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The Cultural Value Scoping Project

An initiative supported by Arts & Humanities Research Council, Paul Hamlyn Foundation and King’s College London, in partnership with Arts Council England


The report of the AHRC Cultural Value Project was published in spring 2016 and has been widely welcomed and discussed within the UK and internationally. It was the culmination of a three-year Project to fund new research as well as to consolidate and analyse what we know about the value of cultural engagement and arts participation. The report examined a large body of evidence across areas where arts and culture are said to make a difference to individuals and society; it highlighted research and evaluation of particular interest, including the findings of 70 academically-led initiatives funded by the Project; and it challenged many assumed benefits where evidence was unconvincing and approaches not sufficiently rigorous, while at the same time highlighting hitherto neglected areas of benefit. The aim of the report was both to improve our understanding and to move the debate on to more fruitful ground. In resisting the emphasis on short-term advocacy, which has often dominated debate in this area, the report spoke to the concerns of academics, the cultural sector and arts practitioners, and those responsible for shaping policy.

The Arts & Humanities Research Council, Paul Hamlyn Foundation, King’s College London and Arts Council England, building on the recommendations from the AHRC Cultural Value Project’s report, came together to undertake a scoping project to explore how research, evaluation, evidence-building and analysis into cultural value might best be supported in the future. This eight-month project consulted across the UK with practitioners in the cultural and creative sectors, researchers in higher education and beyond, policy-makers and funders. The aim was to gather views on what approaches would best meet the needs of these different but connected constituencies and what approach or organisational structure might best support those approaches.

The report resulting from this scoping project was published in August 2018, the report can be accessed via the AHRC at the following link:


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