A new centre aimed at improving understanding of the value of arts and culture in the UK and abroad, and helping organisations to act on that knowledge, has been announced.

The Centre for Cultural Value is a joint venture between the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), Paul Hamlyn Foundation (PHF) and Arts Council England. The project will receive investment of around £2.5m from the three organisations over the next five years.

It follows a recent consultation with 200 people from the arts and culture sector, funding organisations, the voluntary sector, academia, and policy makers. The resulting report, The Cultural Value Scoping Project, revealed that one of the biggest challenges in understanding cultural value is ‘creating communities of interest and practice across these sectors’.

Jane Steele, director, evidence and learning at PHF, explained that the collaborative approach is a key feature of the new centre. She said: “It will help to foster networks, communities of interest and greater mutual understanding between people working in different sectors, art forms and academic disciplines.”

The centre will feature a programme of events that will encourage arts practitioners to work with academic and non-academic researchers and evaluators. They will then use this evidence in their practice to develop new approaches to evaluation and organisational learning.

Darren Henley, CEO of Arts Council England commented: “Establishing a Centre for Cultural Value offers a new opportunity to increase our understanding of the contribution of arts and culture on life in the UK. The centre will help us to examine the impact of artists, arts organisations, museums and libraries on individuals, communities and society as a whole.”

The AHRC’s head of creative arts and digital humanities, Paul Meller, added: “The Cultural Value Scoping Project provided a fantastic evidence base for why the arts and culture matter, and how we capture the effects that they have. This collaboration between AHRC, PHF and the Arts Council to establish a new centre provides an exciting opportunity to take forward that important work.’

Full details of the funding call for the Centre for Cultural Value will be published on the AHRC website in September 2018.  The deadline for applications will be in November 2018.

1. Screen grab: Understanding the Value of Arts and Culture. Courtesy: AHRC

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