Cultural Value and Social Capital

The work of arts and cultural organisations is life-enhancing and delivers positive effects on people’s health and wellbeing and on the strength of their communities, a new report reveals. But much more could be done if cultural organisations and government better understood the impact the arts make.

The Sidney De Haan Research Centre for Arts and Health and cultural regeneration consultancy Nick Ewbank Associates carried out research in three coastal towns where there has been significant investment in culture-led regeneration in recent years, focusing on the impacts of Turner Contemporary in Margate, the Creative Foundation in Folkestone and the De La Warr Pavilion in Bexhill on Sea.

The resulting report, ‘Cultural Value and Social Capital’, found that despite an intuitive feeling that there is a “connection between cultural activity and feeling good”, health and wellbeing is not prioritised as a driver of either programming or outcomes.

The three organisations were found to make a “significant, but at present largely undefined, contribution to social capital and to delivering health and wellbeing in their respective communities”, but outside the specialist field of arts in health practice “this important aspect of cultural value is currently hidden”.

For more information visit w: www.canterbury.ac.uk/Research/Centres/SDHR/CentreNews/AHRC-Report-publis...