Category: Main

October 2019

1. Eleonora Belfiore and Oliver Bennett. Cultural Trends, Vol. 3. “Determinants of Impact: Towards a Better Understanding of Encounters with the Arts.” 2007.  United Kingdom.

This article argues that current methods for assessing the impact of the arts are largely based on a fragmented and incomplete understanding of the cognitive, psychological and socio-cultural dynamics that govern the aesthetic experience.

2. Eleanora Belfiore and Oliver Bennett. Cultural Trends, Vol. 4. “The Social Impact of the Arts.” 2009. United Kingdom.

This short book is the result of a 3-year Arts and Humanities Research Council and Arts Council of England funded project at the Centre for Cultural Policy Research (CCPR) at the University of Warwick. The research encompasses: orthodoxy amongst arts advocates that art can transform lives; the large scale of government investment in the arts and arts education; recent political commentary on the utility of the arts for the economy and national identity formation; the tainting of research on impacts by advocacy; and the recent “intrinsic versus instrumentalist” debate on the role of the arts in the UK.

3. Guz Raz, Titus Kaphar, Dre Urhahn, eL Seed, Magda Sayeg, and Benjamin Zander. TED Radio Hour. “How Art Changes Us.” 2019. United States.

In this edition of the TED Radio Hour, speakers share ideas on the transformative nature of art and its ability to shape the way we see ourselves and the world around us.

4. Armine Avetisyan, Cynthia Cohen, Emily Forsyth Queen, and Toni Shapiro-Phim. Brandeis University. “Imagine Impact: An emerging strategy to strengthen the arts, culture, and conflict transformation ecosystem.” 2019. United States.

IMPACT is an initiative of the Program in Peacebuilding and the Arts at Brandeis University, in collaboration with the Baker Institute for Peace and Conflict Studies at Juniata College and Maseno University in Kisumu, Kenya. This report makes the case for the power of arts and culture to transform conflict and advocates for a platform to support the arts ecosystem.

5. Alexis Frasz and Holly Sidford. Helicon Collaborative. “Mapping the Landscape of Socially Engaged Artistic Practice.” 2017. United States.

Helicon Collaborative, supported by the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation, began this research in 2015 to contribute to the ongoing conversation on socially engaged art. Their goal was to make this realm more visible and legible to practitioners and funders.

September 2019

1. Dave O’Brien, Daniel Laurison, Andrew Miles, and Sam Friedman. Cultural Trends, Vol. 25 No. 2. “Are the Creative Industries Meritocratic? An Analysis of the 2014 British Labour Force Survey.” 2016. United Kingdom.

There is widespread concern that Britain’s cultural and creative industries (CCIs) are increasingly dominated by the privileged. This stands in stark contrast to dominant policy narratives of the CCIs as meritocratic. Until now this debate has been clouded by a relative paucity of data on class origins. This paper draws on new social origin data from the 2014 Labour Force Survey to provide the first large-scale, representative study of the class composition of Britain’s creative workforce.

2. Diversity Arts Australia. “Shifting the Balance: Cultural Diversity in Leadership within the Australian Arts, Screen, and Creative Sectors.” 2019. Australia.

Diversity Arts Australia undertook research in February 2018 to investigate levels of representation of culturally and/or linguistically diverse Australians in leadership positions within the country’s major arts, screen and cultural organizations. For this report, they examined the cultural backgrounds of 1,980 Board chairs and members, chief executive officers, creative directors, senior executives and award panel judges from 200 major cultural organisations, government bodies and award panels.

3. Scott Hutcheson, Alison Gavrell, Alexandra Miller, Atianna Cordova, and Beth Siegel. Office of Cultural Economy, City of New Orleans. “2016 New Orleans Cultural Survey.” 2016. United States.

This research examines the career and educational paths of cultural workers in New Orleans in order to identify gaps and ultimately policy solutions relating to public, educational, and economic infrastructure supportive of the cultural economy.

4. Economic and Public Policy Research Group of the UMass Donahue Institute. New England Foundation for the Arts. “The Job’s in New England’s Creative Economy and Why They Matter.” 2017. United States.

The New England Foundation for the Arts (NEFA) partnered with the Economic and Public Policy Research group of the UMass Donahue Institute (UMDI) to answer a few important questions about New England’s creative enterprises and creative workers. By finding data on and accounting for creative sector employment, income, demographics, and socioeconomic attributes, this report aims to provide a full story of creative work and workers in New England.

5. NEA Office of Research & Analysis. National Endowment for the Arts. “Artists and Other Cultural Workers: A Statistical Portrait.” 2019. United States.

This omnibus report, Artists and Other Cultural Workers: A Statistical Portrait, extends the range of statistics that the National Endowment for the Arts historically has tracked as part of its decades-long research function. Although the agency periodically reports facts and figures about 11 distinct artist occupations (based on U.S. Census data), this report brings in other job characteristics, other data sources, and even other kinds of cultural workers.

Cultural Democracy and Cultural Equity: reflections on debates in the UK and USA

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

3:00pm EST (North America)
You can register for the event at the following link:

‘Cultural Democracy and Cultural Equity: reflections on debates in the UK and USA’

What the VSG is about?
This VSG will explore the terms ‘cultural democracy’ and ‘cultural equity’, addressing how they are used by different and disparate communities of academics, arts administrators, funders and policymakers in the UK and USA. 

We are keen to understand whether these terms – and the ways in which they are put to work in the cultural sector – share any similarities in terms of use, history, power and problematics. Are we fighting the same fight? Do we share the same problems? Are these issues organisational, structural, ideological? How can practitioners, advocates and academics share with, and learn from, one another in pursuing these ideas to better facilitate action, impact and change?
What do we hope to achieve?
We hope for this to be the beginning of a much longer and wider conversation. Think of this VSG as an invitation to engage in conversation with academics, practitioners and other interested parties and to see whether you want to come along for the ride. This isn’t intended to be a teaching session, but we want very much to be sure that the discussion takes a long view, backward, forward, and enables comparative debate to begin.

As an initial outcome of this session, we’d like to invite you to join us in future relationship/network building, information and resource sharing via an informal coalition of interested people. We’ll ask you to input into how this might best be achieved. Anyone keen to stay in touch, talk more, share more and (possibly) participate in future project activity can respond via the post-event email.

Suggested Pre-Reading:
Hadley, S. & Belfiore, E. (2018) Cultural democracy and cultural policy, Cultural Trends, 27:3, 218-223.

Comparative Overview of National Cultural Data Sources

September 5, 2019, 5:00pm – 6:00pm EST (North America) September 6, 2019, 7:00am – 8:00am  AEST (Australia) About the Event Panelists from the Australian Council for the Arts, Canada Arts Council, and the National Endowment for the Arts (United States) will provide a general overview of the arts and cultural support structure in their respective countries. The discussion will focus… Read more →

August 2019

1. Sara Selwood. Cultural Trends: Vol 28, No 2-3. “A Possible Teleology of Cultural Sector Data in England.” 2019. United Kingdom.

This article looks at the Art Council England’s new Impact and Insight Toolkit, which seeks to collect qualitative data on the arts sector, and how it might shape the future of the organization and the future of the arts sector.

2. Regional Arts Australia. “Collaborating with Regional Communities.” 2019. Australia.

These guidelines and tools are to assist those working in regional communities achieve a more rewarding level of involvement in cultural activities. They show how to strengthen decisions, build productive partnerships and develop positive outcomes.

3. Roland J. Kushner and Randy Cohen. Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research. “National Arts Index (NAI), United States, 1996-2017.” 2019. United States.

The National Arts Index is a highly-distilled annual measure of the health and vitality of arts in the U.S. using 76 national-level indicators of arts and culture activity. This report covers an 11-year period, from 1998 to 2008. This National Arts Index encompasses one of the largest collections of data on arts and culture in the U.S. ever assembled. The information has been gathered from reputable government and private sector sources and covering multiple industries—nonprofit and for-profit arts organizations, artists, funding and investment, employment, attendance and personal creation, and much more.

4. Claus Von Zastrow. Education Commission of the States. “Using State Data Systems to Report Information on Arts Education.” 2018. United States.

This Special Report — drawing on insights from a technical working group of experts in arts education, state data systems and state policy — offers guidance on key arts education metrics many states could track by using data they already collect.

5. Claus von Zastrow and Zeke Perez Jr. Education Commission of the States. “50-State Comparison: Arts Education Data Collection and Reporting.” 2019. United States.

This 50-State Comparison is one in a suite of tools created by the State Data Infrastructure Project in the Arts — a partnership between the National Endowment for the Arts and Education Commission of the States — to build states’ capacity to extract, analyze and report on data about arts education. The project aims to empower policymakers, communities and families with the information they need to ensure that every American student has the opportunity to excel in and through the arts.

July 2019

1. Steven Hadley, Katya Johanson, Ben Walmsley, and Anne Torreggiani. “Reflections on Audience Data and Research.” Cultural Trends: Vol 28, 2-3. 2019. United Kingdom.

Editorial for the special double issue of Cultural Trends: Vol 28, No 2-3. The authors explore the concept of interdisciplinarity and its useful for audience research studies.

2. Peter Merrington, Matthew Hanchard, Bridgette Wessels, et al. “Using Mixed-Methods: A Data Model and a Computational Ontology in Film Audience Research.” Cultural Trends: Vol 28, 2-3. 2019. United Kingdom.

This paper discusses a methodology in mixed-methods audience research that attempts to sort, order and categorise different data so that they can be systematically combined and interrogated.

3. Laurie Hanquinet, Dave O’Brien, and Mark Taylor. “The Coming Crisis of Cultural Engagement? Measurement, Methods, and the Nuances of Niche Activities.” Cultural Trends: Vol 28, 2-3. 2019. United Kingdom.

This paper compares three data sources on attendance to assess the useful of ticketing data compared to national survey data and traditional social science sources.

4. Sarah Price, Rachel Perry, Oliver Mantell, James Trinder, and Stephanie Pitts. “Spontaneity and Planning in Arts Attendance: Insights from Qualitative Interviews and the Audience Finder Database.” Cultural Trends: Vol 28, 2-3. 2019. United Kingdom.

This paper combines two radically different datasets to draw new insights into booking patterns of audiences for contemporary arts events.

5. Matthew Reason. “A Prison Audience: Women Prisoners, Shakespeare and Spectatorship.” Cultural Trends: Vol 28, 2-3. 2019. United Kingdom.

This paper uses qualitative audience research to explore spectators’ responses to the Donmar Warehouse’s 2016 version of The Tempest.

June 2019

1. Anne Gadwa Nicodemus. Cultural Trends 22.3. “Fuzzy Vibrancy: Creative Placemaking as Ascendant US Cultural Policy.” 2013. United States.

Fuzzy Vibrancy introduces international audiences to a major new US cultural policy and funding trend – creative placemaking, wherein cross-sector partners strategically shape the social and physical character of a place around arts and cultural assets.

2. Patricia Moore Shaffer, Jen Hughes, Katherine Bray-Simons, and Sunil Iyengar. Metris Arts Consulting. “Our Town Program Evaluation (2016-2019).” 2019. United States.

This overview from Metris Arts Consulting reflects on and documents the outcomes of creative placemaking work, with a focus on NEA’s Our Town grants.

3. Sandy Rodriguez and Isabelle Lutterodt. LA County Arts Commission. “A Place We Call Home.” 2019. United States.

Some Place Chronicles is a series of five creative placemaking projects set in five unincorporated communities in the Second District of Los Angeles County. Numerous and varied engagements with the people who live and work in these communities have culminated in five unique books—each containing explorations, documentations, and pragmatic and poetic testimonies of what has been and dreams of what might be—created by five different artists/collectives. The chronicle of Ladera Heights, View Park, and Windsor Hills—A Place We Call Home: East of La Cienega and South of Stocker—is authored by Sandy Rodriguez and Isabelle Lutterodt, working together as Studio 75.

4. Kathryn Coulter, Andrew Crosson, and Thomas Watson. Central Appalachian Network. “Creative Placemaking in Central Appalachia.” 2019. United States.

The Central Appalachian Network commissioned this scan in order to understand what creative placemaking looks like on the ground, assess the state of the field regionally, and offer ideas to strengthen and accelerate current momentum.

5. The National Consortium for Creative Placemaking. “Creative Place Podcast.” 2019. United States.

This show is a series of interviews with creative placemakers, people who are making a difference in their communities through the arts, cultural programming and creative processes.

May 2019

1. Andrew Miles and Jill Ebrey. Cultural Trends. “The Village in the City: Participation and Cultural Value on the Urban Periphery.” 2017. United Kingdom.

Drawing on evidence from ethnographic fieldwork conducted in 2014–2016 for the Understanding Everyday Participation (UEP) project, this paper addresses the relationship between space, place and participation in a “suburban village” on the edge of the city of Aberdeen in North East Scotland.

2. Barbara Schaffer Bacon, Pam Korza, Graciela Kahn, and Liz Deichmann. Americans for the Arts. “Programs Supporting Art in the Public Realm.” 2019.

The scan offers snapshots of 28 programs supporting and building capacity for artists to work in the public realm. Detailed summaries from interviews with seven selected programs provide additional insights.  

3. Mark J. Stern and Susan C. Seifert. Culture and Social Wellbeing in New York City. “The Social Wellbeing of New York City’s Neighborhoods.” 2017. United States.

This report presents the conceptual framework, data and methodology, and findings of a two-year study of culture and social wellbeing in New York City by SIAP with Reinvestment Fund. Building on their work in Philadelphia, the team gathered data from City agencies, borough arts councils, and cultural practitioners to develop a 10-dimension social wellbeing framework—which included construction of a cultural asset index—for every neighborhood in the five boroughs. The research was undertaken between 2014 and 2016.

4. New England Foundation for the Arts. “Creative City.” 2017. United States.

This report, combined with a series of video profiles, highlights a sample of these inspiring stories and illustrates the transformative power art can play in civic life and the importance of investing in artists as civic leaders. With acknowledgment of the Barr Foundation’s funding and thought partnership, NEFA shares the learnings through the Creative City Report and video series featuring the inspiring stories of the pilot program grantee work.

5. Kiley Arroyo, Mary Ann DeVlieg, Dian Ika Gesuri, and Alma Salem. International Federation of Arts Councils and Culture Agencies. “Artists, Displacement and Belonging.” 2019. Australia.

The report draws on current literature and the experiences of our members around the world, civil society actors and artists, gleaned through a series of interviews. It has been developed in close collaboration with members of the Federation and international colleagues to better understand the needs and aspirations of displaced artists.

April 2019

1. Susan Galloway. Cultural Trends 18:2. “Theory-based evaluation and the social impact of the arts.” 2009. United Kingdom.

The well-documented challenges in researching the social impacts of the arts are closely related to key issues in contemporary social research and evaluation, most particularly the problem of causal attribution. The article contends that some of the most common criticisms of the evidence base for the social impact of the arts relate to the successionist model of change which underpins positivist social science research and evaluation. The article considers whether in fact theory-based evaluation approaches offer an effective strategy for understanding how and why arts engagement can result in social change.

2. Clayton Lord. Americans for the Arts. “Equitable Investment Policies and Practices in the Local Arts Field.” 2019. United States.

This report reviews results from the 2018 Local Arts Agency Profile, an annual survey deployed in April 2018, with a particular focus on an added module to the survey about how, when, and where LAAs in the United States currently consider equity in the deployment of their funds, time, space, and staff. The data was gathered from a broadly representative sample of 537 local arts agencies in the United States of varying budget size, community size, tax status, geography, etc. Overall, the report tells a story of a field where direct and indirect practices about and centered on equity are on the rise.

3. Stephen Duncombe, George Perlov, Steve Lambert, and Sarah J. Halford. Center of Arts Activism. “Assessing the Impact of Artistic Activism.” 2018. United States.

Compiled by the C4AA æfficacy project research team, this exploration of arts activism is the culmination of a decade of interviews with practitioners of artistic activism and a year of reviewing the relevant academic literature and professional reports. The authors survey several sets of literature: critical theories on the relationship between arts and social change, studies on assessment from other fields concerned with creative impact such as social marketing and documentary film, and reports produced by or for arts and activist organizations.

4. Moshoula Capous-Desyllas and Karen Morgaine. Palgrave Macmillan. “Creating Social Change Through Creativity.” 2017. Canada.

This book examines research using anti-oppressive, arts-based methods to promote social change in oppressed and marginalized communities. The contributors discuss literary techniques, performance, visual art, and new media in relation to the co-construction of knowledge and positionality, reflexivity, data representation, community building and engagement, and pedagogy. The contributors to this volume hail from a wide array of disciplines, including sociology, social work, community psychology, anthropology, performing arts, education, medicine, and public health.

5. Elizabeth Lynch and Miriam Nelken. Creative People and Places. “From Small Shifts to Profound Changes.” 2018. United Kingdom.

The report captures the perspectives of artists who have been commissioned to create new work with one or more CPP Places and of the CPP team members who are responsible for programming and working with artists and communities. It uses Creative People and Places practice as the starting point but pulls out transferable learning about what works when commissioning socially engaged art – for artists, for commissioners and for communities.

March 2019

1. Maurice Davies and Lucy Shaw. Cultural Trends 19.3. “Measuring the Ethnic Diversity of the Museum Workforce.” 2010. United Kingdom.

This paper attempts to determine the ethnic profile (sometimes called “cultural diversity”) of the museum sector workforce. It sets the museum sector workforce in the context of the population as a whole and makes some comparisons to the diversity of the wider cultural sector workforce. It looks also at positive action training schemes, targeted at under-represented minority groups, in particular the Museums Association’s Diversify scheme, looking at their cost and effectiveness in securing employment.

2. Mariët Westermann, Roger Schonfeld, and Liam Sweeney. The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. “Art Museum Staff Demographic Survey 2018.” 2018. United States.

A report on the second demographics study issued by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Association of Art Museum Directors, the American Alliance of Museums, and Ithaka S+R to gauge any progress being made in diversifying leadership in arts institutions.

3. Rachelle Schlosser. League of American Orchestras. “Advancing Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion in Orchestras.” 2019. United States.

In January 2019, the League of American Orchestras launched The Catalyst Fund, a three-year pilot program of annual grants to adult and youth orchestras that aims to advance their understanding of equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI). Supported by a three-year, $2.1 million grant to the League of American Orchestras from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the fund responds to input from the League’s members that perceive “a momentum within orchestras towards serving people of all races, genders, and cultural, religious, and socioeconomic backgrounds.”

4. University of Bristol and AHRC Connected Communities Programme. “Hidden Histories of World War One: Ramgarhia Sikh Tapestry Project.” 2018. United Kingdom.

A collaboration between a group of Sikh women in Leicester and two academic advisors from the University of Nottingham. The aim of the project was to support the women to undertake research on the contribution of Sikh soldiers to the First World War. This case study was produced in 2018 as part of the Common Cause Research project.

5. University of Bristol and AHRC Connected Communities Programme. “Imagine: Writing in the Community.” 2018. United Kingdom.

This case study is part of a broader initiative called Imagine, a 5 year project from 2013-2017. The project aimed to create spaces in which women and girls could explore the social and cultural context of minority women in Rotherham through writing. This case study was produced in 2018 as part of the Common Cause Research project.