one study, there are frequently weaknesses in data sources, as well as
difficulties in proving causation between engagement with culture and positive social
outcomes.
Many of the documents presenting evidence on the social effects of culture also
contain a certain amount of advocacy on the subject, particularly if the evidence is
positive. However, two recent documents included in this review utilize arguments that
are based on over-arching frameworks that go beyond specific and isolated pieces of
evidence.
This literature review also provides several critiques of research on the social effects of
culture that focus on deficiencies in the philosophical and ideological aspects of the
conceptual frameworks and on the methodologies used to investigate these social
effects. Criticisms of the conceptual bases of research on the social effects of culture
tend to be situated within ongoing debates about the value of culture. The social
effects of culture are judged to be incidental to the central purposes of the arts and
heritage preservation and, if taken to their logical conclusion, antithetical to them.
They are also seen by some critics as being part of the neoliberal state’s attempts to off-
load its social responsibilities to civil society. Methodological critiques cover a range of
issues, from unclear conceptual frameworks, lack of data and definitional imprecision,
to poor research design and narrow, short-term research objectives.
In general, it may be said that the research community is making serious efforts to
address the methodological shortcomings pointed out by the critics, but it seems to be
no nearer to a consensus on the broader philosophical debates that surround efforts to
measure the value of culture.
6
1.0 - Introduction
This literature review began as a response to a simple request from a member of the
Ottawa Culture Research Group (OCRG) for a background document on recent
research on the social effects of culture. The OCRG was seeking information and data
to assist in the development of cultural indicators for the City of Ottawa, and had been
somewhat successful in finding municipal-level data in the economic sphere in areas
such as employment, industry inputs and outputs, and cultural infrastructure. However,
municipal-level data about social aspects of culture proved to be much more difficult
to find and to acquire. Part of the problem was in defining what was meant by “social
impacts” or “social effects” of culture. Another part was the lack of a framework within
which to situate the sparse data that could be found. This literature review was meant
to be a start in addressing these problems.
It rapidly became obvious that there were no “simple requests” when it came to
reviewing the social impacts or effects of culture. First, a vast amount of literature has
been published on social aspects of culture over the past couple of decades. Much of
this is often challenged as being insufficiently rigorous or too locally-based to be useful
as a general guide to the subject area. Second, this literature ranges from a narrow
focus on individual effects on a specific target group to collective effects at the
national or even global level, making it challenging to provide an overview that
addresses the entire field. Third, a significant portion of this literature is couched in the
underlying context of debates about the value of culture. This opens the doors to yet
another vast array of literature that would challenge even the most dedicated scholar,
let alone municipal or locally-based cultural stakeholders who simply wish to
understand what the social effects of their activities might be. While debates about the
value of culture are necessary and important, they tend to deal with broader and more
abstract issues than were at the root of this inquiry. Therefore, while they are referred to
in some of the entries, for the most part they have been excluded.
In view of these problems and to provide a practitioner’s guide to the issues, this report
has been structured to provide an overview of selected literature on the following:
General frameworks for understanding and analyzing the social effects of culture
Methodological approaches that have been utilized to examine social aspects
of culture and to try to understand their effects
Compilations of evidence and literature reviews on the social effects of culture
Advocacy documents supporting the development of more robust indicators of
the social effects of culture
Critiques of frameworks and methodologies that have been used to examine the
social effects of culture.
7
In this review, the social field has been broadly surveyed and has included academic
literature from across the various disciplines that normally constitute the “social” in
modern societies, including health, education, social services, poverty reduction and
social inclusion, aspects of the justice system , identity studies, and urban studies. As
there has been a vast amount of literature published in recent years on the social
effects of culture in certain of these areas, such as health and education, this review
does not attempt to provide a complete listing. Instead, only a few of the larger and
more comprehensive studies in this research area are included. Both the individual and
collective impacts of culture, when incorporated into studies of these areas, have been
included.
In this literature review, the field of culture has been defined to include both the
professional and amateur creative arts (visual, literary and performing), the industries
and organizations that support them (broadcasting, film, publishing, sound recording,
and digital media), and the curation and preservation activities that are often grouped
under the label of “heritage” (museums, historic sites, archives, and libraries). Only
works published in English since 2000 have been included, and every effort has been
made to provide hyperlinks to digital copies of this research. All links were functional as
of late 2017, and as the short summaries in this document are meant to provide an
introduction only, the interested reader is encouraged to access the full text for a
complete description of the research. Finally, the focus has been kept as narrowly as
possible on “social” effects of culture, and leaves out the large body of literature on
economic effects of culture and on public attitudes toward culture some of which
touches on social aspects of culture, but not as a central concern.
8
2.0 - Frameworks
This section examines several of the general frameworks that have been used to
understand and analyze the social effects of culture. They fall into four broad
categories, which frequently overlap:
Holistic frameworks examining the relationship between culture,
sustainability and community development
Frameworks that link culture to the concepts of wellbeing and social
cohesion
Frameworks that examine culture’s role in promoting connectedness and
participation
Frameworks that examine culture’s role in building citizenship capacity.
Frameworks that place culture within a sustainability or human development context
are usually (but not always) place-based. They generally view culture as one of four
interconnected domains social, economic and environmental are the other three
that have an impact on the overall sustainability of a society or place. Some of these
conceptual frameworks attempt to show the areas where social and cultural actions
overlap or can work synergistically. Most often, these overlapping domains concern
the creation of identity, social cohesion, community participation and engagement,
and a sense of place. Education and the acquisition of knowledge are other
frequently-included areas where culture has social effects.
The concept of wellbeing is somewhat related to the concept of sustainability, but in
the literature reviewed, it tends to be more closely related to social cohesion. Social
cohesion, as has been noted above, is also considered as part of a sustainable society,
but has a life of its own in much public discourse as a short-hand term for societies that
adopt non-coercive strategies for “hanging together”. The social effects of culture, in
this stream of literature, are found primarily in the domains of participation, identity-
formation, values formation, and the creation of social capital. When wellbeing is
brought into the framework, these social effects can also contribute to good health,
personal security, school effectiveness, social connections, and public “voice”.
While there are few frameworks that deal exclusively with the culture as a factor in
connectedness and participation, this domain is almost always included as part of the
more holistic frameworks and is the subject of a large part of the research on the social
effects of culture. It, along with frameworks that look at the role of culture in the
formation of citizens, privileges the notion of inclusion as a societal asset. Frameworks
dealing with culture and citizenship tend to view civic participation as a beneficial
outcome of culture’s role in providing citizens with the tools to understand their society
and to increase the effectiveness of their collective actions. Interestingly, the dimension
of cultural rights, such as freedom of expression and protection of cultural identity, is
usually omitted when these frameworks are applied to the social effects of culture,
9
although such rights are fundamental elements of inclusive citizenship and are
extensively treated in the mainstream literature on cultural citizenship.
2.1 - Culture, sustainability and community development
CHCFE Consortium (2015, June). Cultural Heritage Counts for Europe Executive
Summary and Strategic Recommendations. Krakow: International Cultural Centre.
Online at
http://mck.krakow.pl/images/upload/projekty_badawcze/CHCfE_REPORT_ExecutiveSu
mmary_v2.pdf
This study undertook to gather evidence about how cultural heritage improves the
quality of life in every corner of Europe. It mapped the studies it found within a
conceptual framework that took into account how both tangible and intangible
heritage contributed to sustainability as measured in four domains: economic, social,
cultural, and environmental. The visual depiction of this framework is:
10
The social domain includes social cohesion, community, participation, and continuity of
social life, but overlaps with the cultural domain in the creation of identity and sense of
place; and with the economic domain in the areas of education, knowledge and skills,
place branding, contribution to the labour market, and regional competitiveness.
Dessein, J., K. Soini, G. Fairclough and L. Horlings (eds). (2015). Culture in, for and as
Sustainable Development Conclusions from the Cost Action IS1007 Investigating
Cultural Sustainability. Finland: University of Jyväskylä. Online at
https://jyx.jyu.fi/dspace/handle/123456789/50452
This publication is the result of a four-year research network funded by the European
Union, which sought to provide guidelines for policy makers for integrating culture as a
key element of sustainable development. The network argued that “culture and
society have to some degree an iterative and reciprocal relation, in which culture
constructs society but society also shapes culture” (p. 25). The network developed
three models for how culture affects sustainability:
Culture in sustainable development expands conventional sustainable
development by adding culture as a “fourth pillar” alongside ecological, social
and economic considerations
Culture for sustainable development moves culture into a framing,
contextualizing, and mediating role that balances the other pillars and guides
sustainable development
Culture as sustainable development sees culture as the overall foundation for
sustainable development by recognizing that culture is at the root of all human
decisions (pp. 28-29).
The publication discusses eight policy contexts in which culture contributes to
sustainability. In the social context, these include policies dealing with social life,
commons, and participation. These policies support the co-existence of different ways
of life and values, make space for equal participation, highlight diversity and inclusion,
and respect the rights of all citizen groups, including cultural rights. This set of socially-
oriented cultural policies is intertwined and linked with other policies that negotiate
memories and identity, a sense of place, creative practices, economic development,
nature conservation, and sustainability awareness.
Duxbury, N, E. Gillette and K. Pepper (2007). Exploring the Cultural Dimensions of
Sustainability, Creative City News. Special Edition 4. Online at
https://www.creativecity.ca/database/files/library/Creative_City_News_E.pdf
This special edition of the Creative City newsletter explores evolving concepts around
sustainable community development which feature culture as a significant component.
11
These concepts view culture as part of a holistic model that incorporates culture into a
community’s overall well-being and long-term sustainability. Three models of
sustainability are featured:
Four-pillar model interlinks cultural vitality with the dimensions of environmental
responsibility, economic health, and social equity
Four well-beings model includes cultural, environmental, social, and economic
dimensions in a holistic model of community well-being
Medicine wheel model an Aboriginal model that includes four segments or
directions that can symbolize various interconnected aspects of life (for
example, north (environmental), south (social), west (economic) and east
(cultural)).
The newsletter also discusses the relationship between social and cultural capital in the
context of sustainable community development, and examines several key aspects of
community cultural development (for example, creating and maintaining public
spaces that draw people together, building community identity and pride, and using
arts and culture as a tool for regeneration and sustainability).
James, P. (2014). Assessing cultural sustainability. Barcelona: United Cities and Local
Governments.
https://www.academia.edu/15885475/Assessing_Cultural_Sustainability_Agenda_21_for
_Culture
This is the cities tool for measuring cultural impact cited by Partal and Dunphy (below).
This paper argues that culture is a fundamental domain of social life but that there are
no well-established tools for cultural impact assessments, as there are in the economic
and environmental domains. It recommends a self-evaluation tool for cities based on a
four-domain model that treats culture as a social domain equal to the other social
domains of ecology, economy, and politics. In this model the cultural is defined as “a
social domain that emphasizes the practices, discourses, and material expressions,
which, over time, express the continuities and discontinuities of social meaning of a life
held in common” (p. 6). It contributes to four domains of action: 1) cultural flourishing;
2) political engagement; 3) economic vitality; and 4) ecological resilience. Seven
subdomains of culture are proposed and should be part of the impact analysis of each
of these four domains of action: 1) identity and engagement; 2) creativity and
recreation; 3) memory and projection; 4) beliefs and ideas; 5) gender and generations;
6) enquiry and learning; and 6) wellbeing and health.
Mercer, C. (2005). Cultural Capital and Capabilities: Defining and measuring the cultural
field. Paper prepared for the Third Global Forum on Human Development: Cultural
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Identity, democracy and global equity. Paris, 17-19 January 2005. Online at
http://www.kulturplan-oresund.dk/mercer.pdf
This paper outlines four sets or clusters of indicators that form a matrix or analytical grid
to help evaluate and assess cultural policies for human development. This grid would
also be relevant for assessing cultural policies within macro policy agendas such as
quality of life, sustainable development, and human rights. The four sets of
measurement and their descriptions are;
1. Cultural vitality, diversity and conviviality Measures of both the health and
sustainability of the cultural economy and the ways in which the circulation and
diversity of cultural resources and experiences can contribute to the quality of
life.
2. Cultural access, participation and consumption Measures of
users/consumers/participants’ opportunities for and constraints to active cultural
engagement.
3. Culture, lifestyle and identity Measures of the extent to which cultural resources
and capital are used to constitute specific lifestyles and identities.
4. Culture, ethics, governance and conduct Measures of the extent to which
cultural resources and capital can contribute to and shape forms of behaviour
by both individuals and collectivities (pp. 2-4).
The author proposes four conceptual approaches which can be used as a framework
for selecting, developing, interpreting and applying these indicator sets. These
approaches are:
1. The cultural ecology definition of a cultural field that is attentive to the diversity
and richness of elements that constitute a culture in the area under study,
including the relationships among the elements.
2. Value production chain analysis identification of the strengths and weaknesses
at every stage of cultural production creation, production, marketing and
distribution between the “supply side” and the “demand side” (applicable to
both tangible and intangible outcomes).
3. Conviviability and quality of life identification of the ways in which elements of
the cultural ecology contribute to quality of life
4. Value circulation analysis identification of how people’s values may be
converted from one sphere to another (e.g. from the cultural sphere to the
economic sphere, or from the ethical sphere to the commercial sphere). (pp. 5-
20).
13
The author also notes in his conclusions that there is “a good deal of work of
reconciliation to be done between available systems of ‘cultural Indication’ based on
System of National Accounts type data and ‘bottom up’ work in cultural capital
assessment at local and regional levels” (p. 30).
2.2 - Culture, wellbeing, and social cohesion
Gielen, P., S. Elkhuizen, Q. van den Hoogen, T. Lijster and H. Otte (2015). Culture The
Substructure for a European Common a research report. Brussels: Flanders Arts
Institute-Performing Arts. Online at http://2016.vti.be/en/over-
vti/publicaties/publication-culture-substructure-european-common
This is a summary of a much larger study on the value of culture (written in Dutch) that
was carried out in 2014. The research team developed a conceptual framework on the
measurable effect of arts and culture on society, as well as an inventory of concrete
research results.
The framework for measuring the value of culture is based upon culture’s role in:
Socialization helping individuals become integrated in a social, political, and
economic order
Qualification helping individuals evaluate what is important in a society
Subjectification - teaching people how to take a self-reliant, independent,
autonomous and critical position within the social order. In doing so, culture
often introduces new or avant-garde ideas, new interpretations of older ideas,
and new ways of expression (often referred to as creativity).
They refer to culture as “an all-encompassing human practice, with creative activities
forming a substantial part of it in our fast-changing society” (p. 23). While the focus of
the analysis is on European society and the rise of neoliberalism, the argument that
cultural policy is the base of social life and democracy can be applied more broadly.
In a section on “Measured and Measurable Values of Culture”, the research team
examined evidence on the cognitive, health, experiential, economic, and social
effects of culture. The social effects are primarily tied to culture’s contribution to social
cohesion, defined as “the bonds and connection between different entities, the
smallest included, in a social system” (p. 62). They conclude that “participating in
social-cultural work, amateur arts, cultural heritage and the arts contributes among
other things to the forming of a community, strengthening the social fabric,
emancipation and empowerment” (p. 62).
14
Gielen, P. (2015, 17 February). No Culture, no Europe. Opening Speech at The art of
valuing: between evident and evidence-based Conference. Brussels: IETM -
International network for contemporary performing arts. Online at
https://www.ietm.org/en/publications/the-art-of-valuing-opening-speeches
In this speech, Gielen discusses an inventory of research on the value of culture that he
and his colleagues at the Research Center for Arts in Society at Groningen University
conducted. They identified five thematic areas in which evidence for the
effectiveness of culture can be presented:
Cognitive effects
Health
Experiential value (e.g. of visiting a museum or attending a concert)
Economic effects
Social effects
The main social effects of participation in culture were improvements in social cohesion
and social integration (but only if the experience brings something new and different to
people’s lives). He also notes that measurement of the immediate effect (e.g. before-
and-after experiments) cannot capture the impact of the longer-term effects on
individuals and societies. He calls this social function “the sense-making aspects of
culture” (p.5).
Jeannotte, M.S. (2000). Tango Romantica or Liaisons Dangereuses? Cultural Policies
and Social Cohesion: Perspectives from Canadian Research, The International Journal
of Cultural Policy, Vol. 7 (1), 97-113. Online at
http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/10286630009358135?tab=permissions&scr
oll=top
This article provides an overview of the concept of social cohesion and how it was
utilized within cultural policy in Canada in the late 1990s and early 2000s. It cites
Canadian research on the dimensions of social cohesion and illustrates the types of
cultural policy research that has been undertaken, both in Canada and internationally,
to explore these dimensions. The following table, taken from the article, provides a
framework and examples of these types of research.
15
Typology of cultural policy research in the domain of social cohesion
Spheres of activity
Formal
Substantial
Economic
Inclusion/Exclusion
Studies on:
Access to cultural
resources and
information
technologies
Equality/Inequality
Social audits of the
arts and cultural
industries
Political
Legitimacy/Illegitimacy
Studies on:
Role of culture and
the arts in improving
the lives of youth,
seniors, and the
marginalized
Evolving
governance
structures
Participation/passivity
Studies on:
Cultural
consumption
Cultural participation
Volunteerism and
culture
Socio-cultural
Recognition/rejection
Studies on:
Cultural diversity
Roles of cultural
institutions and the
media in mediating
conflict, reflecting
difference, building
understanding
Belonging/isolation
Studies on:
Multiple identities
Values
Diversity of content
Cultural sustainability
Jeannotte, M.S. (2005). Just Showing Up: Social and Cultural Capital in Everyday Life. In
Accounting for Culture: Thinking Through Cultural Citizenship. Eds. C. Andrew, M.
Gattinger, M.S. Jeannotte and W. Straw. Ottawa: University of Ottawa Press, pp. 124-145.
Online at https://ruor.uottawa.ca/handle/10393/19613
This chapter synthesizes knowledge about social and cultural capital and its relationship
to citizenship. The chapter describes what we know about social and cultural capital
and includes definitions, analytical approaches, and an overview of research findings
and critiques of current approaches. It also discusses knowledge gaps with regard to
social and cultural capital and the construction of citizens, and discusses the
16
implications for policy and decision-making. Analytical frameworks for the study of
cultural capital can be grouped under a number of themes:
Theme 1: Personal Empowerment (personal benefits derived from investments in
cultural capital).
Theme 2: Cultural Participation (linkages between cultural participation and
altruistic behaviour, such as volunteering and civic engagement),
Theme 3: Cultural Development and Quality of Life (linkages between cultural
capital and economic and social development).
Theme 4: Cultural Sustainability (ways in which cultural capital supports human
development and maintains the cultural life and vitality of human civilization
over time). (p. 127).
The chapter summarizes research under each of these themes, and also reviews several
critiques of cultural capital research (including the Merli and Belfiore articles outlined
below). The main knowledge gaps with regard to this research are summarized in the
following questions:
What is the relationship between social and cultural capital? How do social and
cultural capital work to produce beneficial (or detrimental) effects? How
important are these effects in producing positive public policy outcomes?
What are the most important elements of social and cultural capital that cultural
policy research should be examining?
How can we best measure the effects of cultural capital?
The author concludes that “For a number of reasons (not the least of which is the
increasingly urban nature of Canada), cities have become the primary site where
many of the issues related to cultural and subcultural capital play out”, adding that “For
cultural policy as currently formulated, visions of dollar signs often spring to mind when
the words "creative" and "cities" are used in the same sentence. However, the real
meaning may lie in the more mundane and, paradoxically, more profound sphere of
everyday life as lived by citizens in their communities” (p. 140).
Jeannotte, M.S. (2006). From Concepts to Indicators: Examining Culture Through a Social
Inclusion Lens. Presentation at National Economic and Social Forum, Dublin, Ireland.
Online at
http://socialsciences.uottawa.ca/governance/sites/socialsciences.uottawa.ca.govern
ance/files/from_concepts_indicators.pdf
This presentation focuses on:
17
What is the value of culture?
How does culture contribute to social inclusion and social cohesion?
How do the concepts relate?
What indicators are needed to measure the social effects of culture?
How can these indicators be developed?
It examines culture through three lenses:
Culture H” traditions, the repository of past meanings and symbols
“Culture C” the making of new meanings and symbols through discovery and
creative effort
“Culture S” the set of symbolic tools from which individuals construct their
“ways of living”.
It suggests that culture contributes value to society via four avenues:
personal empowerment
cultural participation
cultural development and quality of life
cultural sustainability
The indicators needed to measure this value are:
Personal empowerment
Cultural participation
Cultural development and quality of life
Cultural sustainability
The presentation also outlines data and indicator pitfalls (such as unwieldy or vague
frameworks and objectives; lack of data). On the subject of data, it discusses the need
for large-scale surveys on social aspects of culture, such as Statistics Canada’s
proposed Survey of Leisure Activity and Motivation (which was never launched).
Jeannotte, M.S. (2008). Shared spaces: Social and economic returns on investment in
cultural infrastructure. Appendix E of Under Construction: The State of Cultural
Infrastructure in Canada. Vancouver: Centre of Expertise on Culture and Communities,
Simon Fraser University. Online at
18
http://socialsciences.uottawa.ca/governance/sites/socialsciences.uottawa.ca.govern
ance/files/shared_spaces.pdf
This report provides an overview of general theories on the social and economic effects
of cultural infrastructure, followed by a section on specific approaches to measuring
social and economic returns on cultural infrastructure investment. Methodological issues
are then discussed, and the main findings from the literature are summarized. Finally,
the concluding section examines the research challenges as well as areas where
further work should be undertaken in order to increase understanding of the social and
economic returns on investments in cultural infrastructure.
The main theories covered are:
Social cohesion theory
Social inclusion theory
Social well-being and quality of life theory
Cultural citizenship theory
Cultural sustainability theory
Creative economy theory
Two main conceptual approaches are used to frame investments in cultural
infrastructure: (1) the creative city/community approach and (2) the cultural planning
approach. The author indicates that while it would be misleading to characterize the
first approach as an economic orientation and the second as social, since the aims
and outcomes tend to be mixed, a survey of the literature indicates that the former
tends to be dominated by creative economy theory, while the latter usually utilizes
arguments and evidence drawn from social cohesion, social inclusion, quality of life,
cultural citizenship, and cultural sustainability theory.
Creative city/community approach focus on:
o Creative clusters and the creative economy
o Cultural infrastructure and the creative economy
Cultural planning approach focus on:
o place-based development
o community development
The report concludes with a general review of the methodological weaknesses of these
approaches and suggests ways of addressing them, including:
Increasing attention to development rather than growth
Increasing attention to the relationships among local features of the cultural
ecology
Cultural asset and network analysis of selected neighbourhoods throughout
Canada
19
Mining of existing Census, employment, crime, participation, business, and other
data for these neighbourhoods to create a baseline for longitudinal tracking
Special surveys in these neighbourhoods to gauge residents’ perceptions about
cultural assets and their impact
Longitudinal tracking of these neighbourhoods (over at least ten years) to
determine the effect of changes in cultural assets.
Stern, M.J. and S.C. Seifert (2017, March). The Social Wellbeing of New York City’s
Neighbourhoods: The Contribution of Culture and the Arts. Philadelphia: University of
Pennsylvania-Social Impact of the Arts Project. Online at
http://repository.upenn.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1001&context=siap_culture_n
yc
This report presents a conceptual framework, data and methodology, and findings of a
two-year study of culture and social wellbeing in New York City. It builds on a long-
standing series of studies carried out in Philadelphia by the same team. The two key
concepts guiding the study were the neighbourhood cultural ecology (geographically
defined networks of resources) and social wellbeing, which was defined as a set of
objective opportunities available to individuals and families that enhance their life
chances.
The methodology employed consisted of:
An inventory of cultural assets at the neighborhood level.
Use of existing data to estimate a multi-dimensional model of social wellbeing at
the same geography.
Analysis of the relationship between culture and other dimensions of wellbeing,
controlling for selected determinants of wellbeing.
A series of interviews in selected neighborhoods to provide a ground-level view
of these phenomena.
The core of the report focuses on the relationship between neighbourhood cultural
ecology and the dimensions of social wellbeing, with particular attention to measures
of health, personal security, and school effectiveness, social connection, political and
cultural voice, and the availability of public spaces (e.g. parks and open spaces).
While the report found wide variations in the cultural ecology and wellbeing of New
York neighbourhoods, it concluded that cultural resources are integral components of a
neighborhood ecology that promotes social wellbeing.
20
2.3 - Culture, connectedness and participation
Creative Communities Network (2012, July). Cultural Indicators: Measuring Impact on
Culture. Australia: CCN. Online at
https://www.lga.sa.gov.au/webdata/resources/files/Cultural_Indicators.pdf
This information paper;
demonstrates the case for developing a Cultural Indicators Framework
provides an overview of local, national and international current practice
examines recent Community Indicator Frameworks applied within Local
Government in Australia
presents the national and international discourse and evidence relating to the
use of cultural indicators
makes recommendations for progress towards implementation.
With regard to the social impact of culture, it suggests a five-domain framework for
evaluation: 1) creativity; 2) human values; 3) connectedness; 4) participation; 5)
sustainability (p. 16) The detailed literature review and indicators project planning
guide make this a useful resource for those just getting started in the field.
2.4 - Culture and citizenship
Stanley, D. (2006). Introduction: the Social Effects of Culture, Canadian Journal of
Communication, Vol. 31 (1), pp. 7-15. Online at http://www.cjc-
online.ca/index.php/journal/article/view/1744/1856
This article outlines the results of 2004 workshop held by the Department of Canadian
Heritage and the Canada Council for the Arts, which discussed the various dimensions
of a possible research initiative to study the social effects of culture. (This initiative was
not pursued at the time but was revived in 2015.) The participants identified six social
effects of culture, arts, and heritage:
Enhancing understanding and capacity for action;
Creating and retaining identity;
Modifying values and preferences for collective choice;
Building social cohesion;
Contributing to community development;
Fostering civic participation. (p. 8)
21
These elements were considered central elements of cultural citizenship, which
contributes to the right of citizens to shape their society and to influence the creation
and interpretation of meaning in that society.
Stanley, D. (2005). Recondita armonia: A reflection on the function of culture in building
citizenship capacity. Strasbourg: Council of Europe. Available for purchase online at
https://book.coe.int/usd/en/cultural-policies/3701-recondita-armonia-a-reflection-on-
the-function-of-culture-in-building-citizenship-capacity-policy-note-no10.html
This study, prepared for the Council of Europe as part of the European Year of
Citizenship in 2005, is a preliminary examination of how culture can enhance the
understanding of citizens and increase their capacity for effective collective action.
The study bases its exploration of culture’s social effects on the notion that culture acts
as a set of symbolic and conceptual tools that help citizens interpret the reality around
them and develop strategies to deal with life’s contingencies. It suggests that
“providing citizens with new conceptual tools to equip them to better understand their
world … is the social role of culture understood as the creative arts” (p. 1). It follows,
therefore, that “Access to and participation in the arts, that is, access to new
conceptual tools, is an important part of citizenship in a democracy” (p. 2). It further
suggests that “Giving citizens sufficient conceptual stability and self-confidence to
appropriate change without becoming confused and feeling threatened is the role of
heritage” (p. 2). Access to and participation in heritage, therefore, is also an important
part of citizenship capacity in a democracy.
As well as describing and examining how these conceptual tools produce the social
effects that lead to enhanced citizenship capacity, the study also examines
quantitative evidence, case studies, and cultural interventions documenting these
effects. It also assesses implications for cultural policy and presents ideas for the
collection of indicators on the social effects of culture.
22
3.0 - Methodologies
One of the main criticisms of studies on the social impact or social effects of culture and
the arts has been aimed at methodological weaknesses. Many studies have described
outputs and, to a lesser extent, outcomes of engagement with culture and the arts, but
few have been able to prove causation between participation in the arts and specific
effects. In only a few instances have researchers made methodologies the primary
focus of their investigations, and several of these are included in this section. Additional
information on methodological approaches can be found in the section on evidence
below, but in this literature the results, rather than the methodology, is prioritized.
Although frequently advocated as the “gold standard” of research, experimental
designs of studies, with random selection of subjects and control groups, are seldom
used in studies of the social effects of culture, except in the health care field where a
few researchers have examined the impact of the participatory arts on the health of
seniors. Instead, those studying the social effects of culture and the arts tend to rely on
quantitative analysis of surveys and qualitative analysis of case studies to investigate this
subject. Some of this work is tied to the development of indicators of cultural value to
justify public investment in the field, while other streams of research seek to understand
the impact of cultural experiences on individuals’ wellbeing. The former often attempts
to take a longitudinal view, analyzing and manipulating data from recurring large,
usually national-level surveys. The latter is frequently one-off, examining the impact of
cultural activity in a specific setting or on a specific cohort. Small-scale surveys are not
uncommon in the cultural world to determine how audiences or residents of a
community perceive various cultural activities or institutions, but these are not included
in this section unless they attempt to link the results to social outcomes.
An emerging methodological approach is attempting to assign monetary values to
participation in various types of cultural activity based on subjective assessments of
wellbeing by research subjects. This approach is frequently tied to evaluations of public
investment in culture and the arts, and sometimes is criticized as an attempt to
instrumentalize the arts in order to justify such investment. However, valuation
approaches are also being utilized to try to understand how much culture and the arts
contribute to population wellbeing, which (as described above) has become a major
conceptual framework for understanding the social effects of culture.
Finally, within the field of evaluation, there have been attempts to address critiques
about lack of rigour and lack of causal attribution in case studies of the social impact of
the arts. Advocates of theory-based evaluation argue that culture is not amenable to
being studied using experimental models because it operates in complex open systems
that are often not generalizable to other contexts or environments. Therefore, research
in this area must be closely tied to theory articulation and evaluation of outcomes in
specific environments. Various maps of evaluation and impact studies with regard to
23
culture and the arts have also started to appear. These tend to take a broad view, but
often provide links to useful resources in the field.
This section provides examples of each of these methodological approaches.
3.1 - Surveys and indicators
Grossi, E., P.L. Sacco, G.T. Blessi and R. Cerutti (2011). The Impact of Culture on the
Individual Subjective Well-Being of the Italian Population: An Exploratory Study, Applied
Research Quality of Life, Vol. 6: 387-410. Online at
https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11482-010-9135-1
This study employs a relatively new analytical tool Artificial Neural Networks (ANNs)
to explore the relationship between cultural access and individual psychological well-
being (the Psychological General Well-Being Index PGWBI). The particular ANN
utilized is an artificial “organism” called TWIST, which has been designed to sort out the
most relevant variables for the purpose of prediction or classification. TWIST was found
to be useful in detecting the underlying relationships among the many wellbeing
variables that were part of the study, and was superior to linear techniques in dealing
with the full dynamic interactions that contribute to cultural choices and behaviours. A
detailed appendix to the article describes this methodology in full.
The data for the study were derived from a cross-sectional, randomized survey of 1500
Italian residents. The survey instrument included questions that assessed the
psychological well-being of respondents in six domains: anxiety, depressed mood,
positive well-being, self-control, general health, and vitality. Fifteen variables related to
cultural access were added to the questionnaire, as well as activities related to sport
participation and local community development, and respondents were asked to
indicate the frequency of participation in each activity.
Preliminary univariate analysis revealed that health status and cultural consumption
were the dominating factors affecting cultural well-being. The subsequent ANN analysis
selected 31 key well-being variables from the sample, and seven of these involved
cultural participation in cinema, theatre, classical music, painting exhibitions, novel
reading, poetry reading, and sport practice (which served as a joint predictor of well-
being along with the other six variables). On the basis of this analysis, culture (including
the sport variable) ranked third as a determinant of psychological well-being, after
absence of disease and income. It was more relevant than age, education, gender, or
employment. The researchers concluded that “The links between cultural access and
human and social development are therefore much more substantial than one could
expect at first sight, and are rooted in the very foundations of the rationality norms that
govern non-instrumental behaviors” (p. 405).
24
Huysmans, F. and M. Oomes (2013). Measuring the public library’s societal value: A
methodological research program, IFLA Journal, Vol. 39 (2), 168-177. Online at
http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0340035213486412
In this article the authors describe a research program in the Netherlands intended to
develop outcome measurements to show the societal value of investments in libraries.
The research program was divided into two phases. The first phase consisted of a
literature review, a qualitative study, and the verification of the elements of a
quantitative survey. The results of the first two steps of Phase 1 were intended to shape
the third step by identifying the domains on which the survey questionnaire would
focus. Phase 2 of the research program was to be the development and testing of the
framework developed in Phase 1 with a survey to take place sometime after 2014.
The model developed in Phase 1 consists of five domains of possible impact: cultural,
social, educational, economic, and affective. These domains encompass both
individual and community outcome dimensions, but the model does not describe the
mechanisms through which impact comes about. It is also noted that since affective
outcomes flow both directly from library use and indirectly though one or other of the
other four domains, it is situated at another level of the model.
The model includes the following social impacts of library use:
Promote connectedness between people and groups
Stimulate participation and inclusion
Build social capital and social cohesion
Promote a sense of belonging to and ownership of society
Stimulate/support community engagement/improvement activity
Involvement in democratic process (p. 175).
Unfortunately, no English language reports or articles were found on the outcome of the
survey element of this research program.
Kim, S. and H. Kim (2009). Does Cultural Capital Matter? Cultural Divide and Quality of
Life, Social Indicators Research. Vol. 93: 295-313. Online at
http://ajou.ac.kr/~seoyong/paper/2009-Does%20Cultural%20Capital%20Matter-
offline%20version.pdf
The authors outline a methodology for measuring the cause and effect of cultural
capital utilizing survey data from a structured face-to-face questionnaire that was
administered to a sample of 6,300 Korean households. The concept of cultural capital
is measured in three ways:
25
Frequency number of cultural experiences which respondents had for eight
cultural activities during the last year (literature activities, painting exhibits,
classical music performances, traditional art performances, plays, dance
performances, movies, and music concerts or entertainment shows)
Diversity number of different types of cultural activities engaged in by
respondents from among the eight cultural activities described above
Spending monthly average expenditure on cultural activities.
Subjective well-being was composed of affective happiness and cognitive life
satisfaction and was measured by four-point scale survey questions.
The researchers found that those with more cultural experiences had higher life
satisfaction and happiness than those with fewer cultural experiences. They also found
that those with more frequent and diverse cultural experiences and who spent more
money on them showed more happiness and life satisfaction than those with fewer, less
diverse experiences. Frequency of cultural activities correlated most strongly with life
satisfaction, while diversity of cultural experience correlated strongly with happiness
levels. These results were regressed with other factors such as sex, income, education,
and health, and while the cultural factors then had less explanatory power, they were
still statistically significant. However, income determined cultural experience
frequencies, while education determined diversity of and expenditure on cultural
activities.
Laaksonen, A. (2005, January). Measuring Cultural Exclusion through Participation in
Cultural Life. Presentation at Third Global Forum on Human Development: Defining and
Measuring Cultural Exclusion. Online at http://www.gsdrc.org/document-
library/measuring-cultural-exclusion-through-participation-in-cultural-life/
The author argues that in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948) access to
culture is one of the essential elements. The cultural rights approach proposes various
ways of assessing cultural inclusion:
Indicators of cultural participation should accommodate good governance
values and individuals’ and communities’ own, self-defined cultural priorities.
Observers should define minimum standards for the basic cultural entitlements
which states must respect regardless of available resources. These standards
include the protection of cultural heritage, freedom to use minority languages,
diversity of educational programmes and protection of artists.
Measurements can be partly based on states’ ratification of international
legislation relating to the protection of, and participation in, cultural life.
26
There are various categories of measurements of access to cultural life.
Indicators include the use of languages, the dissemination and conservation of
culture and the protection of cultural property.
Within the urban context, policymakers should encourage participation and a
sense of place and belonging in the city space. The involvement of civil society is
key to the promotion of tolerance and equal participation in the urban space.
Cultural liberties are essential to sustainable diversity in cultural life. Five core
elements linguistic pluralism, mother tongue education, culturally diverse
curricula, religious freedoms and multiple identities are defined as measurable
components of cultural liberty.
The presentation outlines several case studies that have attempted to measure and
address issues of cultural exclusion, including the Interarts Foundation’s research on
cultural rights in the city, which resulted in the development of a Charter recognizing
the cultural dimension of urban space and promoting participation, a sense of place,
affiliation and belonging, and social cohesion and inclusion. This was based on a 60-
item survey of residents that allowed them to rank different rights in order to guarantee
a full cultural life.
Lee, S, J.E. Chung and N. Park (2016). Linking Cultural Capital With Subjective Well-Being
and Social Support: The Role of Communication Networks, Social Science Computer
Review. Vol. 34 (2), 172-196. Online at
http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0894439315577347
This study examines the different ways in which different forms of cultural capital
correlate with college students’ subjective perceptions of well-being and social
support. Cultural capital was measured by participation in off-line and online contexts.
A survey was administered to a sample of about 500 undergraduate students.
Hierarchical regression analysis was performed with regard to overall life satisfaction,
mental health, and perceived social support. Overall results suggested that “Being
involved in cultural pursuits similar to peers and thus being able to communicate and
socialize with them seem important in college students’ context” (p. 188). However,
some forms of cultural participation (e.g. online highbrow culture) were negatively
associated with social support, while there was also a negative association between
off-line popular cultural participation and mental health.
Michalos, A.C. and Kahlke, P.M. (2008). Impact of Arts-Related Activities on the
Perceived Quality of Life, Social Indicators Research, Vol. 89, 193-258. Online at
https://link.springer.com/content/pdf/10.1007%2Fs11205-007-9236-x.pdf
This article describes the results of a study to measure the quality of life in 2,000
households in five British Columbia communities. A questionnaire listed 66 kinds of arts-
27
activities, and respondents’ assessment of the quality of their lives was measured using
seven different scales. Using both bivariate and multivariate statistical techniques, the
authors examined associations between the time invested in and satisfaction obtained
from these activities on the one hand and the seven different measures of the overall
quality of people’s lives on the other. They also examined all associations in the
presence of other features of respondents’ lives, e.g. demographics, motives,
participation in non-arts-related activities and satisfaction obtained from a variety of
domains of life, like family relations, friendships, housing and a sense of meaning in life.
Considering engagement in activities measured in average number of hours per week,
for the total sample of 1027 respondents, only 16.5% of the variables measuring arts
activities and variables indicating the satisfaction obtained from those activities had
significant correlations with the quality of life variables. Overall, they concluded that
arts-related activities contributed relatively little to the seven life-assessment scales used
to measure quality of life (compared to such things as good health or financial
security). The authors speculate that their variables or the methodologies employed
may not have been adequate to assess the impact of arts-related activities on quality
of life.
UNESCO (n.d.) Culture for Development Indicators Social Participation. Paris: UNESCO.
Online at
http://en.unesco.org/creativity/sites/creativity/files/cdis/social_participation_dimensio
n.pdf
In this methodological manual, UNESCO asserts that:
Culture plays a central role in sustaining and enhancing individuals’ and
communities’ quality of life and wellbeing. Cultural practices, assets and
expressions are also key vehicles for the creation, transmission and
reinterpretation of values, aptitudes and convictions through which individuals
and communities express the meanings they give to their lives and their own
development. Those values, aptitudes and convictions shape the nature and
quality of social relationships, have a direct impact on a sense of integration,
empowerment, trust, tolerance of diversity and cooperation and orient individual
and collective action. (p. 84)
The participation measures used are:
Percentage of the population who have participated at least once in a going
out cultural activity in the last 12 months
Percentage of the population who have participated at least once in an
identity-building cultural activity in the last 12 months
Degree of tolerance within a society towards people from different cultural
backgrounds
Degree of interpersonal trust
28
Median score of perceived freedom of self-determination (the percentage of
people who think that they have control over their lives and can live the life they
choose, according to their own values and beliefs)
The manual also provides examples, guidance on data sources, calculation methods,
and interpretation of results.
3.2 - Valuation-based approaches to social wellbeing
Armbrecht, J. (2014). Developing a scale for measuring the perceived value of cultural
institutions, Cultural Trends, Vol. 23 (4), 252-272. Online at
http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/09548963.2014.912041
This study utilizes a survey methodology to test a scale measuring the value of cultural
institutions that consists of six factors:
Perceived contribution to economic development
Perceived contribution to a positive image (of a place)
Perceived contribution to identity
Perceived contribution to social network
Perceived contribution to skills and knowledge
Perceived contribution to mental and physical health (pp. 257-258).
The researcher conducted principal component analysis of respondents’ responses to a
series of questions related to these factors. The intent was to measure subjective
individual perceptions of the types of value contributed by cultural institutions. It was
concluded that the scale may be useful as a tool to investigate how various
socioeconomic groups value culture. Comparative studies between different cultural
institutions might also be possible using the model.
Crossick, G. and P. Kaszynska (2016, March). Understanding the value of arts & culture
The AHRC Cultural Value Project. Swindon, U.K.: Arts and Humanities Research Council.
Online at
http://www.ahrc.ac.uk/research/fundedthemesandprogrammes/culturalvalueproject/
This project was established in 2012 to:
Identify the various components of cultural value across a variety of contexts
and within a unified approach
Identify and develop methodologies that might be used to assess those
dimensions of cultural value (p. 12).
It included a wide range of cultural practice and activity: the subsidized cultural sector,
the commercial sector, and amateur and participatory arts and culture (noting the
29
need for more consideration of the role of digital technologies as an avenue of
participation and engagement). Cultural value was defined as the worth attributed to
people’s engaging and participating in these areas.
The report concludes that it is “imperative to reposition first-hand, individual experience
of arts and culture at the heart of enquiry into cultural value” and that “Far too often
the way people experience culture takes second place to its impact on phenomena
such as the economy, cities or health” (p. 7). Consequently, its “social” focus is
directed through this lens in its discussion of:
The ability of arts and cultural engagement to shape reflective individuals and
engaged citizens
The ability of the arts and culture to support healthier and more balanced
communities,
It notes the extensive literature on the contribution of arts and culture to improving
health and wellbeing, cognitive abilities, confidence, motivation, problem-solving and
communications skills. It also reviews the methodologies and evidence in support of
these measurements of cultural value and suggests:
Wider application of evaluation as a tool within the cultural sector
More use of qualitative methodologies in the study of cultural value
More rigorous case-study research.
It also reviews a wide range of social science research methodologies used to evaluate
the effects of arts and culture engagement, such as ethnography, network analysis,
and arts-based and hermeneutic methods.
Fujiwara, D., L Kudrna, and P. Dolan. (2014, April). Quantifying and Valuing the
Wellbeing Impacts of Culture and Sport. London: Department for Culture, Media & Sport.
Online at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/quantifying-and-valuing-the-
wellbeing-impacts-of-culture-and-sport
This study aimed to:
Identify the impacts of culture and sport engagement on individuals’ wellbeing;
Estimate monetary values for those wellbeing impacts using the Wellbeing
Valuation Approach (p. 6).
The Wellbeing Valuation Approach uses people’s self-reports, rather than relying on
preferences. In this study the dataset used to measure wellbeing was Wave 2 of the UK
Understanding Society Survey (2010-11). The dataset used to estimate monetary values
was the British Household Panel Survey. Multivariate regression analysis was used to
control for as many determinants of a given outcome as possible (e.g. household
income, health status, employment status). Detailed equations are provided. Cultural
activities found to be positively and significantly associated with life satisfaction were
30
engagement in the arts, attending the arts, participation in dance and crafts,
attending musical events and plays, and visiting libraries. Cultural activities found to be
negatively and significantly associated with life satisfaction were performing music (p.
23). The value of arts engagement was found to be associated with higher wellbeing
valued at £1,084 per person per year. Library engagement was found to be associated
with higher wellbeing valued at £1,359 per person per year (p. 9).
3.3 - Evaluation-based approaches
Galloway, S. (2009, June). Theory-based evaluation and the social impact of the arts,
Cultural Trends, Vol. 18 (2), 125-148. Online at
http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/09548960902826143
This article asks the question: “what types of research approach are best suited to
investigating the social effects of the arts?” (p. 126). It suggests that the key problem is
causal attribution, as many critics of social impact studies in the arts point to the failure
to “prove” causation between participation in the arts and particular effects. The
author argues that these critiques stem from the dominant experimental model used in
the natural sciences, which has limited application in the open systems of the social
world. Attempts to apply this model open themselves up to criticisms on three fronts:
that they are not generalizable to other populations; that they over claim the extent to
which the arts may be responsible for observed effects; and that they do not take
sufficient account of the complexity of the environment in which arts activity occurs.
The author argues that theory-based evaluation (TBE) may be an effective way of
addressing these three types of criticisms. TBE is based on a “generative” view of
causation, which “views change as attributable to the internal characteristics of
objects and explained through the interaction between context, and mechanism or
process” (p. 131). It focuses on particular contexts – geographic, historical, or
institutional in which change occurs and views human beings as agents of social
change, rather than passive objects being acted upon within closed systems. They
require that the researchers articulate the theory or theories by which the intervention is
intended to work before the research takes place, so that theory guides (and is tested
in ) the collection and analysis of data. In TBE, unintended consequences may be as
important as intended ones. The TBE approach favours the accumulation of knowledge
from a body of primary studies as a way of building knowledge about how and why
change occurs in complex community interventions. Strong theory assists evaluators in
examining how differences in context affect outcomes.
The author presents four studies in the UK that utilized TBE to study the arts in the context
of social inclusion, criminal justice, mental health, and the health of three target groups.
They are analyzed with regard to theory development, theory articulation (how the arts
31
activity contributed to the intended outcome), and how evidence was developed and
marshalled. In all three areas, the stakeholder group had to be satisfied that the
intervention “worked”.
Jermyn, H. (2004, July). Research report 35 The art of inclusion (Executive Summary).
London: Arts Council England. Online at
http://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/20160204123854/http://www.artscouncil.org
.uk/advice-and-guidance/browse-advice-and-guidance/the-art-of-inclusion
This report presents the findings of a three-year research project to explore social
inclusion in the arts. In addition to the report, 15 detailed case studies are available
online. The objectives of the research were to:
Gather evidence that could be used to inform policy and advocacy initiatives
Develop and test appropriate methodologies for evaluating arts initiatives with
aims related to social inclusion
Evaluate three different models of initiating and delivering projects
Identify the characteristics of successful initiatives and approaches that did not
work and the reasons for this
Develop measures of success that could be used to evaluate a broad range of
initiatives.
Twenty-eight arts organizations participated in the research, and fifteen projects were
developed into case studies. The work explored three different models of social
inclusion work community-led, work with low income communities, and partnerships
brokered by the Arts Council between funded organizations and organizations with
experience working with low-income groups.
Methods employed were a literature review, interviews with arts staff and participants,
observation of projects, and analysis of evaluations. The research report outlines good
practices for artists delivering projects, those planning and coordinating projects, and
those partnering in projects. It also discusses several barriers to sustainability of projects.
Partal, A. and K. Dunphy (2016). Cultural impact assessment: a systematic literature
review of current methods and practice around the world, Impact Assessment and
Project Appraisal. Online at http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/14615517.2015.1077600
This paper presents the results of a systematic literature review on applications of
cultural impact assessment (CIA) internationally. Findings indicate that CIA has largely
been practiced since 2002 to understand the impact of development processes on
indigenous communities. While interest in CIA was also apparent in areas of public
policy, particularly local government, little evidence was found of the practice actually
established. Only two developed tools for measuring cultural impact were found, one
each for indigenous contexts and cities. (The tool for cities is the James report (2014)
32
discussed above.) Recommendations for strengthening CIA practice include
establishing agreed definitions of culture and cultural impact, and validated tools,
including measurement frameworks and indicators.
Shishkova, V. (2015). General Mapping of Types of Impact Research in the Performing
Arts Sector (2005-15). Brussels: IETM - International network for contemporary
performing arts. Online at https://www.ietm.org/en/publications/mapping-of-types-of-
impact-research-in-the-performing-arts-sector-2005-2015 .
The purpose of this report, commissioned by the International network for
Contemporary Performing Arts, is intended to map research on the social and cultural
impact of the performing arts sector. It focuses mainly on grassroots surveys and
evaluations, rather than on academic literature. The report references 50 documents
on the social impacts of the arts including literature reviews, specific research, and
larger narratives on conceptual or measurement issues (e.g. on how to measure the
value of culture).
The specific research is a compilation of 21 case studies on the social impact of the
performing arts from Australia, Bulgaria, Hong Kong, Hungary, Latvia, Norway, Poland,
Slovakia, Spain, the United Kingdom, and Canada. This includes data and the
methodologies used in these studies.
33
4.0 - Compilations of evidence and literature reviews
Despite the widespread view among policy makers and practitioners in the cultural field
that there is little evidence with regard to the social effects of culture, there has actually
been a deluge of recent literature citing the (usually positive) impacts of engagement
with the arts and , to a lesser extent, heritage. This section provides examples of some
of this literature, which has been grouped under the same headings as the section on
frameworks (with the addition of sections on health and education and on frameworks
and methodologies ):
Evidence about culture’s effects on sustainability and community development
Evidence about culture’s effects on wellbeing and social cohesion
Evidence about the social effects of participation in culture
Evidence about culture’s effects on citizenship
Evidence about culture’s effects on health and education
Literature reviews of frameworks and methodologies
This grouping is somewhat arbitrary, since a great deal of the literature addresses more
than one area of impact. The largest body of research examines the effects of
participation in culture, but a significant portion of this evidence also documents
positive impacts on well-being and social cohesion, as well as the development of
social capital. These types of impacts also feature prominently in the literature on
culture’s effects on health and education.
Perhaps the most convincing evidence comes from several American studies that have
examined the impact of arts participation on the health of older adults and on the
cognitive skills children and young adults. There is also a growing body of evidence
about the linkages between cultural activity and individual wellbeing (usually measured
as happiness or life satisfaction), and the formation of social capital (usually in the form
of volunteering and participation).
Evidence gaps persist with regard to both scale and time vis-à-vis the social effects of
culture. Overall, evidence linking individual wellbeing to community and national
wellbeing is still relatively sparse, although a few studies have examined possible
associations between cultural engagement, social cohesion and community
sustainability. Several meta-evidence reviews, as well as a few of the studies on
participation, have attempted to separate short-term, immediate benefits from longer-
term ones, and to understand the paths and mechanisms through which cultural acts
to produce social effects.
One framework occasionally used to examine the social effects of culture relates to
citizenship and the public good, but little empirical research has been done to link
34
cultural engagement to democratic values, although a few studies have examined
cultural participation and voting behaviour.
As pointed out in more than one study, there are frequently weaknesses in data
sources, as well as difficulties in proving causation between engagement with culture
and positive social outcomes. Some of these weaknesses are being addressed by
statistical analyses of various large databases, but even here, it is frequently difficult to
determine the significance of the cultural variables if other potentially-relevant variables
have not been included in the survey.
4.1 - Culture, sustainability and community development
Arts Council England (2004, May). The impact of the arts some research evidence.
London: Arts Council England. Online at
http://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/20160204123953/http://www.artscouncil.org
.uk/advice-and-guidance/browse-advice-and-guidance/the-impact-of-the-arts-
some-research-evidence
This report provides an overview of evidence on the impact of the arts on social
inclusion and regeneration of places. The social inclusion category included evidence
with regard to:
Employment - the size of the cultural labour force, employment created through
Arts Council England funding, and the contribution of the arts to employability
through skills development
Education outcomes for learners and outcomes for schools
Health outcomes for patients, outcomes for staff, outcomes for patient-staff
relationships, outcomes for hospitals, and outcomes for the general population
Crime outcomes of arts interventions in custodial and community sentencing,
impacts on crime prevention, and outcomes with regard to literacy skills of
prisoners.
The report also examines the role of social capital in the sustainable development of
communities, citing studies that link arts participation to increased community
engagement and volunteering.
Large evidentiary databases are being assembled in some parts of the world,
particularly the United Kingdom and the United States, on both the individual and
community effects of engagement in culture. A few experimentally-based and
longitudinal studies on the impact of cultural activity on health outcomes have also
been found.
35
Guetzkow, J. (2002). How the Arts Impact Communities: An introduction to the literature
on arts impact studies. Working Paper Series 20. Princeton: Centre for Arts and Culture
Policy Studies, Princeton University. Online at
https://www.princeton.edu/~artspol/workpap20.html
This literature review and critical analysis provides an overview of various claims about
the impact of the arts on communities. It critically examines a range of causal
mechanisms through which positive outcomes might arise. These mechanisms (direct
involvement, audience participation, and the presence of artists and arts organizations)
are studied as to their impacts on either individuals or communities. Social impact is
considered primarily a community effect insofar as these mechanisms build social
capital, bring together people who might not otherwise have contact, promote cultural
diversity and reduce crime and delinquency. The paper also raises a number of
theoretical and methodological issues, including such problems as defining “the arts”
and “impact”, proving causation, lack of comparison with other programs or policies,
and lack of adequate data.
Mills, D. and P. Brown (2004). Art and Wellbeing A guide to connections between
Community Cultural Development and Health, Ecologically Sustainable Development,
Public Housing and Place, Rural Revitalization, Community Strengthening, Active
Citizenship, Social Inclusion and Cultural Diversity. Sydney: Australia Council for the Arts.
Formerly online at http://trove.nla.gov.au/work/33524092 (no longer accessible)
This guide assembles case study material to demonstrate the connections between
community cultural development and government wellbeing initiatives in the following
areas:
Health social, environmental, and clinical policies
Ecologically sustainable development
Public housing and place in major cities
Rural revitalization
Community strengthening government initiatives aimed at increasing a
community’s capacity to resolve social, economic, or environmental issues
Active citizenship involvement of citizens and communities in government
processes
Social inclusion and cultural diversity strategies to overcome barriers based on
gender, ethnicity, race, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, mental health,
or disability (p. 11).
The guide adopts a concept of wellbeing “which builds on a social and environmental
view of health, and recognises the inter-relatedness of environmental responsibility,
social equity, economic viability and cultural development” (p. 4). This approach also
recognizes that active citizenship or participatory democracy is a building block for
36
sustainability and wellbeing. Community cultural development in this context provides
a means of recognizing and incorporating a community’s culture and values into
broader social and economic strategies.
Community cultural development can utilize either instrumental approaches
(implementation of policy using the arts) or transformational approaches (using
creative activity “to help determine policy, negotiate shared understanding and map
out solutions”) (p. 9). This guide found that arts organizations were particularly effective
in creating both bonding and bridging social capital.
4.2 - Culture, wellbeing, and social cohesion
Canadian Index of Wellbeing (2010, 15 June). Caught in the Time Crunch: Time Use,
Leisure and Culture in Canada. Waterloo: University of Waterloo. Online at
https://uwaterloo.ca/canadian-index-wellbeing/sites/ca.canadian-index-
wellbeing/files/uploads/files/Caught_in_the_Time_Crunch.sflb_.pdf
This report utilizes the General Social Survey on Time Use from 1992, 1998 and 2005 to
trace the amounts of time spent on leisure and cultural pursuits by Canadians. It found
a significant drop in leisure time over those years. Using the Canadian Survey on Giving,
Volunteering and Participating from 1997, 2000, and 2004, it also found a drop in
volunteering for culture and recreation organizations. It concluded that these trends
bode poorly for the wellbeing of individuals, community, and society (p. 24).
CASE (The Culture and Sport Evidence Program). (2010, July). Understanding the drivers,
impact and value of engagement in culture and sport -- An over-arching summary of
the research. London: Department for Culture, Media and Sport. Online at
https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/71231
/CASE-supersummaryFINAL-19-July2010.pdf
The CASE programme is a joint strategic research programme led by the Department
for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) and several arms-length bodies: Arts Council
England, English Heritage, Museums, Libraries and Archives Council and Sport England.
The aim of CASE is to use interdisciplinary research methods and analysis to inform the
development of policy in culture and sport. The CASE research database is now the
foremost repository of empirical studies on culture and sport engagement in the world
with over 5000 studies. These studies examine the factors that predict engagement and
the impact of policy on engagement,
Overall, the CASE programme outlines the value of engagement in culture and sport,
both in terms of the short-term individual value of engagement specifically the
improvement in subjective well-being generated by engagement in culture and sport
and the longer-term benefits to society as summarized in the table below.
37
Benefits generated by engagement in culture and sport
Individual engager
Achievement
Continuity with the past
Creativity
Diversion
Enjoyment
Escape
Expression
Health
Income
Inspiration
Knowledge of culture
Self-esteem
Self-identity
Skills/competency
Solace/consolation
Community
Bequest value
Community cohesion
Community identity
Creativity
Employment
Existence value
Innovation
Option to use
Productivity
Reduced crime
Shared experience
Social capital
National
Citizenship
International reputation
National pride
The study team also used subjective well-being (SWB) measures to value the short-term
private gain associated with engagement. The approach involves two steps. First,
survey data is used to estimate how a person’s SWB changes when they engage in
culture and sport. Second, this change in SWB is valued monetarily using the ‘income
compensation approach’. The analysis estimates the increase in SWB generated by an
increase in income. This effect is then used to estimate the change in income that
would generate the same change in SWB associated with engagement in culture and
sport. The findings demonstrated that engagement in culture and sport has a positive
effect on SWB. For example, it was found that attending a concert once a week
generated SWB that was the equivalent of an over £8,000 increase in annual household
income.
Fujiwara, D. and G. MacKerron (2015, January). Cultural activities, artforms and
wellbeing. London: Arts Council England. Online at
http://www.artscouncil.org.uk/cultural-activities-artforms-and%C2%A0wellbeing-0
Using Mappiness an iPhone application available in the United Kingdom that permits
individuals to record their wellbeing scores via their phone and written by two
economists, this study examines the relationship between cultural engagement and
wellbeing. Individuals who have downloaded the Mappiness app receive randomly
timed “dings” on their phone to request that they complete a short survey that asks
them to rate their happiness and relaxation with the activities that they are engaged in
38
at that moment. The app also transmits the satellite positioning (GPS) location of the
individual and the precise time at which the survey was completed. The cultural
activities included in this report are:
• Being at theatre, dance, or concert
• Being at an exhibition, museum, or library
• Listening to music
• Reading
• Doing hobbies, arts, or crafts
• Singing or performing
All cultural activities were found to be significantly associated with happiness and
relaxation. Those most associated with happiness were ranked in terms of coefficient
size as follows:
1. Theatre, dance, concerts
2. Singing, performing
3. Exhibitions, museums, libraries
4. Hobbies, arts, crafts
5. Listening to music
6. Reading
Those most associated with relaxation were ranked in terms of coefficient size as follows:
1. Exhibitions, museums, libraries
2. Hobbies, arts, crafts
3. Theatre, dance, concerts
4. Singing, performing
5. Reading
6. Listening to music
These results were statistically significant after controlling for other factors.
Jeannotte, M.S. (2003). Singing Alone? The Contribution of Cultural Capital to Social
Cohesion and Sustainable Communities, The International Journal of Cultural Policy, Vol.
9 (1), 35-49. Online at
http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/1028663032000089507
In this article, the author focuses on the linkages between personal investments in
culture and the propensity to volunteer, using data from the Canadian General Social
Survey 1998. The analysis cites research on social capital by Putnam and on cultural
capital by Bourdieu as the conceptual framework and situates this work within a social
ecology framework that views social spaces as dynamic systems or networks within
which individuals are constantly subjected to experiences and take actions that modify
these spaces or fields. These interactions have both individual and collective impacts.
The author argues that different types of cultural participation have an impact on the
quality of social capital.
39
The analysis of the 1998 GSS data indicated that:
Those who engaged in various types of cultural consumption (ranging from
attending musical performances to reading magazines) were more likely to
volunteer than those who did not (34% as compared to 20%)
Those who participated in culture actively (such as singing in a choir or playing a
musical instrument) were also more likely to volunteer than those who did not
The volunteer rate increased with volume of cultural participation (with those
who participated at more than 20 events per year having a volunteer rate of
almost 66%, as compared to about 13% for those who attended only one to four
events a year).
The author suggests that there is a very important feedback loop between cultural
capital and civil society / social capital that has not been adequately explored in a
holistic way.
McCarthy, K.F., E.H. Ondaatje, L. Zakaras, and A. Brooks (2004). Gifts of the Muse
Reframing the Debate About the Benefits of the Arts. Santa Monica, CA: RAND
Corporation. Online at
https://www.rand.org/content/dam/rand/pubs/monographs/2005/RAND_MG218.pdf
This report is a very comprehensive review of the benefits of the arts, including evidence
for instrumental benefits, conceptual theories from multiple disciplines, literature on
intrinsic benefits, and literature on participation in the arts.
Evidence of instrumental benefits falls within the following categories:
Cognitive learning skills and academic performance
Attitudinal and behavioural development of attitudes such as self-discipline,
behaviours such as school attendance, and pro-social attitudes such as social
bonds
Health improved physical and mental health, and reduced stress and anxiety
Social promotion of social interactions within communities, community identity,
social capital, and development of organizational capacities, such as
volunteering
Economic direct, indirect, and public goods benefits
In general, the report concluded that much of empirical research on instrumental
benefits has both conceptual and methodological limitations.
Evidence of intrinsic benefits falls into three categories:
Private (of value mainly to the individual) captivation and pleasure derived
from artistic works
40
Semi-public expanded capacity for empathy, cognitive growth (new
perspectives on the world)
Public creation of social bonds, expression of communal meanings
The report also includes a section on policy implications and recommendations based
on this evidence review and a detailed appendix of the theoretical literature on
learning and behavioural change at the individual level, and social and economic
change at the community level.
National Economic and Social Forum (2007, January). The Arts, Cultural Inclusion and
Social Cohesion NESF Report 35. Dublin: NESF. Online at
http://edepositireland.ie/handle/2262/71433
This report documents an Irish project that examined evidence and practices with
regard to how the arts contribute to cultural inclusion and social cohesion, with the aim
of making recommendations on how this could be further enhanced. The questions
explored were:
What is meant by arts participation and cultural inclusion?
Why does participation in the arts and cultural inclusion matter? In particular,
how does it contribute to social cohesiveness?
What are the main barriers to cultural inclusion through participation in the arts?
What policies and measures have been put in place in Ireland to address, either
directly or indirectly, the issues of participation in the arts and cultural inclusion?
Drawing on existing Irish practice and lessons, if any, from elsewhere what
changes can be recommended to improve the contribution of the arts to
cultural inclusion and social cohesion?
The report examines both private and collective benefits of arts participation and
provides statistics on participation at arts events and reading behaviour, broken down
by occupational class, household income, education, and age, as well as statistics on
voluntary arts activity and participation in library activities. It also reviews evidence on
barriers to participation in the arts, including family commitments, time, cost, transport,
disabilities, literacy, access to information technologies, social/ psychological factors,
organizational barriers, communication barriers, and ethnic/racial issues. It concludes
that “the arts contribute to and strengthen social capital” which is “associated with
higher economic growth, greater social equality, and increased levels of well-being
and life satisfaction” (p. 107). However, it found wide variations in arts participation
related to educational level, socio-economic status, area, and age.
The balance of the report reviews key legislation, policies and programs in Ireland that
promote cultural and social inclusion, and makes a number of strategic
recommendations that would increase the potential of the arts to enhance social
capital and create a more inclusive and cohesive society (p. 114).
41
Torjman, S. (2004, April). Culture and Recreation: Links to Well-Being. Ottawa: Caledon
Institute of Social Policy. Online at
http://www.caledoninst.org/Publications/PDF/472ENG.pdf
This publication reviews evidence in support of the contribution of culture and
recreation in four areas:
Health and wellbeing
Skills development
Social capital
Economic impact
It notes that these benefits are continually at risk due to the fact that culture and
recreation tend to be among the first targets of government funding cuts.
4.3 - Culture, connectedness and participation
Alberta Foundation for the Arts (2014). Arts Impact Alberta 2014: Ripple Effects from the
Arts. Edmonton: Alberta Foundation for the Arts and Alberta Government. Online at
https://www.affta.ab.ca/news/arts-impact-alberta-2014
This report analyzes data from 670 non-profits arts organizations that received funding
from the Alberta Foundation for the Arts (AFA) between 2006 and 2013. It developed
indicators on public engagement in the arts, volunteerism in Alberta’s arts
organizations, economic impact of the arts in Alberta, and employment in AFA-funded
arts organizations. In terms of social impacts, it found that:
1. The majority (85 per cent) of adult Albertans attend at least one arts event per
year, and just over half participate directly in an art form in their home or
community.
2. Nonprofit arts organizations in Alberta present an average of 24,000 events per
year throughout the province.
3. Each year, about 50,000 Albertans, the equivalent of an entire medium sized city
such as Medicine Hat or St. Albert, volunteer for arts organizations.
4. These volunteers give an average of 34 hours of their time to the nonprofit arts
organization of their choice, and collectively work the equivalent of an
estimated 1,075 full-time jobs.
5. The total employment generated by the sector is estimated at 3,008 full-time
equivalent jobs (including jobs generated in other sectors).
Carnwath, J.D. and A.S. Brown (2014). Understanding the Value and Impacts of Cultural
Experiences A Literature Review. Manchester: Arts Council England. Online at
42
http://www.artscouncil.org.uk/sites/default/files/download-
file/Understanding_the_Value_and_Impacts_of_Cultural_Experiences.pdf
This report explores the theoretical literature on the value cultural experiences to
individuals, to cultural organizations and to consumers. While not primarily about the
social impact of culture, the report’s section on individual impacts of arts and culture
includes indicators of social connectedness, sense of belonging, shared experience,
social bridging, and social bonding. These indicators tend to reflect the extended and
cumulative impacts of cultural engagement, rather than immediate experienced
impacts, and therefore shape behaviours that have a broader societal impact
The authors pose several critical questions about these extended (social) impacts:
What is an effective ‘dose’ of culture? Can a two-minute video clip provide as
much impact as a four-hour opera or is the duration an important factor?
If impacts deteriorate in the absence of additional cultural experiences, how
often must one experience impacts to build up cumulative impacts?
How do the impacts of various art forms differ from one another?
How do the experiences of various cultural events interact with each other? Is
the relationship always symbiotic or can they also detract from each other?
The report notes the dearth of research on the cumulative impacts of cultural
experiences on individuals and their families.
Community Foundations of Canada (2015) Vital Signs Arts & Belonging. Online at
http://communityfoundations.ca/artsandbelonging/
Using a variety of data sources, this report provides national-level indicators of the
linkages between participation in the arts and a sense of belonging or being part of a
collective. For example, it reports that Canadians who rate arts, culture, and leisure in
their city or town as “excellent” are 2.8 times more likely to report a “very strong” sense
of belonging to their city or town, compared to those who rate arts as “poor” (p. 5). It
also cites evidence indicating the positive social benefits for artists, seniors, youth,
newcomers, audiences , Indigenous peoples, francophone minority populations, and
communities (both urban and rural) of arts participation.
Hill, K. (2008, March). Social Effects of the Arts: Exploratory Statistical Evidence, Statistical
Insights on the Arts, Vol. 6 (4). Online at http://www.hillstrategies.com/content/social-
effects-culture-exploratory-statistical-evidence
This exploratory report examines the relationship between four cultural activities
(reading books, attending live performances, visiting art galleries, and attending movie
theatres) and various social effects. It also conducts a brief literature review of the
subject. The potential social effects of culture identified in the literature review were:
43
Volunteering and donating
Neighbourhood connections
Sense of belonging
Social activities
Labour force participation
Quality of life
Cross tabulations with these social effects were carried out for each of the cultural
activities. The data were drawn from Canada’s General Social Survey of 2005, which
had a sample size of about 20,000. Unfortunately, the survey design was split so that
only half of the respondents answered questions about cultural activities, and the other
half answered questions about social networking and trust. Therefore, it was not
possible to cross-tabulate the cultural responses with these factors. However, the
factors that were cross-tabulated included volunteering, donating, neighbourhood
connections, sense of belonging, enjoyment of social activities, economic
participation, and quality of life. These are presented in some detail in the body of the
report.
Overall, the report reveals some statistical evidence of a relationship between certain
cultural activities and positive social engagement. This is particularly the case for art
gallery visitors and book readers. However, the relationship was not as strong for
performing arts attendees, and was not statistically significant for movie theatre
attendance.
McDonnell, B. and D. Shellard (2006, July). Social Impact Study of UK Theatre. London:
Arts Council England. Online at
http://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/20160204123109/http://www.artscouncil.org
.uk/advice-and-guidance/browse-advice-and-guidance/social-impact-study-of-uk-
theatre
This research assesses theatre’s social impact, within a framework which builds on the
creative aims and analyses of theatre practitioners. It draws on examples of good
practice and highlights the values and practical steps which underlie it. The findings
are based on a questionnaire, which was sent to 448 members of the Independent
Theatre Council, as well as an intensive examination based on interviews and
documents of ten selected companies. Four of these companies were visited and
were the subject of case studies.
The study identified ten factors which contribute to the positive social impact of
theatre. These were: artistic excellence, cultural partnerships, access, participatory
creative process, giving public voice to marginalized experiences, ethical practices,
evaluation, training, partner funding, and good governance.
Highlights of the findings were:
44
Almost nine of out ten (88%) of practitioners surveyed considered that theatre
had a personal impact on participants
More than eight out of ten (82%) of practitioners surveyed considered that
theatre resulted in group impacts
Two thirds (65%) of practitioners surveyed assessed theatre as having civic
impacts
More than four out of ten (42%) of practitioners surveyed believed that theatre
has hard impacts (such as increased employment or contributions to the local
economy)
Social impacts were found across a rich spectrum of activity, spanning both
process-led and performance-centred work
Stable funding was critical to social impact
Further work was needed to define more clearly the types of impact identified
through the survey.
National Endowment for the Arts (2005). The Arts and Civic Engagement: Involved in
Arts, Involved in Life. Washington: National Endowment for the Arts. Online at
https://www.arts.gov/publications/arts-and-civic-engagement-involved-arts-involved-
life-0
This American study, based on data from the 2002 Survey of Public Participation in the
Arts, found that arts participation overwhelmingly correlated with positive individual
and civic behaviours. The Survey, conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau, interviewed
over 17,000 adults. There were almost 5,000 young adults (18-24) in the sample. Among
the key results were the following:
Readers and arts participants are twice as likely as non-participants to volunteer
in their communities (p. 4)
Volunteerism in young adults has declined slightly (p. 6).
The study also found that arts participation among younger adults is falling, along with
most forms of civic and social engagement (comparing 1982 to1992).
National Endowment for the Arts (2009, October). Art-Goers in Their Communities:
Patterns of Civic and Social Engagement. Washington: National Endowment for the Arts.
Online at https://www.arts.gov/publications/art-goers-their-communities-patterns-
civic-and-social-engagement
This study presents data from the 2008 Survey of Public Participation in the Arts and
builds on the research outlined in the 2005 report (above). The 2008 Survey included
additional questions on civic activities, including attending community meetings and
voting in presidential elections. Among the key findings:
45
American adults who attend museums, galleries, or live arts performance are
more likely to vote, volunteer, or take part in community events.
The volunteer rate for performing arts attendees was 57%, more than 35
percentage points higher than that of adults who did not attend arts
performances.
The volunteer rate for art museum visitors was 58%, more than double that of
adults who did not visit art museums.
For literary readers, the 43% volunteer rate was higher by 22 points than for non-
literary readers.
The share of performing arts attendees and museum-goers participating in
community events was more than 50%, a rate three times higher than that
reported for non-attenders.
Voting was also more prevalent among arts-goers, with almost 73% of literary
readers voting in the prior presidential election, compared to 63% among the
general population.
Americans who create or perform art are also more civically active than the
general population, with more than 50% volunteering and attending community
meetings, compared to the 32% volunteer rate and the 23% attendance rate
among the general population.
Among choir singers, more than 65% did volunteer work and 60% attended
community meetings.
Attendance at traditional arts events continues to fall among the young adult
population (18 to 34 years of age), dropping to 35% in 2008, down nine points
from 1982.
Regression analysis was performed to compare volunteering and civic engagement
rates with other independent variables, such as education and gender. It was found
that performing arts attendees are 3.8 times to volunteer than non-attendees,
regardless of education, gender, and other demographic traits. Only education rivals
performing arts attendance as a predictor of such involvement.
Nichols, B. (2007, June). Volunteers with Arts or Cultural Organizations: a 2005 Profile.
Research Note #95. Washington: National Endowment for the Arts. Online at
https://www.arts.gov/sites/default/files/95.pdf
This report is based on data from a supplement to the September 2005 U.S. Current
Population Survey, which has a sample of 60,000 households. The volunteering period
covered was September 2004 to September 2005. Among the key findings:
In 2005, 65.4 million people volunteered in the U.S., but only 1 million people, or
1.6% volunteered with arts and cultural groups (defined as media and
communications firms, visual arts and ceramics groups, museums, zoos and
aquariums, performing arts organizations, and historical and literary societies).
46
A further 7.1 million people provided free artistic services to other types of
organizations, such as churches or youth groups.
Arts and culture volunteers are older than volunteers with other organizations,
with a median age of 51, as compared to a median age of 44 for all volunteers.
Of the 1 million arts and cultural volunteers, 60% are women.
Whites comprise 87% of all arts and cultural volunteers. Asians make up 6% of
arts and cultural volunteers, while African Americans account for only 5.4% and
Hispanics only 4%.
Almost 62% of arts volunteers have college degrees, compared to 44% of all
volunteers.
The median number of volunteer hours by arts and cultural volunteers was 70,
compared to an average of 50 hours for all volunteers. This was the highest
among all volunteers except for those volunteering with public safety
organizations (96 hours).
Arts and cultural volunteers were most likely to provide music, performance, or
other types of artistic services (37%), followed by fundraising (35%), managerial
assistance (28%), and general labour and office services (21% each).
Over 20% of arts and cultural volunteers were asked to help by a relative, friend
or co-worker, as compared to only 14% of all volunteers, suggesting that arts and
cultural organizations may rely more heavily on social networking to attract
volunteers.
Polzella, D.J. and J.S. Forbis (2016, 23 June). Relationships between different types and
modes of arts-related experiences, motivation and civic engagement. Washington:
National Endowment for the Arts. Online at
https://www.arts.gov/sites/default/files/Research-Art-Works-Dayton3.pdf
This is a follow-up to an earlier study (Polzella and Forbis (2013) Pro-social and economic
indications of participation in the arts) that set out to determine the relationship
between participation in the arts and pro-social civic engagement, as well as
motivations for participation in the arts. The earlier study found that individuals who
attended a greater number of music performances over the course of the year had a
greater likelihood of voting, volunteering or making charitable donations, and
participating in community activities.
To address limitations in the earlier study, the researchers set out to determine whether
they could replicate it using a different sample of individuals, and generalize the
findings to electronic media and to non-traditional musical performances. They also re-
examined motivations for experiencing arts-related events. This was done by analyzing
data from the Public Participation in the Arts Supplement to the 2012 Current Population
Survey and the 2012 General Social Survey Arts Supplement.
The major findings of the new study were:
47
Previous findings were confirmed with regard to the pro-social behaviours of
individuals who attend traditional live musical performances (i.e. voting, making
charitable donations, volunteering and attending community meetings).
Individuals who attended other live arts-related events were also more likely to
engage in pro-social behaviour.
The link between exposure to the arts and pro-social behaviour is based primarily
on the social characteristics of these encounters (e.g. shared group identity,
familiarity with performers, customs or rituals).
Individuals who were exposed to the arts through the internet were also more
likely to engage in pro-social behaviour.
Reasons for attending did not operate independently of each other and should
not be considered in isolation (pp. 3-4).
The appendices of the study also contain useful information on the variables
considered from the two surveys and the methodologies used to analyze the data.
4.4 - Culture and citizenship
Hertie School of Governance (2016, December). Cultural Participation and Inclusive
Societies A thematic report based on the Indicator Framework on Culture and
Democracy. Strasbourg: Council of Europe. Online at https://edoc.coe.int/en/culture-
and-democracy/7285-pdf-cultural-participation-and-inclusive-societies-a-thematic-
report-based-on-the-indicator-framework-on-culture-and-democracy.html
This report draws on data collected within the Indicator Framework on Culture and
Democracy and other sources to explore the links that exist between a population’s
cultural participation and the characteristics of an open, inclusive society, such as
tolerance and trust. Within the impact frameworks outlined above, this report
examined impacts related to cultural citizenship. It found that “Cultural participation
more generally and specific forms of cultural activity, especially artistic expression,
online creativity and passive participation are indeed strongly associated with trust,
tolerance and related dimensions of an inclusive society” (p. 29).
Miringoff, M-L. and S. Opdycke (2005). Arts, Culture, and the Social Health of the Nation
2005. Poughkeepsie, N.Y.: Institute for Innovation in Social Policy. Online at
http://iisp.vassar.edu/artsculture.pdf
Based on the U.S. National Social Survey 2004, this report analyzes evidence on the
importance of arts and culture to Americans, as well as adults’ and children’s
participation in arts and culture. From the perspective of social impact, the authors
found that:
48
78% of Americans believe that attending arts events helps them to see things
from other people’s perspectives.
Americans rate as highly important in their lives: reading (87%), creative work
(86%), and listening to music (83%).
Participation in arts and culture declined in all six of the cultural activities that
the researchers monitored between 2002 and 2004.
In comparing behaviour by income level, adults earning under $35,000 per year
were significantly less likely to participate in arts and cultural activities (20
percentage point differences for attendance at art shows, museums, and live
performances).
4.5 - Culture and health/education
Arts Council England (2014). The Value of Arts and Culture to People and Society An
evidence review. London: Arts Council England. Online at
http://www.artscouncil.org.uk/sites/default/files/download-
file/Value_arts_culture_evidence_review.pdf
This report begins with the point that culture and the arts have intrinsic as well as
instrumental value (i.e. not just because they can be used to achieve ends outside
themselves). It notes that intrinsic effects of arts and culture spill over into the
instrumental area because they help to create social bonds and cultivate good
citizens.
The evidence review examines the impact of culture and the arts in several areas:
Economy national and local economies, artists, creative and cultural industries,
savings to the public purse
Health and well-being ageing populations
Society social inclusion and citizenship, crime
Education educational attainment, school curriculum, employment outcomes,
“soft” outcomes and socio-cognitive development
In the social sphere, it cites evidence that those who attended a cultural place or
event were more likely to report good health and better subjective wellbeing
compared to those who did not. There was also much evidence about the therapeutic
benefits of such participation for those suffering from various health conditions.
Evidence was also cited to show that students who engage in the arts in school are
more likely to volunteer and to be employed as adults. Participation in structured arts
activities led to improved cognitive abilities in some studies and to improvements in
literacy in others. Students from low income families who took part in arts activities in
49
school were shown to be three times more likely to get a degree than those who did
not.
The report found a notable absence of research in such areas as longitudinal studies of
the health benefits of arts participation and comparative studies of the effects of arts
participation as opposed to sport participation. There were also gaps in research on
the effects of arts and cultural participation on crime recidivism rates, and on the
environment and sustainability.
Catterall, J.S., S.A. Dumais and G. Hampden-Thompson (2012, March). The Arts and
Achievement in At-Risk Youth: Findings from Four Longitudinal Studies. Washington:
National Endowment for the Arts. Online at https://www.arts.gov/sites/default/files/Arts-
At-Risk-Youth.pdf
This study utilized databases from four longitudinal studies of American youth:
National Education Longitudinal Study of 1988 (1987-2000)
Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, Kindergarten Class of 1998-1999 (1998-2007)
Educational Longitudinal Study of 2002 (2002-2012)
National Longitudinal Survey of Youth of 1997 (1997-ongoing)
Because the cohorts in each database were followed over time, this study addresses
some of the weaknesses of small group case studies of the effects of arts participation
on youth. It focuses on children and youth from lower socioeconomic (SES)
backgrounds to determine the impact of arts exposure on academic achievement,
extracurricular activities, civic engagement, and career aspirations. The arts activities
included course-taking in music, dance, theatre and visual arts, out-of-school art
lessons, and membership, participation or leadership in arts organizations and activities.
Examples of some of the findings include:
71% of youth with low SES backgrounds and arts-rich experiences attended some
sort of college after high school as compared to 48% of those in the same
category with low levels of arts experiences.
Low SES high school students who earned few or no arts credits were five times
more likely not to graduate than low SES students who earned many arts credits.
Low SES students who had intensive arts experiences in high school were three
times more likely than those lacking such experiences to earn a bachelor’s
degree.
Low SES young adults who had arts-rich experiences in high school were more
likely than low SES young adults to have volunteered recently.
Young adults from low SES backgrounds who had arts-rich experiences were
more likely to vote or participate in a political campaign than those who had
low arts experiences.
50
While all the results of the study were statistically significant, the authors caution that
they show only positive correlations and not necessarily causation. Like many other
researchers, they note the need to control for all the possibly relevant variables, such as
influences of family, home, school and neighbourhood, or gender, race and ethnicity,
which were not always included in the databases,
Cohen, G.D. (2006). Research on Creativity and Aging: The Positive Impact of the Arts
on Health and Illness, Generations, Vol. XXX (1), 7-15. Online at
http://www.peopleandstories.net/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/RESEARCH-ON-
CREATIVITY-AND-AGING.pdf
This article describes the results of the Creativity and Aging Study, conducted at the
George Washington University Center on Health, Aging & Humanities. This was the first
formal study, using an experimental design, including a control group, which examined
the influence of participatory arts programs provided by professional artists on the
general health, mental health, and social activities of older people. The study found
that after one year, the intervention group reported better health, fewer falls, and
greater improvements with regard to depression, loneliness, and overall morale. These
results indicated that community-based arts programs run by professional artists can
have a positive impact on maintaining the independence of older people.
Hill, K. (2013, January 30). The Arts and Individual Well-Being in Canada: Connections
between Cultural Activities and Health, Volunteering, Satisfaction with Life, and Other
Social Indicators in 2010. Statistical Insights on the Arts, Vol. 11 (2). Report funded by the
Department of Canadian Heritage, the Canada Council for the Arts and the Ontario Arts
Council. Online at http://www.hillstrategies.com/content/arts-and-individual-well-
being-canada
Using cross-tabulations from Statistics Canada’s General Social Survey of 2010, this study
found a strong connection between cultural activities and eight indicators of health
and wellbeing. Specifically, the key findings were that:
Art gallery visits are associated with better health and higher volunteer rates
Theatre attendance is associated with better health, volunteering, and strong
satisfaction with life
Classical music attendance is associated with higher volunteer rates and strong
satisfaction with life
Pop music attendance is associated with better health, volunteering, and strong
satisfaction with life
Attendance at cultural festivals is associated with better health, volunteering,
and strong satisfaction with life
Reading books is associated with better health, volunteering, and strong
satisfaction with life (p. 1).
51
The study’s author cautions that while there is a statistically significant correlation
between these variables, it is difficult to prove a cause and effect relationship in the
absence of other, possibly relevant variables, that were not included in the General
Social Survey.
Hill, K. (2014, June). Making a Holistic Case for the Arts: Canadian Evidence regarding
the Relationship between the Arts and the Quality of Life, Well-being, Health, Education,
Society, and the Economy. Report for the Canadian Public Arts Funders Network.
Ottawa: Hill Strategies. Online at http://www.hillstrategies.com/content/making-
holistic-case-arts
The report provides summaries of research in support of the social effects enumerated
in the title. It notes that research on arts and health, arts and education, the economy,
and quality of community life are relatively numerous, but that there is less research on
impacts on society and identity. Other gaps include lack of Canadian information on
the benefits of arts education, research on the arts and well-being of adults, and studies
linking personal and public outcomes. It also mentioned the need for more research on
arts engagement beyond attendance.
Rajan, K.B and R.S. Rajan (2017, September). Staying Engaged: Health Patterns of Older
Americans Who Participate in the Arts. Washington: National Endowment for the Arts.
Online at https://www.arts.gov/sites/default/files/StayingEngaged_0917_0.pdf
This report responds to a frequent methodological criticism of research on the social
effects of the arts namely the lack of longitudinal studies. It examines data from the
U.S. Health and Retirement Study, a national survey of adults over 55 years of age who
are tracked over time. The report has three aims:
To describe how participation in various arts activities correlated with health
outcomes in a 2014 sample (when a special cultural supplement was added to
the survey)
To describe how changes in health measured prior to 2014 are associated with
arts participation in 2014
To generate hypotheses that can be used to test these associations in future
prospective and randomized studies (p. 1).
The findings were that:
In 2014, older adults who both created art and attended arts events or
institutions had higher levels of cognitive functioning, lower rates of limitations to
daily physical functioning, and lower rates of hypertension relative to older adults
who did neither type of activity.
In 2014, older adults who only attended arts events or institutions still had higher
cognitive functioning, lower rates of hypertension, and lower rates of limitations
52
to daily physical functioning than older adults who neither created art nor
attended arts events.
Among older adults who both created art and attended arts events or
institutions in 2014, levels of cognitive functioning had decreased at a slower rate
from 2002 to 2014.
Among older adults who both created art and attended arts events or
institutions in 2014, rates of hypertension and limitations to daily physical
functioning had grown more slowly from 2002 to 2014 (p. 3).
Creative arts activities included visual art-making, dancing, singing or playing a musical
instrument, acting, making photography, graphic design or film, and writing stories,
poetry or plays. Attending arts events included art museums, galleries, arts or crafts
fairs, live performances, and movies.
Taylor, P., L. Davies, P. Wells, J. Gilbertson, and W. Tayleur (2015, March). A Review of the
Social Impacts of Culture and Sport. London: Culture and Sport Evidence (CASE)
Programme. Online at http://www.artsandhealth.ie/wp-
content/uploads/2015/05/A_review_of_the_Social_Impacts_of_Culture_and_Sport-
2015.pdf
This report reviews the current evidence base on the social impacts of sport and
culture. In the realm of culture it reviews evidence with regard to the arts, heritage,
and museums, libraries, and archives.
The literature reviewed focuses on four types of social impacts: improved health,
reduced crime, increased social capital, and improved education outcomes. In
addition, literature on subjective wellbeing was examined, and other social impacts,
such as attitudinal change and civic engagement were included under the category
of “multiple social impacts”. It highlighted a number of methodological issues, such as
the lack of understanding about mechanisms through which beneficial outcomes take
place and about the impacts of different types, frequencies, and intensities of
exposure. The report provides logic models through which exposure to arts, heritage,
museums, libraries, and archives might lead to positive social outcomes.
In the arts domain, the report found evidence of positive impacts on health, particularly
with regard to the health benefits of music for both the general population and stroke
victims. In the area of crime, there is evidence of beneficial impacts on intermediate
outcomes, such as improvements in communication skills and self-concepts among
offenders, but much less evidence with regard to crime prevention. The best evidence
found by the study team related to social capital, indicating that cultural participation
can contribute to social relationships, networks, communication skills, self- esteem and
trust. Positive evidence was also found linking arts participation to intermediate
53
educational outcomes, such as improvements in self-concepts and relationships, but
there was less evidence with regard to educational attainment.
In the heritage domain, much less evidence was found with regard to social impacts.
The literature reviewed suggested potentially mixed effects of heritage on social capital
(bonding capital, bridging capital, linking capital and volunteering). A review of
heritage project evaluations and studies identified examples of improved social
inclusion and social cohesion, personal skill development and improved self concepts
for volunteers, but the quality of the evidence could not be assessed.
Very little empirical evidence was found for the social impact of the museums, libraries
and archives domain, and most of what was found pertained to social capital,
particularly volunteering. Surprisingly, little convincing evidence was found with regard
to the relationship between museums, libraries, and archives and educational
outcomes. A few studies of the sector’s impact on community identity, education,
health and social capital have been conducted, but the current evidence base was
judged to be weak.
Tsegaya, S., I.D. Moss, K. Ingersoll, R. Ratzkin, S. Wynne, and B. Yi (2016, December 19).
Everything We Know About Whether and How the Arts Improve Lives. Createquity.com.
Online at http://createquity.com/2016/12/everything-we-know-about-whether-and-
how-the-arts-improve-lives/?utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=ARM%2016-
1%20EN&utm_source=Envoke%20-
%20HSR%20EN&utm_content=Arts%20education%2C%20theatre%2C%20social%20bene
fits%3A%20Arts%20Res
This online article critically examines evidence with regard to the impact of arts
participation in four areas: physical and mental health; education and personal
development; economic development; and social cohesion. It found the strongest
evidence in the areas of education and personal development and physical and
mental health, particularly with regard to music participation. While causal relationships
and mechanisms were not clear, the authors concluded that:
Participatory arts activities help to maintain the health and quality of life of older
adults.
Art therapies contribute to positive clinical outcomes such as reduction in
anxiety, stress and pain for patients.
Arts participation in early childhood promotes social and emotional
development.
Student participation in structured arts activities enhances cognitive abilities and
social skills (although evidence that it improves academic attainment is sparse).
The authors did not find as much convincing evidence with regard to the arts and
social cohesion a term which they used to describe studies of social capital, social
54
wellbeing, social inclusion, and arts for social change. They found several studies of the
relationship between arts participation and voting, volunteering, or attending
community meetings. However, these studies did not test for the possibility of another
set of behaviours or values that might be driving both arts engagement and civic
behaviour.
Like many other researchers who have examined the meta-evidence, they emphasize
the need for more longitudinal studies and randomized control trials to determine
whether the positive effects were attributable to arts participation and persisted over
time.
4.6 Literature reviews of frameworks and methodologies
Department of Canadian Heritage (2016, February). Social Impacts and Benefits of Arts
and Culture: A Literature Review. Ottawa: Department of Canadian Heritage. Online at
http://pilot.open.canada.ca/ckan/en/dataset/660bd52a-c514-5b97-825e-
e09e18289066
This report provides an overview of key theories that have contributed to existing
frameworks for measuring the social impact of the art and culture. These include the
work of Pierre Bourdieu, Robert Putnam, Jane Jenson, and Richard Florida. It also
examines frameworks that have been used by various governments to attempt to
measure these social impacts, including the Canadian Framework for Culture Statistics;
the Cultural Indicators for New Zealand framework; the framework for Vital Signs:
Cultural Indicators for Australia; and the National Indicator Set developed by the
Department of Culture, Media and Sport in the United Kingdom to help local authorities
measure the impact of cultural investment. The report also reviews many studies,
reports, and articles that have contributed to the literature on measuring and
evaluating the social impacts of culture and provides a useful glossary of terminology
used in these studies. While it found widespread agreement in the literature on the
multiple and positive benefits of culture and the arts on society, it found no consensus
on how to measure these benefits.
55
5.0 - Advocacy documents
Many of the documents presenting evidence on the social effects of culture also
contain a certain amount of advocacy on the subject, particularly if the evidence is
positive. However, this section includes arguments that are based on over-arching
frameworks that go beyond specific and isolated pieces of evidence.
The first a report drafted by an All-Party Parliamentary Group in the United Kingdom
urges a closer look at culture’s role within an emerging framework that focuses on what
are called “the social determinants” of health. This framework maintains that ill health is
the result of social inequality and that access to cultural activity plays a key role in
overcoming such inequality. This advocacy document is bolstered by a painstaking
review of existing evidence in support of this thesis.
The second document bases its advocacy on the United Nations’ Post-2015
Development Agenda and suggests that the UN develop cultural indicators to measure
progress on its Post-2015 Development Goals, many of which deal with poverty-
reduction, education, urban development, and sustainable development.
All-Party Parliamentary Group on Arts, Health and Wellbeing Inquiry Report (2017, July).
Creative Health: the Arts for Health and Wellbeing. London: Parliament of the United
Kingdom. Online at http://www.artshealthandwellbeing.org.uk/appg-inquiry/
The All-Party Parliamentary Group was formed in 2014 to “improve awareness of the
benefits that the arts can bring to health and wellbeing, and to stimulate progress
towards making these benefits a reality across the country” (p. 4). It conducted
meetings across the country and commissioned research on the interactions between
the arts, health, and wellbeing across the life course.
The guiding framework for the inquiry and research was based on findings with regard
to the social determinants of health, a concept which argues that health inequalities
are the result of social inequalities and that strategies to tackle these inequalities should
be distributed proportionally across the social gradient (i.e. that those at the lower end
of the social hierarchy should be provided greater access than those at the higher
end). The report also argues that the arts have not been well-researched as one of the
social determinants of health and wellbeing. It marshals both quantitative and
qualitative evidence with regard to the social value of the arts in “preventing illness and
infirmity from developing in the first place and worsening in the longer term” (p.10). This
includes evidence on the role of the arts in:
Fostering cognitive and socio-emotional skills in children
Overcoming anxiety, depression, and stress among working age adults
Fostering health aging and social participation among the elderly
56
Offering physical, psychological, spiritual, and social support for those
approaching the end of life.
The report makes ten specific recommendations as catalysts for the change of
thinking and practice that can open the way for the potential of the arts in health to be
realised” (p.154).
Gardner, S., J. Pascual, C. Vallerand, M. Giovinazzo, S. Fischer, P. Rorvik, K. Kovanen, S.
Sipilä and P. Kistenchmacher (2015, February 12). Recognizing the role of culture to
strengthen the UN Post-2015 Development Agenda. UCLG: Culture 21 Agenda for
Culture. Online at http://www.agenda21culture.net/advocacy/culture-as-a-goal-in-
post-2015
This document, drafted by a coalition of international cultural organizations working
through United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG), argues that cultural indicators
should be recognized in the United Nations’ Post-2015 Development Agenda. It states
that “Culture effectively contributes to policies, strategies and programs targeting
inclusive social and economic development, environmental sustainability, harmony,
peace and security”. It suggests that the UN develop a set of cultural indicators to
measure progress under the UN’s Post-2015 Development Goals. In the social sphere,
these include:
Goal 1: End poverty in all its forms everywhere:
Proportion of men and women with access, within 20 minutes walking distance,
to basic cultural services and resources (libraries, community centers, arts
centers, museums, local heritage preservation centers, etc.) as a means of
empowerment and human development
Access to selected cultural community infrastructures (museums, libraries, media
resource centers, exhibition centers dedicated to the performing arts) relative to
the distribution of the country’s population in administrative divisions immediately
below State level.
Goal 4 Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote life-long
learning opportunities for all
Percentage of instructional hours dedicated to arts education
Percentage of staff in primary and secondary education with specific training in
artistic or cultural disciplines
Percentage of primary and secondary public schools which have a library
Percentage of the population having participated at least once in a going-out
cultural activity in the last 12 months
Global Cultural Participation Index (a UNESCO initiative).
57
Goal 11: Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable
Percentage of national and local urban development plans which have
integrated a specific cultural impact assessment
Number and distribution of identified cultural and natural heritage items
Number of natural and cultural heritage assets under threat
Number of public libraries per 1,000 inhabitants
Percentage of budget devoted to the preservation of cultural and natural
resources
Index of development of a multidimensional framework for heritage sustainability
Share of cities having integrated urban policies that protect and safeguard
cultural and natural heritage
Proportion of urban land allocated to public open spaces (streets, squares,
gardens, parks, etc.) over the total urban land
Proportion of urban land allocated to public sheltered facilities (libraries,
museums, etc.) over the total urban land.
Goal 16: Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development,
provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive
institutions at all levels
Existence of a comprehensive law and legal regime that ensures the right of
access to information from public bodies
Legal regimes which ensure compliance with international standards of freedom
of expression, association and assembly
Percentage of libraries that regularly provide specific training sessions on media
and information literacy competencies.
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6.0 - Critiques of frameworks and methodologies
Critiques of work on the social effects of culture focus on various aspects of this
research, but the two most prominent are deficiencies in the philosophical and
ideological aspects of conceptual frameworks and methodologies used to investigate
these social effects.
Criticisms of the conceptual bases of research on the social effects of culture tend to
be situated within ongoing debates about the value of culture. The social effects of
culture are judged to be incidental to the central purposes of the arts and heritage
preservation and, if taken to their logical conclusion, antithetical to them. They are
also seen by some critics as being part of the neoliberal state’s attempts to off-load its
social responsibilities to civil society.
Methodological critiques cover a range of issues, from unclear conceptual frameworks,
lack of data and definitional imprecision, to poor research design and narrow, short-
term research objectives.
In general, it may be said that the research community is making serious efforts to
address the methodological shortcomings pointed out by the critics, but it seems to be
no nearer to a consensus on the broader philosophical debates that surround efforts to
measure the value of culture.
Belfiore, E. (2002). Art as a means of alleviating social exclusion: Does it really work? A
critique of instrumental cultural policies and social impact studies in the UK,
International Journal of Cultural Policy, Vol. 8 (1), 91-106. Online at
http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/102866302900324658
This article critiques both economic and social justifications for arts and culture
investments as mostly unproven and often based on shaky data and methodologies.
Both are rooted in instrumental theories of culture that require “value for money”
arguments to defend public funding in the areas of arts and culture. The author
suggests that “an evaluation method that really placed outcomes at its heart should
rather focus on long-term monitoring of the participants and the effects of the arts on
their lives” (p. 98). As well, issues of quality (excellence versus participation) continue to
dog arts funders in particular, seeming to suggest a need for new definitions of
“quality”. This issue arises as well in the area of museums and heritage, where the
“inclusive” museum, which aims to deliver positive social outcomes to disadvantaged
groups, may lead to conflicts with responsibilities to conserve, interpret, and present the
collection. The author argues that social inclusion as an instrumental cultural policy is
not sustainable and could in the long-term lead to the provision of art within social
policies.
59
Belfiore, E. and O. Bennett (2006). Rethinking the Social Impact of the Arts: a critical-
historical review. Warwick: Centre for Cultural Policy Studies, University of Warwick.
Research Paper No.9. Online at
https://www.academia.edu/257449/Rethinking_the_Social_Impacts_of_the_Arts?auto=d
ownload
This paper is a critical discussion of the debate over the social impact of the arts. It
takes an historical approach to the subject, citing a number of philosophical positions
articulated for centuries in the Western intellectual canon. It describes several previous
“traditions” of thinking about the impact of the arts, including the negative tradition,
the positive tradition, and the autonomy tradition. The authors note that most of the
arguments in support of the social impact of the arts are drawn from the positive
tradition, have become detached from the other intellectual traditions, and have
become rooted in simplistic claims. They argue for a more nuanced way of discussing
cultural value in the 21st century.
Cultural Ministers Council Statistics Working Group (2004). Social Impacts of
Participation in the Arts and Cultural Activities Stage Two Report Evidence, Issues and
Recommendations. Sydney: University of Western Sydney. Online at
http://www.arts.tas.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0020/23627/Social_Impacts_of_the_A
rts.pdf
The aim of this project is to identify, collate and evaluate existing applied research on
the social impacts of participation in arts and cultural activity. This report draws upon
the 104 papers and reports that were amassed in Stage 1 to explain the complexities
involved, indicate research gaps and methodological shortcomings, and identify the
types of research models useful to arts and cultural policy and program development.
In terms of shortcomings, the project found that the complexity of issues and multiple
definitions of key terms meant that there was no single widely accepted model for the
investigation of the social impacts of participation in arts and cultural activities. Overall,
it found:
Absence of clear intentions with regard to the social objectives of policies
Poor design of studies
A focus on outputs rather than longer term outcomes or impacts
Lack of consensus around definition of terms
Insufficient evaluation expertise in the arts field
Insufficient attention to the mechanisms which underpin any impact and hence
to effective policy design for the activation of these mechanisms (p. 10).
The types of research that would be useful in building a better evidence base on the
social impacts of culture and the arts include:
60
Experimental studies using random selection, control groups, pre- and post-
testing of groups, conducted over a sufficiently long period (two to four years) to
enable assessment of impacts
Correlational studies using quantitative and statistical analysis to study linkages
among variables
Surveys and time series to yield quantitative data on large populations
Qualitative approaches, such as case studies, which focus on smaller, selected
populations.
The report suggests that evaluation toolkits, using a variety of approaches, might be
needed to assess the social impact of arts and culture participation in various situations.
Cultural Policy Collective (2004). Beyond Social Inclusion Towards Cultural
Democracy. Scotland: Cultural Policy Collective. Online at
https://archive.org/stream/media_Towards_Cultural_Democracy/Towards_Cultural_De
mocracy_djvu.txt
This report critiques what it calls “the dubious politics” of social inclusion policy, which it
suggests “has been a policy designed to accompany, rather than counteract, the
collapse of full employment and the abandonment of universalist welfare provision over
the last three decades” (p. 5). It argues that it promotes equality of opportunity, rather
than equality, and emphasizes an individual’s social obligations rather than his or her
rights as citizens. In the area of culture and the arts, it suggests, social inclusion
programs have been largely characterized by tokenism and have been used to
disguise unequal power relations.
The alternative approach that is proposed is that of cultural democracy, which
specifically focuses on the role of public institutions in addressing inequality, cultural
domination, non-recognition, and disrespect. Libraries are one of the key sites of
cultural democracy, it suggests, as they not only provide free access to knowledge, but
also can serve as multi-purpose cultural centres. Public broadcasting and community
media are also described as other potential sites of cultural democracy. Cultural
institutions in general are urged to “work collectively with other to offer forms of political
resistance” (p. 41).
Merli, P. (2002). Evaluating the Social Impact of Participation in Arts Activities A critical
review of François Matarasso’s Use or Ornament?, International Journal of Cultural
Policy, Vol. 8 (1), 107-118. Online at
http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/pdf/10.1080/10286630290032477
This article critiques François Matarasso’s 1997 research report, entitled Use or
Ornament? The Social Impact of Participation in the Arts, a work that was highly
influential in British cultural policy circles in the 1990s. Merli’s first criticism of this research
is that it is focused solely on participatory arts programs and ignores the professional
61
arts. Her second criticism is that the survey questionnaire that was sent to 513
participants in 60 participatory arts projects was unrelated to the hypotheses set out by
Matarasso with regard to the social impact of the arts. She also finds fault with the
wording of many of the questions, which she felt were leading and elicited only
subjective answers. The third criticism is that the research has no control groups, no
longitudinal dimension (before and after testing), and is not representative of the wider
population. In general, she finds that much research on the social impact of
participation in the arts lacks strong theoretical grounding and fails to capitalize on
contributions from other fields of research, such as psychological and sociological
theories of creativity and empirical studies in cognitive psychology on the effect of arts
on individuals.
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... Anot M. S. Jeannotte, per pastaruosius dešimtmečius publikuoti milžiniški kiekiai tyrimų apie kultūros socialinius aspektus. Ši literatūra aprėpia didžiules temines erdves, pradedant nuo siaurų, individualių kultūros paskatintų efektų konkrečiai nedidelei socialinei grupei ir baigiant masiniais, pasireiškiančiais globaliu mastu (Jeannotte, 2017). Įrodymais grįstos politikos kontekste kultūros tyrimų (kaip potencialių įrodymų rinkimo) gausa vertintina pozityviai. ...
... Tačiau, siekdami efektyvesnio rezultato, turime apsibrėžti sprendimų priėmimo erdvę ir įsivesti apribojimus (sąlygas ir aplinkybes, kurioms esant sprendimai neveikia). Sisteminė literatūros analizė leidžia skirti keturis kultūros poveikio visuomenei tipus: padidėjusį socialinį kapitalą, geresnę visuomenės sveikatą, sumažėjusį nusikalstamumą ir geresnius mokymo (mokymosi) rezultatus (Jeannotte, 2017). Šiame straipsnyje pristatomo tyrimo autoriai pasirinko nagrinėti kultūros poveikį socialiniam kapitalui, motyvuodami išskirtinę šios kapitalo formos reikšmę. ...
... Kultūros socialinio poveikio literatūros analizė leidžia daryti prielaidą apie du pagrindinius kultūros ir socialinio kapitalo sąsajų būdus: (i) kultūros procesų metu generuojamas kultūrinis kapitalas teoriškai susiejamas su socialiniu kapitalu, sukuriant galimybes konvertuoti vieną kapitalo formą į kitą (Bourdieu, 1986;Neveu, 2018;McElroy, 2002;Glenda, Baez, 2009;Pinxten, Levens, 2014;Brooks, 2008); (ii) tiesiogiai susiejamos skirtingos kultūros dalyvavimo formos ir socialinis kapitalas ( Jeannotte, 2017;Upright, 2004;Arcodia, Whitford, 2006;Wollebaek, Selle, 2002;Colombo, 2016;Grosbois, 2009). Šio straipsnio autoriai kultūros poveikio socialiniam kapitalui analizei renkasi antrąjį tiesioginio socialinio kapitalo generavimo per kultūros įvykius būdą. ...
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Viime aikoina kulttuurin vaikutuksista talouteen ja hyvinvointiin on tullut yhä keskeisempi osa kulttuuripoliittista keskustelua ja taiteen ja kulttuurin rahoituksen perustelua. Taide ja kulttuuri on nähty muun muassa keinona säästää sosiaali- ja terveyspalveluiden resursseja. Tulevaisuudessa kulttuurihyvinvointiin liittyvien kysymysten ohella tiedontarvetta kunnissa kasvattaa kulttuuritoimialan roolin vahvistuminen kunnan toiminnassa sote- ja maakuntauudistuksen seurauksena. Kulttuurin ja taiteen vaikutuksia on tutkittu monilla eri tieteenaloilla ja eri näkökulmista. Tutkimuksissa on raportoitu erilaisia taiteen ja kulttuurin yksilökohtaisia, yhteisöihin tai organisaatioihin kohdistuvia sekä yhteiskunnallisia hyötyjä, jotka voivat liittyä terveyteen ja hyvinvointiin, yhteisöllisyyteen ja oppimiseen, talouteen tai ekologisesti, sosiaalisesti ja kulttuurisesti kestävään kehitykseen. Vaikka taiteen ja kulttuurin yhteiskunnalliset ja yksilökohtaiset vaikutukset hyväksytään yleisesti, niiden todentaminen on osoittautunut hankalaksi. Tässä tutkimuksessa tarjotaan tietoa Itä-Suomen kunnille alueen kulttuurisektorin kehittämisen tueksi. Tällaista tietoa ei ole aiemmin ollut saatavilla Itä-Suomesta. Raportista selviää, mitä mieltä Itä-Suomen asukkaat ovat kuntansa kulttuuripalveluista, kuinka he suhtautuvat kulttuurin ja sen vaikutuksiin sekä millä tavoin he haluaisivat olla vaikuttamassa tulevaisuuden kulttuuripalveluiden kehittämiseen. Tutkimus perustuu Itä-Suomen alueella syyskuussa 2021 toteutettuun kyselyyn, johon vastasi kaikkiaan 1524 alueen asukasta. Maakunnittain vastaajat jakautuivat seuraavasti: Etelä-Savo (270 vastaajaa), Etelä-Karjala (271 vastaajaa), Pohjois-Savo (602 vastaajaa) ja Pohjois-Karjala (381 vastaajaa). Kysely välitettiin Suomen Onlinetutkimus Oy:n kuluttajapaneelin Itä-Suomessa asuville jäsenille. Tulosten perusteella maakuntien välillä ei ole suuria eroja. Itä-Suomen asukkaat pitävät nykyistä kaupunkinsa kulttuuritarjontaa keskimäärin melko tärkeänä ja ovat siihen tyytyväisiä. Erityisen tärkeitä ovat helposti lähestyttävät palvelut, kuten kirjastot, elokuvateatterit ja kansalaisopistot. Covid19-pandemia näkyy kulttuurin kuluttamisessa. Käynnit kulttuurikohteissa ja -tilaisuuksissa ovat vähentyneet pandemian seurauksena todella paljon. Yleinen asenneilmapiiri kulttuuria kohtaan on myönteinen. Taidetta ja kulttuuria pidetään sekä itselle että kaikille muillekin kuuluvana asiana. Monet kokevat tärkeäksi, että suomalaisilla on asuinpaikasta ja omista kyvyistä riippumatta tasa-arvoinen mahdollisuus harrastaa kulttuuria. Kyselyyn vastanneet ymmärtävät myös kulttuurin merkityksen kuntalaisten hyvinvoinnille ja sen katsotaan lisäävään moniarvoisuutta ja tasa-arvoa yhteiskunnassa. Lisäksi taiteen-, kulttuurin- ja luovien alojen koetaan olevan varsin tärkeitä kuntien vetovoimalle. Vastaajat pitävätkin kulttuurin ja taiteen tasapuolista saavutettavuutta ja sen turvaamista julkisella rahoituksella tärkeänä. Kuntien kulttuuripolitiikan osalta koetaan varsin tärkeäksi, että kunnissa tuetaan monipuolisesti erilaisia kulttuurin ja sen harrastamisen muotoja. Tutkimuksen vastaajat jaettiin ryhmiin koetun elämänlaadun sekä kulttuurikohteissa käynnin aktiivisuuden mukaan. Tulosten mukaan aktiivisia kulttuurin kuluttajia on 36 prosenttia vastaajista ja ei-aktiivisia 64 prosenttia. Aktiiviset kulttuurikohteissa tai -tilaisuuksissa kävijät ovat tutkimuksen tulosten mukaan hieman useammin miehiä kuin naisia, pääosin 30–40-vuotiaita, korkeasti koulutettuja ja hyvin toimeen tulevia. Elämänlaatunsa he arvioivat useimmiten vähintään hyväksi. Aktiiviset kulttuurin kuluttajat harrastavat myös kulttuuriharrastuksia aktiivisemmin. He ovat ei-aktiivisia tyytyväisempiä kotikuntansa kulttuuritarjontaan ja suhtautuvat positiivisemmin sen vaikuttavuuteen. He olivat myös halukkaampia osallistumaan kulttuuritarjonnan kehittämiseen. Vastaavaan tulokseen päädyttiin ryhmiteltäessä vastaajat koetun elämänlaadun mukaan. Tulosten mukaan hyväksi elämänlaatunsa kokevilla (68 % vastaajista) on keskimääräistä useampia erilaisia kulttuurikäyntejä ja -harrastuksia ja käynti- ja harrastuskertojen määrät ovat suuremmat. He myös kokevat muita vahvemmin saavansa kulttuurista positiivisia vaikutuksia. Lisäksi hyvän elämänlaadun ryhmään kuuluvat pitivät oman kunnan kulttuuripalveluita ja -tarjontaa tärkeämpänä ja olivat niihin myös tyytyväisempiä kuin muut. Kehittämiskohteina nousivat esille osallisuuden ja vaikutusmahdollisuuksien lisääminen, saavutettavuussekä tilojen ja resurssien kehittäminen. Mielekkäimpänä vaikuttamisen keinona koetaan erilaiset sähköiset kanavat, mutta uusiakin kokeiluja voisi tehdä, esimerkiksi osallistuvaa budjetointia tai jalkautumista erilaisiin harrastustoimintoihin. Parhaita keinoja lisätä kuntalaisten osallisuuden tunnetta ja osallistumista kulttuuritarjonnan kehittämiseen ovat kyselyn perusteella kunnan omistamien tilojen luovuttaminen maksutta tapahtumien ja tilaisuuksien järjestämiseen, vapaa-aikatoimen (ml. kulttuuritoimi) toimintaresurssien turvaaminen sekä erilaisten kuntalaisten toimintaryhmien ja pienimuotoisten asuinympäristöjen viihtyvyyttä lisääviä hankkeiden tukeminen. Saavutettavuuden edistämisen osalta kulttuuripalveluiden tulisi huomioida toiminnassaan esteettömyys, liikenneyhteydet sekä eri kohderyhmät. Kulttuuri kuuluu kaikille, ja pandemia on erityisesti osoittanut sen, että virtuaalipalveluilla on nostetta. Digitaalisuutta lisäämällä kulttuurin saavutettavuutta voitaisiin parantaa tai tehdä se saavutettaviksi sellaisille ryhmille, joilla ei ole mahdollisuutta päästä kulttuurin äärelle. Itäsuomalaiset kokevat, että kulttuurin resurssit tulee turvata myös jatkossa ja he ymmärtävät myös kulttuurin merkityksen hyvinvoinnille ja kuntien vetovoimalle. Kulttuurialalla tuleekin miettiä, miten nykyiset resurssit voitaisiin hyödyntää entistä päämäärätietoisemmin ja pitkäjänteisemmin. Kulttuurilta ja luovilta aloilta täytyy saada pois puuhastelun leima ja alkaa nähdä se elinkeino- ja yritystoimintana. Toisaalta tulisi myös nykyistä laajemmin ymmärtää, mihin kaikkeen kulttuuriin sijoitetulla rahalla voidaan vaikuttaa. Niukkojen resurssien jaossa korostuu kyky tehdä yhteistyötä eri sektoreiden välillä. Viime aikoina on ollut paljon esillä kulttuurihyvinvointi, mutta soteuudistuksen myötä yhteistyön tiivistäminen ja uusien avauksien löytäminen yli kuntarajojen sekä esimerkiksi sivistystoimen ja matkailualan kanssa on tärkeää.
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